If you’ve gone to any Chinese restaurants of upper average quality recently, you’ve probably peered over or maybe even ordered a dish of the Szechuan style. The Szechuan or Sichuan* province as we say in China, is where my tastebuds like it the most. Welcome to my Chinese roots and let me show you what real Sichuan food is like. Get your chopsticks ready.
The Sichuan province in China (look at the map!) is known for the extreme blast of flavor in their cuisine.
Known for the lenient use of chili oil and garlic, you will most definitely need a ice cold glass of water ready. This stuff of SPICY, which makes it that much more delicious. But those who fear spice are not at a loss; Sichuan food has a full palette of tastes. So sit down and enjoy the first dish as we travel around the Sichuan province: Chengdu Liang Fen (成都凉粉).
Liang Fen, literally meaning “cold powder”, is a noodle made of bean starch jelly (yes, jelly!) slathered in a delicious savory, tangy, and spicy sauce, filled with chili oil and garlic. With light accents of cucumber, scallions, and a sprinkle of white sesame seeds, it’s a cute dish to indulge in during a hot summer day. It’s texture is akin to Jello, which may sound too eccentric for one’s taste, but to that individual, I say, MAN UP AND TRY IT**. It’s fun to eat, too, as the noodles jiggle as you attempt to pick them up with your chopsticks…it may take a few tries! It’s a dish of balance: just the right amount spice that you feel it just slightly, but the focus is all on the torrent of colorful flavor. Would you try it?
Song du jour: Stacy’s Mom by Fountains of Wayne. Classic. Refreshingly cool. Spicy. Really a perfect match for this dish. “[Liang Fen] has got it goin’ on, [it’s] all I want and I’ve waited for so long…”
P.S. State College has the most authentic Sichuan food right on College Avenue! Be sure to stop by Chopstick Express and order the foods I’m mentioning here. You will surely not regret it. Remember to bring me, too hehehe.
*Szechuan is the American spelling of Sichuan province.
**Just kitten meow!