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  • When you think of Sichuan food, the first thing that comes to mind is probably how spicy it is.

  • But there is so much more to Sichuan than just red hot chili peppers.

  • There's also food that sweet, savory, pungent and no mommy and you can find them or fly restaurants.

  • Sichuan Zone version off hole in the Wall eateries.

  • Thanks.

  • Then I okay, does he?

  • Yeah, we're in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province in southwestern China.

  • On these bustling streets, fly restaurants like these are where locals go for a quick bite.

  • My name is Jenny Gal, and I've been exploring Sichuan food as a writer and cook for about 10 years.

  • I was born in Chengdu, grew up moving around quite a bit.

  • Fly restaurants are an iconic fixture of condos.

  • Food scene.

  • I feel like it's really at the heart and soul of the food culture because it is all about home cooked food with big flavors, and the term is given by locals to places that are usually hold the walls, um, usually hidden hard to find.

  • With zero atmosphere and questionable hygiene, Jenny talked us on the foot crawl off her favorite fly restaurants first stop Chongming Lien Fun where they have a unique way of serving food.

  • So coming, Nelson.

  • This restaurant has been here for several decades now.

  • Um, it's become legendary in the area.

  • The food is wheeled out on sort of like a wheelbarrow on.

  • It's sort of a free for all.

  • Once the food comes out, people just grab what they want from the cart.

  • I think this is like the most famous dish here.

  • It's the super simple, but I think one side is like money being one side is yellow split pea, and it's got like a sauce of dough.

  • Panjang Chili Oil Sugar MSG on Ben.

  • This is one of my favorite dishes here.

  • It is really unique.

  • Um, it's called financial by.

  • It's basically stewed slices of pork belly that are filled with a red bean paste in between and then steamed with glutinous rice with sugar on top.

  • This is a salad made with the organ, which is a herb that's grown in the mountains of Sichuan is quite unique.

  • Thio this climate, especially with chili sauce and made into a salad.

  • It could be really refreshing on a hot day.

  • Next we went for noodles at one of Sichuan oldest fly restaurants.

  • Yeah, this restaurant is e think it's over 100 years old.

  • They're famous for a few different things, and I think there are best items a sweet water noodle, but it's not really it's not really sweet on it's.

  • Also, there's like no water.

  • It is a dry noodle, but it, um, it has a sweeter and spicy profile.

  • The Sweetwater noodles, usually a sesame paste of garlic slurry, a sweetened soy sauce on chili oil on.

  • Then also a little bit of a mystery, a sprinkling of so trump on top.

  • E think like after years of training, they just, like, know exactly with a flick of the wrist.

  • How much to put on What makes these noodles unique is that it's actually start cold on.

  • It is really chewing al dente, which is quite different from most other noodles in China.

  • Yes, so we're at a restaurant called Mianyang Guangyuan, and this is a fly restaurant that was founded, Um, think about 2030 years ago.

  • It's famous, actually, for a noodle and their wontons, So these are fish, fragrant pork and pickled string bean noodles.

  • In case you're wondering fish fragrance as a mix of ingredients meant to imitate the flavor of fish.

  • It doesn't actually have any fish in it.

  • Things one is the coma wanton soup, and it's served with a red chili oil sauce.

  • Coma is a type of mushroom that's grown in the Mongolian highland that is used a lot in Sichuan cooking to add like a really deep, earthy umami.

  • And our foot crawl would not be complete without trying seats ones Most famous dish mapo tofu.

  • So this place we're at it's called Chung Mapo Tofu, where they allegedly invented Mapo tofu.

  • So apparently it was old lady by the name last name of Cheng, who was pockmarked like on her face.

  • But I was known for making this really fiery tofu.

  • It is cubes of silken tofu cooked in a sauce of prevented fava bean paste.

  • Soy sauce.

  • Chili oil lost most of Sichuan pepper, usually with a sprinkling of like ground beef or pork on top.

  • It's most perfectly served over a bed of white rice.

  • Yeah, it's a meal in itself.

  • After a day of eating, all this delicious food way were itching for dessert, so we went for being fun.

  • Ah, cold jelly topped with syrup.

  • It's the perfect way to cool down after eating so many spicy dishes.

  • Being fun is a really famous summertime snack in Chengdu, and it's super cooling.

  • It's actually a jelly that's made from a new herb like a seed that they grind into powder and set with gelatin like substance served, usually with like a brown sugar syrup.

  • Or, in this case, rose syrup.

  • You could see the preserve rose petals in there as well.

  • The most important part is that the flavor is delicious, and it's so good that it keeps people coming like flies.

  • And so that's sort of a nod to the self deprecating humor of 10 people.

  • And also just that flavor trumps everything.

  • It doesn't matter what the environment is, as long as the food is delicious.

  • I felt like in the West, people knew Sichuan food as just the stereotypical extremes, like the diabolic heat or the face numbing spice.

  • It's easy to characterized these extremes and miss the subtleties that air underneath in modern day can do when things have changed so quickly and people of all socioeconomic backgrounds are still coming to the same fly restaurants and sharing a table on the sidewalk with broken stools and are still able to enjoy a delicious meal together.

  • And that's the spirit of Citron, I think embodied.

When you think of Sichuan food, the first thing that comes to mind is probably how spicy it is.

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B2 sichuan chili tofu fly sauce chili oil

Sichuan Food Crawl: The Best Mapo Tofu, Chili Wontons, and Noodles

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/12/04
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