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"Green bean tofu" at Sichuan Garden

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So I finally had a sit-down meal at Sichuan Garden (site of a recent Chowdinner which I missed due to a nasty cold) - I get takeout there a lot, but never actually ate there. Everything was good -- from houndishly sichuan specialties to more basic chow -- the wenjun shrimp and steamed mini juicy pork buns (dumplings, really) were my favorites.

But we also ordered an appetizer of "green bean tofu in roasted chili vinaigrette" -- the waiter kept trying to steer us to scallion pancakes, but I persisted. I have to say, I was expecting something with green beans and tofu in that awesome chili sauce. Um, NO! This was more like konyaku (that's the ONLY comparison I can even think of) -- squared-off spears of firm, slightly gelatinous starchy substance. I'm *guessing* that it was related to bean-thread noodles, and that "green-bean tofu" is some sort of bean-derived starch cake (I VERY much doubt green beans, though.)

It was actually very good, much better than I'm making it sound. Texture food -- no discernable flavor at all, but it was a really nice foil for the (quite hot) chile sauce. The ground peanuts and chopped scallions on top added to the flavor and texture as well.

BUt I'm just wondering, is this a common Sichuan food? Is it linked somehow to konyaku (which I vaguely remember being potato-starch-based, no?)? Has anyone had it? Any and all insights are welcome. Many thanks!

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  1. I've seen the same thing, usually fried, at Vietnamese restuarants, including Nam Vang. They call it "banh cong". They also serve it _with_ rice cake, so that bolsters your opinion that it's, say, a mung based bean starch, and green bean is a mistranslation...Kinda like "green bean shake".

    I've never ordered it, but your descrption sounds like a panchan I've often been served in Korean Restuarants; same smooth,mild, translucence, used as a vehicle for chili-oil, pepper sauce and scallions.