Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jul 29, 2006 01:32 AM

Sichuan "Ma La" restaurants in bay area?

Aside from Spices, China Village and South Legend (recently reviewed), are there any other bay area restaurants that specialize in food from this region which is spicy from chili oil and sichuan peppercorns?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Little Sichuan in San Mateo and Little Sichuan Express in Fremont

    2 Replies
    1. re: vliang

      I've been there but don't recall seeing anything on the menu that's specifically sichuan. Can you help me order the food i'm looking for?

      1. re: Offal Lover

        In the San Mateo branch there's a whole page on the menu of "Sichuan Specialties" that's pretty reliable:

        I like the pickle fish soup, the spicy cold noodles, and the dong poa side pork.

    2. In San Francisco on Jackson Street there is Y&Z.

      In Redwood City on El Camino Real there is Sichuan Delight

      In Burlingame on El Camino Real there is 5A'z

      in Cupertino there is House of Sichuan on Blaney I think.

      Have try all four and I would go back there are many more but I have not try them.

      Good hunting.

      1. Do they have similar dishes to what you had at South Legend? Is it easy enough for a non-Chinese person, which I am, to order these dishes of the menu?

        I can't wait to try dishes like the Twice Cooked Bacon with Crispy Bread, Couple Beef and Sliced Kindey in Pepper Sauce.

        Little Sichuan and 5A'z is close to where I work. I'll give those a try and report back with pics. Thank you.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Offal Lover

          I am sorry to say no, English name do not match with Chinese names. Example is Couples Beef, we have seen it called Husband and Wife and other which I can remember.

          Twice Cooked Bacon wiht Crispy Bread I have had in someone home before only and I had read and talked about.

          The sliced kidney is easy to find but I really liked the verison at South Legned with a green chili/pesto sauce.

          5A's has some grest dumplongs. It is visited by more than a few hounds at lunch. Some of them can read Chinese too.

        2. Recently ate at South Legend and was seriously disappointed. Ordered cold sichuan noodles hoping for the kind of wonderfully hot, tongue-numbing ma la action had previously at Little Sichuan and received some peanut/sesame covered stuff found at most Cantonese/Americanized chinese spots.

          Of all the dishes I tried at South Legend (sichuan cold noodles, ma po tofu, and a braised vegetable dish), there was no sichuan peppercorn to be found, at all.

          Go with Little Sichuan.

          5 Replies
          1. re: petereats

            I just ate dinner at Little Sichuan in San Mateo with three friends a couple nights ago. The food quality seems to have gone down slightly, but it's still decent. However in all my years of going to Little Sichuan I don't think I've ever seen them serve Sichuan peppercorns there, though they use plenty of dried chilis and chili oil.

            1. re: PekoePeony

              What do you mean you've never seen them "serve" Sichuan peppercorns? It's not a condiment; it is used in the cooking to achieve that elusive tungue-numbing, somewhat lemony spice... it was used more liberally at Little Sichuan than at any other Sichuan restaurant I've dined at so far in the US.

              1. re: petereats

                I'm familiar with Sichuan peppercorns since I cook with them often (a co-worker brings me some back whenever she visits her family in Chengdu) :) None of the dishes that I know of have any in them (at least in the San Mateo branch of Little Sichuan), and I've tried quite a few of the dishes there -- they're spicy but not numbing. Spices! in SF is quite liberal with them, I wish Little Sichuan would use some also.

                1. re: PekoePeony

                  I don't doubt you know your sichuan peppercorns (that's great about your Chengdu source :), but I've definitely identified them in a number of Little Sichuan's dishes... how many times have you eaten there?

              2. re: PekoePeony

                I can confirm that Little Sichuan does indeed serve sichuan peppercorns (called "hua jiao" in chinese, and the source of a numbing flavor called "ma la").

                The food was good (not great), although I was there with another white friend -- I get the feeling if we had been chinese, we would have gotten considerably better food. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but it felt like that kind of place.

                We ordered the Xinjiang Lamb, Dry Cooked String Beans, Dan Dan noodles and some dumplings in hot oil. The Lamb stood out as excellent, and for the others... the flavors were all right, but the texture of the dishes was sloppy. I think the chef has was it takes to do better.

            2. if you're in cupertino there's one on the corner of blaney ave. and stevens creek.

              it's not sichaun specific but i prefer lucy's cafe up on stevens creek, across from the post office.

     i believe is the website, you can google 'lucy's cafe' and 'cupertino, ca'