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Oct 12, 2006 09:25 PM

Best Sichuan food ?

Hi -Recently in China and CRAVING real Sichuanese. Any ideas?


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  1. I LOVE Sichuan myself and go to this restaurant weekly (it's worth the trip up from downtown - and I was just there a couple of hours ago!):

    Spicy Mama Restaurant
    8360 Kennedy Road
    Markham, ON

    If you don't want to travel that far, you can go to Sichuan Garden on Spadina south of College on the east side, or PALS WT on College west of Spadina on the North side. They don't really compare to Spicy Mama tho....

    1 Reply
    1. re: n10sity

      what do you recc at this place? and how much does it cost?

    2. How is Sichuan Garden? It is still on 'my list'. But, I haven't been and I was a little put off because for a very long time they didn't properly display their health notice.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Atahualpa

        I stopped going because I found, as at many other Chinese places, that I got really good food when I went there with someone Chinese and food that, while not actually bad, was banal in comparison when a Chinese tablemate wasn't present.

      2. Good point Atahualpa. I didn't even think about the health notice because I usually park out back and enter from the back.

        The ambience is standard Chinatown-esque, but the staff are very friendly and tend to recognize you if you go more than twice.

        My fave dishes were stir-fried potatoes, in which the potatoes are julienned and stir-fried with garlic and green onions - different, and delish! Also LOVE cold noodles sichuan style, green beans, eggplant - those were my standard dishes.

        I no longer go to Sichuan Garden tho, because I found PALS WT, which is a LOT cheaper for the same quality. So when I feel like Sichuan right after work, I go to PALS WT. And when I feel like really GOOD Sichuan I trek out to Markham to Spicy Mama.

        1. It's really on my list because it is in the same spot as the old Peking House restaurant that I grew up going to since I was a very yound kid. When the owners retired and closed some 15 years ago I was really heart-broken. I still haven't found some of my old favorites anywhere else. Anyways, the restaurant doesn't seem to have changed the decor much and I kinda wondered if it was worth going to just for nostalgia.

          The couple things I have asked here (namely Orange Chicken with Chiles and Hosin) about have all ended up with the suggestion of Peter's Chung King on College west of Spadina. I haven't been yet and it isn't quite Sichuan. But, it should be close on a few things.

          Lui Lui Hot Pot on Baldwin does a decent Sichuan-style hot pot. You order the raw stuff and you cook it on a hot plate with either a flavourless broth or a fiery-spice broth. It's all you can eat and under $15. It ain't great and the decor is, uh-hum, 'lacking'. But, if you're missing Shuizhu, or "water-boiled" cuisine, maybe this would work.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Atahualpa

            Nothing much has changed at Peter's Chung King in decades, and the clientele is primarily Caucasian. The menu is not really sichuan, though there are some dishes. The sichuan shredded beef, chicken with peanuts, and garlic eggplant have been consistently good. I'm sure others can steer you to other good dishes, but I've been disappointed with most of the other things I've tried.

            I was at a very good sichuan place in the plaza just north of Pacific Mall. Food was very good and service warm and professional, but I'll be damned if I can remember the name. I'll post it when I do. Does this register with anyone?

          2. This past weekend we came up from New York to visit someone who lives in Toronto now but spent more than a decade living in Sichuan.

            She took us to this Sichuan restaurant:

            Backyard Garden Restaurant
            3636 Steeles Avenue. E, Units 113A-116

            located in Metro Square plaza.

            It was on a corner; a pet or aquarium store and feng shui (geomancy) store could be seen out the window across the way on the right side as you are facing the front of the restaurant.

            I don't know if she has been to other Sichuan places in Toronto, but Backyard Garden was great. It is better than anything we have found here in any of the five boroughs of New York City.

            Basically it can be summed up by a member of our party who lived in Sichuan for about 30 years and remarked, "how do they make the food this well?"

            The dishes we had included: pao cai, dou miao, liang fen, beef slices in hot sauce, fish fillet and szechuan pickled vegetables (in the soup section of the menu) and diced chicken with chili.

            The only weak links in the dishes were the first two: pao cai (pickled vegetables), dou miao (stir fry snow pea shoot). These were the two of the vegetable dishes (the third vegetarian dish being liang fen which was superb (called on their menu "starch noodle with red chili sauce" although the noodle is actually made from green beans), so you may want to venture elsewhere on the menu to get a good selection of veggies.

            2 Replies
            1. re: eade

              Thanks! This place goes on the list.

              1. re: eade

                I've heard reports it's good and I went there once a few years ago, but one thing I didn't care for was the spicy hot pot of soup with duck. The duck was sort of tough and the soup had a sort of kim chi-like quality I don't normally care for (although others may)