Spicy Chicken with Tofu at Chung King Garden
I've never been really fond of CKG's ma po dou fu because I don't think it's quite hot enough (I prefer Szechuan Tasty House's) but I found a dou fu dish that I like a lot better: Spicy Chicken with Tofu (ma la dou hua ji pian). It's a little like ma po dou fu without the pork, but with chicken pieces and a bit of ginger thrown in. The beancurd is called "flower beancurd" because it is really soft and fluffy. Lots of red oil in this dish, very good 'ma la' flavor ("numbing" and "spicy"). Nuts scattered on top.
They currently have a Sichuan sausage special (not on the menu) - thin slices of sausage served at room temp - flavor is salty, smoky, and has a little taste of Sichuan pepper (aka flower pepper, the 'ma' taste). Not spicy.
I don't think I've ever been here without ordering the water-cooked beef (shui zhu niu rou), which may not sound all that spicy but has an excellent 'ma la'. The sauce is very soupy; I always eat the beef, peppers, etc. at the restaurant and then take the rest home to make noodles with.
The cooking here isn't particularly consistent - sometimes the spiciness varies, the food is served piping hot or at room temperature, there's a different amount of sauce (the tiger skin peppers especially can be very different) - but when they're good, they're very good.
Nice report. It's hard getting to know all the separate dishes unless you're with a large group or eat at the same place all the time. I'll definitely give some of those a shot next time I'm there.
Last time I got the spicy frogs. The cook came out to argue with the waitress trying to convince her that I certainly did not want the frogs, but she talked him into it, and when I said thank you in mandarin, he got a huge smile on his face. He even made an excuse to come out and watch me eat them.
They were great btw, but it's not just legs...it's peeled, gutted frogs roughly chopped. It's a little tough to get the meat off the bones, but well worth your time.
thanks again for the report