Top Szechaun in the SVG or greater LA Area
Since visiting Chengdu I have been searching LA for comparable Szechuan cuisine in the SVG and failing miserably.
Sauteed chicken cubes in a mountain of Szechuan peppers is a dish I have dreamt about ever since as well as a crab hot pot dish that set my mouth on fire and made me cry sweatful tears of joy.
This evening I checked out Chung King in San Gabriel (pickled cucumber/pigs ear with peppers/fried chicken with pepper/fish in broth/leek with dried tofu). The chicken was fried to a leathery texture and the spice while there was pulled way back - and it was GREASY - not at all the dish I ate in Chengdu (the chicken in Chengdu was flash fired - almost sauteed so as to be succulent morsels full of flavor and peppery heat/spice) -- the Fish in Broth at Chung King was equally greasy and a bit bland. The other dishes were fine - but nothing was special.
I have also recently tried Best Szechaun and had a worse experience than described above.
I had heard about another restaurant called Best Szechuan Seafood near Garvey but took the ride out to discover it's owners had turned it into a Taiwanese pub.
Am I searching for the elusive unicorn of restaurants or can someone please help me?
That's too bad about Chung King -- I had the chicken before they moved and it was wonderful, exactly as you described it, but that was several years ago.
We recently had a nice meal at Hong Yei, although we didn't get the fried chicken. But it's definitely worth a try, and much more pleasant than Lucky Dragon, which is frankly dingy.
Hong Yei Restaurant
288 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776
Went to Lucky Dragon last night. I didn't find it dingy - nothing special and a bit rote but not dirty. Our waitress was a bit rude/cold (spoke directly with my dinner companion (in Chinese) recommending the dishes that "most white ghosts" order) we laughed about it and ordered - shaved pork in pepper/pickled tongue and seaweed for appetizers which were each fine - not spicy at all and average at best. For the mains we ordered beef in broth, crab with Szechuan pepper and sauteed string beans.
While overall our meal was not nearly as greasy as Chung King - it also was not nearly as spicy nor did they use any authentic Szechuan peppers.
The beef in broth was slimy and bland. The sauteed string beans were fine. The crab was overcooked and lacked any punch or pungency (or szechuan pepper).
I thought overall a very disappointing experience.
I will try Hong Yei next.
I've never really understood the appeal or popularity of Chung King on this board. Perhaps it's the JGold lemming effect ...
While none of these measure up to what you'll find on the mainland, try Lucky Dragon in Monterey Park and No. 1 Noodle House in Rowland Heights (limited menu, but very good).
I'm off to try both! Yeah JGold also suggested several other vast disappointments this year (Fraiche/Lou and an Indian in Artesia my girlfriend still won't let me forget about - which reminds me I should post about it as several people recommended it here on this board as well...) . Although someone on a pizza posting here also recommended Buonos Pizza in Long Beach which I had the misfortune of eating last night as I was in the area - wow - we should have just stopped at Ralph's and picked up pizza flavored Goldfish - but I digress - this topic is Szechuan and I'm off to find it.
Thank you and will let you know how it goes.