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Questions about Sichuan Gourmet

MrsCheese Jan 31, 2008 11:49 AM

I would appreciate some guidance here- We used to get takeout from Szechuan Bay all the time before the fire (and before we moved out west) and I am seriously missing it. Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham is pretty convenient to me, but I haven't been there yet. There used to be a dish at SB that was the boneless version of what they called "Le Mountain Chicken" - it was basically like popcorn chicken (fried) with dried chilis and also hot green peppers, but not really a "saucy" dish. Do they have something similar at SG? The translated names at restaurants can be so vague, it's hard to know what I'm ordering sometimes. If they don't have that, then is there a bone-in version? Would it be the "Old Sichuan Chicken" on their menu?

If anyone has any other particular recommendations, I'd love to hear them. I've searched the board and come up with a few things. We're not afraid of heat, but I don't like hot just for the sake of hot either, more interested in general flavor. Has anyone tried the Chengdu spicy sausage? I don't think I've ever seen that mentioned. Is the tea smoked duck hot or cold?

And finally: is there anything "Americanized" that's edible? My toddler loves Americanized Chinese food (egg rolls, lo mein, potstickers), but I don't think she's ready for spicy chili sauce or Szechuan peppercorns quite yet.

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    raddoc RE: MrsCheese Jan 31, 2008 12:49 PM

    I think the Chicken you're after is called "Old Sichuan Chicken" at SG, you're right. An excellent dish. Also try their Ma Po Tofu, a great spicy dish with tofu and ground pork, better there (actually I've only had it in Billerica) than anywhere else I've tried it. Also the Fish Filets & Napa Cabbage w.Spicy Chili Sauce.

    1. i
      I QUE RE: MrsCheese Jan 31, 2008 01:20 PM

      I bring my kids there and they are happy with the chicken fingers, dumplings and white rice.

      1. trufflehound RE: MrsCheese Jan 31, 2008 01:37 PM

        Or, it could be the cayenne chicken. My kids eat the pupu stuff there.DC's have had cashew chicken and enjoyed it.

        1. g
          GaryLovesFood RE: MrsCheese Feb 1, 2008 08:14 AM

          I love the smoky chicken with cayenne, but I too think "Old Sichuan Chicken" is the dish closest to what the OP is searching for: crunchy and spicy, more "appetizery" than entree.

          1. p
            pepperboy RE: MrsCheese Feb 3, 2008 01:42 PM

            Try "Chicken with three kinds of pepper" at Chili Garden in Medford, Sq. Its boneless white chicken pieces with both dried red chillis and fresh green peppers. It's excellent quality and very hot.

            4 Replies
            1. re: pepperboy
              MrsCheese RE: pepperboy Feb 3, 2008 02:00 PM

              Yes, I've had it - it's great, I agree. In fact, Chilli Garden's version is what originally turned us on to the dish. Unfortunately we don't make it to Medford very often anymore (long overdue for a trip to Moultons too).

              1. re: pepperboy
                jgg13 RE: pepperboy Feb 4, 2008 08:33 PM

                This dish is also available at Zoe's in Somerville under the name "dry diced chicken with hot chilli". The one time I had it, I thought it was hotter than most of the stuff at ECG's hell night.

                1. re: jgg13
                  chickendhansak RE: jgg13 Feb 4, 2009 07:46 AM

                  I hope it's not inappropriate on the Boston board, but does anyone who's had the Zoe's "dry diced chicken with hot chili" know what this dish is, in origin? Basically I'm keen to understand how you might go about making something similar. It has a really rich flavour that complements the heat but I'm not sure exactly what it is that gives it that flavour.

                  1. re: chickendhansak
                    pondrat RE: chickendhansak Feb 4, 2009 09:46 AM

                    I haven't had Zoe;s but from other similar dishes like Sichuan Gourmet's, my guess would be Sezchuan peppercorns.

              2. n
                noforkplease RE: MrsCheese Feb 4, 2008 02:46 PM

                The dish that you are looking for could be the "Dried Chicken with Chili Sauce".

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                  Aphex RE: MrsCheese Feb 4, 2008 06:05 PM

                  I also think you might be looking for the Dried Chicken with Chili Sauce. The name is a little misleading since there isn't really any sauce, just small breaded and fried chicken pieces with dried chilis and green peppers. I've never had a meal that wasn't great from here but we'll generally order on the following two combinations
                  1) Dried Chicken with Chili Sauce(see yelp link for photo), Chinese Eggplant with Yu Xiang Sauce and steamed rice.
                  Something about the combo of the dried chicken with the moist flavorful eggplant works here. I think the eggplant would be great on its own also but together they are amazing.

                  2) Fish Fillets & Napa Cabbage with Spicy Chili Sauce, Vegetable Fried Rice.
                  This usually feels more like a summer dish to me, the fish is very spicy(&flavorful) but having it with the fried rice offsets that a bit. We did just have this a week ago and its still great in the winter months.

                  I've had one or two of the americanized offerings and they also stand out as well above average. I believe the General Tso's Chicken was one of the items we tried.

                  http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/ABS9t3...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Aphex
                    MrsCheese RE: Aphex Feb 5, 2008 04:07 AM

                    Yes, that's it! Thanks so much, your response was very helpful. Didn't make it there last weekend, but we'll head there this weekend for sure.

                    1. re: MrsCheese
                      r
                      raddoc RE: MrsCheese Feb 5, 2008 05:13 AM

                      still think the Old Sichuan Chicken is the one you're after, also dry chicken, with a light crusting of spice, served with a pile of diced chilis, no sauce. I've hopefully attached a photo. I had take out last night: peking ravioli, nice and crisp, but not too special (just something cool to eat), the fresh bamboo shoots with spicy wonder sauce (not to be missed, hot and vinegary), and the fish filets with spicy chili sauce (a ton of tilapia filets in a redish sauce, topped with a pile of chili flakes, nicely cooked tender filets with a good kick from both sauce and chilis. Their Ma Po Tofu is also out of this world.

                       
                       
                      1. re: raddoc
                        MrsCheese RE: raddoc Feb 5, 2008 08:29 AM

                        Ok, I'll just have to try them both! I wonder if maybe the only difference is bone-in vs. boneless? (that's the way it was at Szechuan Bay) I love fresh bamboo shoots too, although I usually get the mild version with sesame oil to offset all of the chili oil in everything else. Spicy wonder sauce does sound tempting though.

                  2. MrsCheese RE: MrsCheese Jan 4, 2009 06:08 AM

                    Just to follow up on this - from almost a year ago! The dish I was looking for was, in fact, the dried chicken with chili sauce. It's the one with boneless diced up chicken fried with mildly hot green pepper (are they longhorn peppers?) and dried red peppers. There is a coating of chili oil on the chicken too, but not like a sauce. You don't really realize the oil is there until you're finished and it's pooled on the plate afterwards. That dish is totally addictive.

                    We went to Sichuan Gourmet last night (Sat) and they were on a wait before 6 pm. Pretty impressive. Everything we had was great - the aforementioned chicken, Chengdu spicy dumplings, and fresh bamboo shoots with sesame. We got egg rolls and house special lo mein so that my 2 year old would have something non-spicy to eat (although she tried one of our green peppers and then drank about a half glass of milk! I warned her...). I am doubly impressed that not only does Sichuan Gourmet do their specialty food well, they also have very good American Chinese food as well. The egg rolls were very fresh inside and the lo mein was very flavorful - better than most pupu places. That makes this place very accessible to families or any other group who may have some people who aren't into spicy food. No wonder they are so busy. Wish I lived close enough for take out!

                    ps. Thanks to everyone for your help. With your comments, I was able to narrow it down to dried chicken with chili sauce and Old Sichuan chicken, and then our server helped us from there. She said the Old Sichuan chicken, while similar, is more like "chicken balls" and there are no green peppers.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: MrsCheese
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                      alanr RE: MrsCheese Jan 11, 2009 06:48 PM

                      Glad you had a good meal there. I like the place, but have had generally better prepared, more adequately flavored food at Red Pepper, also in Framingham. I have found that Sichuan Gourmet appears to "dumb down" the food for me on occasion.

                      That said, I have had dicey service at Red Pepper on occasion, and tonight I had a mediocre meal at my second favorite Sichuan restaurant, Sichuan Garden Brookline. In fact, all the Sichuan places I go to seem to have on and off nights with one exception. Fuloon in Malden has yet to disappoint.

                      1. re: alanr
                        galangatron RE: alanr Jan 11, 2009 08:35 PM

                        the waitstaff at red pepper can be very aloof but the hostess is exceptionally friendly and helpful

                        1. re: galangatron
                          a
                          alanr RE: galangatron Jan 12, 2009 10:55 AM

                          Yep, but unfortunately I must report that they have (hopefully temporarily) closed their doors. They are still running a Brazilian place on the second floor (which I didn't know about before today), which has dance/performance space.

                          I spoke at length with the owner, Jennifer, and she is trying to put together a new business plan that includes planning for both a poor economy and great Sichuan food.

                          *That* being said, I then went to my personal last place contender for Sichuan food, Sichuan Gourmet, and had the best meal I have ever had there at lunch today. The service, though, made Red Pepper on a bad day look like a love fest.

                          1. re: alanr
                            pondrat RE: alanr Jan 12, 2009 12:57 PM

                            You're referring to Red Pepper as the place that closed ??

                            If so it's further indication that the location is cured from a culinary point of view. I can't remember anything stable being there since it was Liam's Pub back in the 80's.

                        2. re: alanr
                          pondrat RE: alanr Jan 12, 2009 07:02 AM

                          Yes they do tend to run "hot & cold" :0)

                          1. re: alanr
                            s
                            Spike RE: alanr Feb 4, 2009 09:57 AM

                            does Fuloon even use sichuan peppercorns? We tried it once and ordered what we thought were a few sichuan dishes and while they had the heat, the peppercorns were missing from the flavor...

                            1. re: alanr
                              MrsCheese RE: alanr Feb 4, 2009 06:30 PM

                              I got scared off from Red Pepper after I read numerous posts about the terrible service after they first opened. Bad service is one thing; people walking out after an hour plus with no food or drinks is quite another.

                              I just love Sichuan Gourmet. We go there once every week or two. The fresh bamboo shoots with spicy wonder sauce are my new fave. I really liked their dan dan noodles too. And we always get the dried chicken in chili sauce - we have a really hard time straying from that dish.

                              1. re: MrsCheese
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                                lexpatti RE: MrsCheese Feb 4, 2009 09:49 PM

                                We just discoverd SG in Billerica after several people mentioned it. Been twice in the last month, love love love this place. We too love the dan dan noodles, we also tried a fish dish that was fantatic, litly coated and fried (small pieces) and perfectly spiced. We also do a great lamb dish last week and those scallion pancakes. I could eat here once a week easily.

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