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Jul 20, 2008 08:32 AM

MSP-Teahouse vs. Little Szechuan

I finally ate at Little Szechuan. I started eating at Teahouse in plymouth about a year and a half ago right after the head chef there started up Lil Szechuan. A friend of mine said that he used to eat at Teahouse but now prefers LS as the chef is superior. I had the fish filet in spicy broth with tofu as it looked to be pretty much the same thing as what I order at TH. It was very good but didn't blow me away. I actually think I prefer the TH version, especially since TH puts a lot more fish in the dish. LS really skimped on the fish which was a disapointment. I always read and hear how LS is so much better then TH and how TH has gone downhill but I have never been dissapointed with the food at TH.

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  1. I usually order the beef in hot sauce dish. Had that dish recently at both restaurants and preferred the TH version.

    1. TH is my favorite. Gotta love those scallion pancakes and juicy buns. The garlic shrimp rocks too. Actually, most everything I've had at TH has rocked. I stop and get take out at least every couple of weeks when I need the spicy Chinese fix.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ssioff

        I crave Pork in Spicy Szechuan Broth from LS weekly, it's my favorite dish in St Paul.However every other dish I have had their fell way below my expectations. The Chung King Chili Chicken was dry and hard and not spicy at all. I became ill after eating the Chairman Mao Braised Pork, again not spicy at all.Dan Dan Noodles were not nearly as good as everyone here raves. Have not tried Teahouse yet.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I'd complicate things further by throwing in the newest Tea House too (on the east side of St.Paul). We generally go there most often, since it's very close to our house, but there are things we prefer at Little Szechuan (the eggplant in special sauce, for example). On the other hand, the Szechuan Kung Pao Chicken at the Tea House is our favorite Chinese dish anywhere....

          6 Replies
          1. re: mtullius

            Does anyone know if Tea House 2 has a menu item comparable to Little Szechuans Pork in Spicy Szechuan Broth?

            1. re: EricShawnSmith

              I happen to have a menu close at hand, since we get take-out from there embarrassingly often...

              There is something called "Boiled Pork in Szechuan Hot Sauce," or on the cold dish category there is "Boiled Sliced Pork w/Szechuan Garlic Sauce," but I have had none of these, nor the LS dish you mentioned, so I can't say for sure if they're similar.

              1. re: mtullius

                Thank you I will try the Boiled Pork Dish asap and report back.

                1. re: EricShawnSmith

                  I'm stuck ordering my favorite dishes at Teahouse in szechuan sauce...dancing fish...double cooked pork...pork in garlic...bamboo tips app. Can someone recommend me some of their favorites?

                  1. re: dave43

                    Has anyone been to teahouse lately and can share there experience? I was a regular until I had two bad meals and haven't been back. My favorite fish entrees that used to have tender fish and flavorful broth turned into a bland broth of rubbery fish. I was dissapointed to say the least. I hope they have improved as I miss teahouse.

                    1. re: dave43

                      I went to the Plymouth Teahouse last weekend for nibbles after visiting the Art Shanties on Medicine Lake (which were wonderful but chilly). We'd never been there before, but we have been to the St. Paul location once, and liked it a lot (oh, those soup dumplings!).

                      We weren't hungry for a full meal, so we ordered two appetizers: Szechuan wontons in spicy sauce and Hot dan dan noodles. Both were good, but I especially loved the wontons - they're boiled, not fried,and are a lovely combination of meaty, salty, spicy, and just a bit sweet. Addictive.

                      We also ordered Szechuan green beans. They were very nice, too - dark and salty (in a good way) and not spicy (luckily - those noodles are really hot).

                      Based on these three dishes, I would definitely go back.


                      P.S. The Plymouth Teahouse doesn't have the soup dumplings - they're only at the St. Paul branch.

          2. I'd like to point out another alternative. I recenttly discovered Tian Jin in Chanhassan that also serves authentic Szechuan food. They have a master chef specialized in Szechuan dishes and I actually prefer Tian Jian over TH or LS.

            Please give Tian Jin a try - it's been pretty quiet there the last few times I was there - they deserve much more customers as their food is excellent.

            6 Replies
            1. re: kzuiderveld

              Great tip, thank you. There doesn't seem to be much info out there about this place, though, I found a mention of their address, etc. on this website:

              Are there any dishes there you particularly recommend?


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Everything I ate there was good. I usually eat the Chung King Spicy Chicken or the boiled beef in spicy sauce (i.e. some of the usual dishes folks eat at TH or LS).

                The Tian Jin version is usually at least as good as TH or LS IMHO.

                1. re: kzuiderveld

                  Thanks KZ!

                  I live a mile away from Tian Jin...It used to be a Giant Panda and I assumed they opened another run of the mill Chinese resturant. That is good news that they are authentic. I will go this weekend and report back.

                  1. re: dave43

                    Thanks again KZ...I just started a new thread for Tian Jin as it certainly deserves it's own voice. The best restaurant I have been to in a long time.

                    1. re: dave43


                      I know your opinion carries alot of weight on this board and I encourage you to try out Tian Jin as I would like to hear your feed back.

                      1. re: dave43

                        Chanhassen's a bit out of my way, so, it might be awhile before I can get out there to try it...but, I can't wait to try this place, based on KZ's recommendations and your report in this thread But, I hope lots of other 'hounds can get out there and report on it as of course, my humble opinion shouldn't carry anymore weight than anyone else's!