Angeles, Kilburn, London
Deft wok work in the dry fried green beans with minced pork/gan1 bian3 si4 zi4 dou4, the green beans nicely blistered, with small delicious charred spots, crunchy and snapping easily on the bite. Enhanced with fine bits of minced pork backed by pickled mustard greens for a hint of sour.
Folks that love dish names with a twist (e.g. Pollen Street Social's ham and cheese) would love the fen3 zhen1 pai2 gu3 - it's supposed to be pork ribs steamed with glutinous rice powder, and regardless of whether this very different rendition is deliberate or accidental, it's really good. Rather than being steamed, the mixture of moist rice powder and pork are ciated to with crumbed batter and fried into crispy bite-size pieces with the flavour of pork mixed with the toasty rice flour, the soft mixture contrasting the crispy batter. These pieces are then stir-fried with a big pile of dried chilli and good sichuan peppercorns for a mild spicy heat with a beautiful aura of tingling prickly coolness from the peppercorns, and balanced by a good scatter of chopped green onion. Involves extra cooking steps compared to the original dish, but the results are totally worth it. It's on the chef's special list of dishes in the plastic holder on each table rather than the regular menu. Unfortunately the twist goes away in the English name, which calls it fried pork with rice powder or something to that effect.
Pollen Street Social
10 Pollen St, London, England W1S 1, GB
Hey finally got to this place (have just moved from Brixton to the area). I remember its been at the back of my mind for years (it was probably the first Sichuan place to open in London).
I was really blown away by the quality of the food. Lazi Ji awesomely tingly and crunchy with good meat bits (often you just get crappy bits of bone). Mapo Tofu exemplary. Dandan mian tasty, filling and only three quid for a (decent sized) bowl. In fact portion size all round was great (2x dishes + noodles was about three times as much as I could eat - and I was hungry).
Well worth going to if you're in the area. Or even if you're not.