Authentic Sichuan in ABQ?
Rumor has it that there is authentic Sichuan (aka Szechuan) in Albuquerque, but I'm not seeing it listed anywhere here. I mean like ma la (hot and numbing). Dan Dan noodles and so forth. NOT American Chinese. Thoughts?
There's a place called Szechuan Chinese Restaurant on Juan Tabo, but I think it's just standard American Chinese, and there's a newish place that might be Sichuan in the same plaza as Keller's and Albertson's on Coors just south of Montano that I've heard is not good.
Are you maybe thinking of Chopstix? They have Dan Dan noodles and some other Sichuan/Szechuan dishes that are probably pretty good, but I wouldn't say they're a Sichuan restaurant. Chopstix is probably the closest thing to an to NYC Chinatown restaurant you'll find in NM, though. They have things you won't find in other restaurants here, like beef tendon soup, pickled mustard greens, and those weird sponge cake rolls. I don't go there much because I like Budai better (and because there was some shady business w/ my Mom's credit card at Chopstix once that was a bit troubling -- good idea to only pay cash there).
Besides Budai, Chopstix, and sometimes Ming Dynasty, Albuquerque's Chinese/Taiwanese restaurant scene is pretty dismal. If you're really craving Sichuan peppercorns, they use generous amounts of the real thing at Street Food Asia. A lot of their food is too sweet for me, but I bet if you asked the chef to do something tongue-numbing for you (on a not too busy night) he'd do it.
Just ate there for lunch today. The sichuan menu is definitely good. However, while I did like the spicy chicken, I felt it wasn't quite hot enough for me (which is surprising since I'm not a super spice tolerant individual). It lacked some of the mala mouth numbing heat I'm used to in California, which is weird because I definitely saw sichuan peppercorns used. Perhaps I didn't feel it because it was fried or maybe I should have ordered it Chong Qing style, which is the next level up?
Dry fried string beans are good too and had good wok hay. Shallots and ginger made it lighter and slightly more aromatic than the Cantonese style I'm used to.