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Wanzhou Grilled Fish (Chongqing style)

rhgindc Jan 1, 2014 07:43 AM

I just returned from Chongqing, China and enjoyed one of the most delicious dishes I've ever eaten. It's a local specialty called Wanzhou Grilled Fish.

It is a grilled whole fish covered in a dry dressing of Sichuan peppercorns, dried chilies and and served in a big pan full of soupy goodness similar to Sichuan hot pot liquid.

Originating from Wanzhou (formerly WanXiang) in Chongqing municipality, this specialty is popular in Mainland China. This dish is often called by its old name: Wanzhou (WanXian) Grilled Fish – from the city that was ultimately subsumed by the rapidly expanding Chongqing. In the “authentic” method of preparation – the cooks will first grill a freshwater fish (often Grass Carp) over charcoal prior to topping it with condiments and fillers that you select from the menu. And of course – you order and drink beer. Countless restaurants all over China serve this specialty. Beijing – where Sichuan dishes and Northern Chinese cumin lamb skewers often share menu centerfolds – is dotted with these specialty joints. (description courtesy of wisemonkeys.ca/2012/12/eating-chongqing-grilled-fish-at-li-china-grill-on-kingsway)

Is there any place in the Los Angeles, San Gabriel Valley, or Orange County area that serves this wonderful dish?

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  1. Ciao Bob RE: rhgindc Jan 1, 2014 10:29 AM

    Beijing Restaurant Baked Fish is close to that, I believe.
    250 W Valley Blvd
    Ste B2
    San Gabriel, CA 91776
    (626) 570-8598

    18 Replies
    1. re: Ciao Bob
      JThur01 RE: Ciao Bob Jan 1, 2014 10:40 PM

      I was going to reply with precisely what Ciao Bob wrote.

      Beijing Restaurant. Item #1 on the menu:

      Beijing Spicy Rose Fish

      1. re: JThur01
        ipsedixit RE: JThur01 Jan 2, 2014 08:15 AM

        Are you guys sure that that's grilled? As opposed to pan-fried and then topped with the spicy accouterments?

        1. re: ipsedixit
          jessejames RE: ipsedixit Jan 2, 2014 08:50 AM

          looks and sounds similar to the (and in the most deceptive name catagory winner) 'water fish' at chung king in santa gabriel. maybe the fish once lived in water, but it ain't swimming in water when you get it...hot as hell, but delicious.

          1. re: jessejames
            ipsedixit RE: jessejames Jan 2, 2014 09:10 AM

            Thats a different dish.

          2. re: ipsedixit
            Ciao Bob RE: ipsedixit Jan 2, 2014 09:19 AM

            Not sure - in fact I doubt it - it is the sauce-ing and spicing that seem similar.

            1. re: ipsedixit
              JThur01 RE: ipsedixit Jan 2, 2014 02:16 PM

              ipse, exactly right. That's what I get for posting when tired. I was going to mention that I believe it is baked, not grilled or charcoal grilled, but I believe it is about as close as the OP is going to find here.

              + what's the beer situation at Beijing?

              1. re: JThur01
                Ciao Bob RE: JThur01 Jan 2, 2014 03:10 PM

                I recall beer

                1. re: Ciao Bob
                  JThur01 RE: Ciao Bob Jan 2, 2014 05:14 PM

                  Thanks CB. I thought so, but couldn't recall for certain.

                  1. re: JThur01
                    JThur01 RE: JThur01 Jan 3, 2014 09:58 AM

                    I realize my not being certain of this calls for clarification lest some here think: "That guy doesn't even know *that*?" Well, no I don't, and here's why:

                    1. I drive. Drinking beer at my stops would lead to my weaving around the SGV. Which would lead to police stops, fines, community service or worse.

                    2. Beer would eat into my (already tight) budget. See also scenario in #1. So, I go with tea.

                    I try to pay attention when dealing with an ideal "beer food", like skewers, but otherwise, I don't, since I'm not likely to be writing about it.

                    I've never said I was a beer/wine/alcohol writer. I most assuredly am not. I'll leave that to others that hopefully aren't driving. I envy those who get the opportunity to enjoy a nice brew (or at least what is available :) ) with their eats at SGV restaurants.

                    1. re: JThur01
                      ipsedixit RE: JThur01 Jan 3, 2014 03:45 PM

                      I still like you, Jim.

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        linus RE: ipsedixit Jan 4, 2014 09:28 AM

                        i dunno, anyone who goes that far in rationalizing NOT drinking beer has a suspect character, don't you think?

                        1. re: linus
                          ipsedixit RE: linus Jan 4, 2014 10:43 AM

                          Who said anything about character?

                          I'm just saying I still like the dude.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            JThur01 RE: ipsedixit Jan 6, 2014 03:25 PM

                            linus, ipse...you guys are a big part of why I love CH. Truly made me smile.

          3. re: Ciao Bob
            rhgindc RE: Ciao Bob Jan 2, 2014 11:47 AM

            Thanks CiaoBob! That certainly looks like it. I will give it a try. I am 4 days removed from having this dish on my last night in China and I'm already missing it.

            I may have to try it tomorrow afternoon at Beijing Restaurant!

            1. re: rhgindc
              Ciao Bob RE: rhgindc Jan 2, 2014 12:15 PM

              If not exactly the same, I think/hope you will like it. I did.

              1. re: Ciao Bob
                rhgindc RE: Ciao Bob Jan 4, 2014 03:04 PM

                I just went to Beijing Restaurant for lunch and ordered the Beijing Spicy Rose Fish. It was $15.99. It was very good. Very close the the Wanzhou Grilled fish I had in Chongqing. Obviously one can't compare price because in Chongqing I had a 4 pound fish and the dish came out to be about 100 CNY ($16) whereas this was perhaps 1.5 pounds of fish.

                But, the flavor was good and the texture of the fish was excellent. I enjoyed it. Since a plane ticket to Chongqing is expensive and a very long ride on top of that....I think a 1/2 car ride to San Gabriel is completely worth it to get this type of fish dish. Thanks for the heads up CiaoBob and everyone else.

                1. re: rhgindc
                  Ciao Bob RE: rhgindc Jan 5, 2014 11:40 AM

                  Nice. Thanks for reporting back!

                  1. re: rhgindc
                    CLowe RE: rhgindc Jan 5, 2014 07:56 PM

                    Glad you liked it.

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