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Jan 1, 2014 07:43 AM

Wanzhou Grilled Fish (Chongqing style)

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

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. 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

      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

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

        1. re: ipsedixit

          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 as hell, but delicious.

          1. re: ipsedixit

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

            1. re: ipsedixit

              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: Ciao Bob

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

                  1. re: JThur01

                    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: ipsedixit

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

                        1. re: linus

                          Who said anything about character?

                          I'm just saying I still like the dude.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

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

          2. re: Ciao Bob

            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

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

              1. re: Ciao Bob

                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

                  Nice. Thanks for reporting back!