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What is a traditionally odd, spicy and delicious thing to order at a Sichuan restaurant?

Going in a bit. Want to try something fiery and new -- maybe something off-menu. I am in a rut: I always order Ma Po tofu. I love those flavors but want something different. Please advise.

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  1. One of my favorite Sichuan recipes is called "hot chili chicken" at Qingdao Garden and similar names other places. It's little bite-size pieces of dry-fried chicken with tons of sichuan peppercorns, little dry chili pods, and bits of scallion. It's intensely 'sichuan' and leaves my mouth numb!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Boston_Otter

      Also known as Chongqing chicken or dry fried chicken. Excellent. True dan dan noodles are also spicy and declicious...odd?, I'm not sure.
      Ma Po tofu could be considered odd, I suppose.

    2. OMG, where to begin? Dry-fried green beans? Cumin beef or lamb? Double-cooked pork? Smashed cucumbers? Fish in hot oil?

      Well, there's a start for ya....

      1. steamed-beef-szechuan-style at Fuloon.

        1. The boiled beef with napa cabbage at New Shanghai in CTown can be blazingly hot..had it for lunch today. The peppercorns give it a mala heat/numbness and the Szechuan pepper combine for a great flavor.

          Very similar to the steamed beef at Fuloon, already mentioned.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              This is one of my 3 favorite foods, along with ma pa tofu and shredded potatoes. I sometimes stop at One of the Kind at Super 88 and down an entire order of the potatoes.

            2. Appetizers are a great way to go when you want to try something unfamiliar--there's not that much to eat if you don't like it, and you can get more variety.

              There's a number of appetizers I like at Chilli Garden: Beef, omasum, and tendon--plenty of numbing "ma"; bamboo shoots with chili sauce; Sichuan style pork dumplings; cold noodle w/chicken & veg. I've also liked the rabbit w/toasted chili appetizer at Sichuan Garden.

              Stinky tofu may be an acquired taste, but I like it. Conveniently for me in Arlington, Szechuan's Dumpling has a version with tons of raw garlic.

              1. Where did you go? We just now came in from Szechuan Gourmet in Billerica. We love the dried fried fish, Dan dan noodles, chicken or fish in spicy chile sauce.

                3 Replies
                1. re: hargau

                  Thank you all for the helpful suggestions.
                  We were in Arlington, so we ended up at Szechuan's Dumpling (our other go-to is Taipei Gourmet).
                  I started with the oyster pancake, which was delicious. We also got steamed shrimp dumplings -- juicy little vessels and quite good. Next, Young Swank and I shared pork with spicy shredded potatoes -- tangy, numbing, excellent texture. Mr. Swank ordered spicy mango shrimp. This was a massive disappointment. We were greeted with a heaping platter piled high with slivered mango, red pepper, green pepper, some kind of gloppy gluey pink sauce that seemed to congeal before our very eyes ... and four chewy shrimp. Ech! I asked for dan dan noodles, but the waitress didn't know what they were...she kept suggesting chow fun. This was fine; we ended up with a perfectly nice rendition of chicken chow fun. However, I would've preferred a spicy, garlicky, tangy noodle dish. A nearby table was enjoying the house special, fish fillet in a cauldron of spicy sauce (topped with scallions). Wish we'd ordered that!

                  1. re: Swankalicious

                    Yeah, that's the fish dish I mentioned. Good stuff.

                    1. re: Swankalicious

                      I have not been there but looking at their menu online they seem to be more of a Taiwanese restaurant than a Szechuan one, despite the name. I would suggest trying Szechuan gourmet in billerica next time you have the urge

                  2. A good way to start any Sichuan meal is with fuqi fei pian - sliced beef (shank) and beef offal (tripe, tendon) in chile oil garnished with crushed peanuts and cilantro.

                    (New Shanghai's pictured below)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Nab

                      Aw, yeah. Spicy beef tendon 'salad' --- how could I forget!!

                    2. Cold green bean starch noodles with chili oil? (Chilli garden has them, as to many other places.)

                      Also, at the Framingham Sichuan Gourmet, the "with napa cabbage and chili sauce" dishes are wonderful. (I've only had the tofu as a vegetarian but have seen people go into raptures over the other versions as well.)

                      1. Fuqi fei pian is often made with tongue.