Sichuan (Szechuan) food is THE food you should eat in China. Its famous for its spice and flavor and everytime I’m travelling and tell people I live in Sichuan, they immediately ask if I like the food.
In fact Sichuan food is a large part of why I chose to live here. Besides its beauty, proximity to Tibet, and cleaner air – its got good food and I’m somewhat fond of eating.
There are 3 main ingredients that many Sichuan dishes have (other then MSG), Chili peppers, Sichuan peppers, and approximately 24948823 million cloves of Garlic. Seriously, I maintain one of my favorite dishes comes with an entire bulb of garlic in it.
Sichuan peppers are… strange little peppers that have a strange numbing sensation. The first time I tried to cook I added to many and my whole face sort of seized up, but they’re delicious in smaller amounts…. just try not to bite down on more then one at a time. Sichuan is always rainy and damp, but the Chinese believe eating the spice helps them stay healthy in the dampness. So not only are the dishes spicy, but the candy and snacks are often spicy as well.
gōngbǎo jīdīng- Kung Pao Chicken – 宫保鸡丁
Easily the most recognizable dish, this is amazing and one of the few chicken dishes I’ve found here except its Sichuan counterpart is way spicier then what Panda Express is serving up, also they slice the chicken its very small slivers
Mapo Dofu – Spicy Tofu – 麻婆豆腐
This is by far my favorite Sichuan dish and its crazy spicy as well. Tofu is extremely popular in China and you can typically buy it from farmers at the market. I’ve been told to never buy it from the supermarket but I’m not entirely sure why.
huíguōròu – Twice cooked Pork – 回锅肉
THis is served in almost ball shape with slices of pork covering a covering a ball of seaweed. Its salty anddelicious… unfortunately sometimes its super fatty and the wise people learn to ask for lean slices.
gan bian si ji dou Fried Sichuan Green Beans (干煸四季豆, )
I never seem to get enough vegetables and this is a favorite. Its primarily green beens fried with chili peppers and garlic. I’ve definitely never thought to fry green beans before but I almost always demand we order this
Sìchuān huǒguō – Sichuan Hotpot- 四川火锅
Hotpot is not limited to Sichuan or even just to China… but people in Sichuan pretty firmly believe eating it anywhere else it a waste of time. In fact they warned me not to eat it while I was travelling outside of Sichuan because they said it wouldn’t be worth eating. Its not quite that extreme, but a real Sichuan hotpot is a spicy affair of cooking all manner of vegetables and meet in a boiling pot of oil and peppers and then dipping it off in Sesame oil before eating it. I have suffered hotpot hangovers from the effects of the oil/spice – but like any good hangover, its usually worth it.
Shaokao- BBQ – 烧烤
So this is not technically Sichuan, this amazing meal is available anywhere…. but it is more spicy in Sichuan. Sometimes in the evening around 6-7 stands show up on every corner offering any vegetable imaginable, meat, tofu, and fish, on s stick. You grab a basket, fill it with what you want,. They fry it all up for you and then you can dine out under the city lights with glasses of warm beer and the gentle sounds of Mah Jong games going on around you. I love it
So that’s my favorite Sichuan foods but certainly not all of them. I am still trying new dishess all the time which I love. Frequently I’m asked what my favorite dishes are and it makes people so happy that I know their food and enjoy it. In the same fashion, I’ve loved making food for my Chinese friends.