Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sichuan Gourmet: A Spicy Cuisine, with Depth of Flavor

What you’ve heard about Sichuan cuisine is true: it can bring the heat.

I’m no stranger to a bit of spice, either in restaurants or in my own cooking (and yes, I’ve eaten many a hot pepper on a double-dog-dare).  But what I love about good Sichuan food, and about Sichuan Gourmet on Beacon Street, is the depth of flavor that’s evident alongside the spice.  Here you’ll find a chorus of tastes—ginger, sesame oil, garlic, chili, and Sichuan peppercorns singing in harmony together, in nuances that reach far beyond the mere marker of “spicy.”

Take the Xiang La Twin Lobster as an example; sure, it might make your tongue tingle, but there’s also notes of a savory blend similar to five-spice powder, and the fruitiness of Sichuan peppercorns.  Or take the Cheng Du Spicy Dumplings, filled with succulent pork, and slippery with a sauce that’s sweet and dark and full of fire.  A mound of crushed raw garlic on top adds a pungent sharpness, for a different kind of spice.
Read the rest of this review at the Brookline Patch...

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