Despite Controlled Heat, Sichuan Cuisine Burns Bright in Taipei

Chefs have toned down the spiciness to accommodate local taste.

The News Lenas
Date: 017/01/22
By: Matthew Fulco

Cuisine from China’s southwestern Sichuan province has a well-deserved reputation for intense

Credit: Matthew Fulco

flavors given its frequent use of chili peppers, numbing Sichuan peppercorns, bean paste, and garlic. Many aficionados of the cuisine insist that the spicier, the better. Anything less than fiery is considered pedestrian.

My brother was close friends in college with a Chengdu native who insisted heat was paramount to the Sichuan dining experience. At the then only authentic Sichuan restaurant in Connecticut’s Hartford County, he always ordered the dishes on the menu identified with three chili peppers (zero was the mildest, three the hottest). While the rest of us were sweating or choking, he would note casually that the food “still lacked some flavor.” Once, cooking up a Sichuan feast in our home, he used so much chili oil that it set off the smoke detector.    [FULL  STORY]

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