Monday, January 22, 2018

Making the Important First Right Sichuan Impression

There used to be a time when food that burned your tongue is essentially wasted.

If you can't taste it, then you will never know the flavors, texture, or even get a conclusion if your tummy can feel the satisfaction. Thus the question, why is it necessary to have a spicy numbness as a level to kill your tastebud?

This is a fad I can never figured it out, especially the noodle rage of killer spicy level are on the horizon. Even now the fried chicken explosion can exemplify this ungodly rage. For us the uninitiated, let us introduce a fortitude of Sichuan cuisine.

Sichuan (for the gringos, it's often spelled Szechuan) is considered a Chinese cuisine that specialized the use of spicy peppers that would dulled your taste buds and periled your sense of smell with the overpowering aroma of stuffy spiciness. I think was first introduced to this adventure with a few of my old time Yelp friends back when we first dared to venture out to San Gabriel for Chung King (haha... Chongqing in real spelling). We did this because of a former LA Weekly restaurant critic was in love of that place. Read my old passage about this place as we paid the price back then.

Sichuan Impression, the third incarnation of Szechuan Impression (opened in San Gabriel and Rosemead) was wildly popular because of the said critic who since relocated to a loftier gig with the LA Times, who proceed to pump the mentions of Szechuan. I decided to venture out to the newer digs in Tustin, home to the growing Chinese upper middle class in south Orange County.

Why is this chain of Sichuan cuisine more popular than the others? Upon visiting this strip mall destination that luckily has a vast parking lot, which I believed back in the old days a supermarket required huge lots of parking. Reminds me... supermarket (dying breed?). It occurred to me why this place gets the kudos when I started to look at the menu.

Leshan Bobo Chicken (assorted meat with bamboo shoots, lotus in red hot chili sauce with green peppercorns)

One of the most interesting bizarre dish to be introduce was a picky skewer dishes in the sea of red chili pepper. It's aptly called Leshan Bobo Chicken, but there's nothing clowning about this and not quite sure why it's chicken. It looks numbing, but it's not really spicy. Eww, did I just spoiled it for everybody?

A special note about coming here for Leshan Bobo Chicken, make sure to come early for this 40 sticks dish as it is a limited ordered item on their menu. The restaurant will only fulfill about a certain numbers per night (guessing about 20 orders worth) as it does take nuisance of putting different ingredients of meat and veggies on a stick.

Pork Kidneys with Spicy Chili Sauce

Weirder part was that the most spicy or mind numbing burner was a pork kidney dish. That green sauce was scorching chili that was more intense than eating wasabi on a whole. It was served cold, which has a greater taste effect. I always tend to believe colder dishes tend to be much more spicier than a warm served plate of chili pepper. This was no exception.

Tea Smoked Spare Ribs

We should have tapped out by the pork kidney dish, but we braved on to a tamer and friendlier looking tea smoked ribs. Be frank, this was a mild mannered dish. The taste definitely matched the look of it as this was as innocent as it really looked. Nice touched, but we probably could have gotten a more challenging dish, but we believed the nice looking photo did some influencing on us to choose this.

What did we learned? Spicy numbness is great when we cannot taste the weird assorted meat? I was thinking the conclusion was the tummy didn't get screamed for the restroom, which was a good sign. We did noticed complex flavors didn't damaged our senses of either smell or taste, but it did enhance some of the meat that were presented in an imperial dining manner.

Oh, here's a catch. I do think certain dishes like the pork kidney is unassuming hot. For the big mind numbing spicy, avoid the chili peppers in a soup if you can handle it. My best advice is to avoid using water as an extinguisher, but used some subtle cold soup or a frozen lettuce to suck up and tame your flaming taste bud if you felt overwhelmed. As in for the tummy aches, milk can do it, but I suggested getting plum juice to make it settled in. It's your only hope.

I think there will be plenty of Sichuan adventures for me up ahead. For now, this ever popular chain is a nice introduction and a precursor for the hardcore chili pepper fans.

Sichuan Impression
13816 Red Hill Ave
Tustin, CA 92780

Sichuan Impression Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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