Sometimes there are places to discover right in your own neighborhood. The other night JC and I finally ate at a restaurant that we’ve been meaning to try since we moved here almost two years ago. It’s a Sichuan place called 小辣椒/Little Chilli.
The only thing I knew how to order was the spicy chicken pot (麻辣雞煲) because I’d had it at another place recently and wanted JC to try it. Per the waitress’s suggestion we ordered a shrimp dish (辣子蝦), but had no idea what it was until it came (spicy shrimp). We rounded it off with a garlic spinach.
I suppose with Sichuan cooking, it’s all about the spices flavoring the food as opposed to just adding heat. Although the spicy shrimp looks a little scary with all those peppers piled on top, it actually wasn’t that hot. The shells protected the meat from getting overly spicy and were so crispy that I didn’t even bother peeling the shrimp. Chomping down on the well-seasoned shells of each shrimp while simultaneously tasting the succulent meat (and shrimp brains) inside was quite satisfactory.
The chicken pot contained numbing spices (hence the 麻辣 name) and liquid, so there was definitely a lot more heat. I enjoyed taking bites of chicken and bites of whole garlic in succession, my numb and tingly lips and mouth interacting with the bubbles in my beer between bites. The portable stove keeping it all warm was a nice touch considering it was a cold winter night (is it standard for 雞煲?). The furious bubbling and steaming added to the mood. Overall, it was quite a meal.
We’ll most likely go to Little Chilli again. Below is some reading material we collected from the restaurant.