Winter is coming! And Chengdu is coming up with some seasonal dishes that are sure to tantalise your taste buds.
This is our second trip back to Chengdu and during our first trip here, we were thoroughly impressed and this place has got to be one of the only Szechuan Chinese restaurants that I would set foot in (and come back again)!
Before we get started on my thoughts on the new menu, I would like to mention that Szechuan food is typically pretty spicy. It could either be "chilli-spicy" or "mala-spicy", which means numbingly spicy due to the peppercorn and chilli oil in the dish. So, to save everyone the pain (or the pleasure), I will be including a spicy factor for each dish!
Spicy Factor: 4/5
Chengdu is well-known for their bombastic plating of dishes. So, when the Homemade Pickled Radish ($9.80) was served as the first dish, I honestly thought I was set for disappointment due to its sheer simple plating. BUT this was my favourite dish of the night and I would definitely be back again for this.
In one bite, all the flavours marry together and create and explosion in your mouth. Its salty from salt, sour from vinegar, spicy from chilli and naturally sweet from the radish they used.
Spicy Factor: 1/5
Here's a rather appetising starter to kickstart your appetite for a wholesome meal. The Cold Sliced Pig Trotters with Noodles and Spicy Dip ($16.80) is just simply sliced pork and cucumbers with noodles on the side. You eat it sort of like a Japanese soba, where you dip the noodles and the meat in the sauce.
The sauce has a more umami flavour to it, which I am guessing is from the sesame in it. But thankfully, this wasn't as spicy as it looks and very easy to eat.
Spicy Factor: 2.5/5
When the Ice Ball with Whelk $24.80 arrived, it reminded me about one of the reasons why I adore Chengdu -- for its quirky food plating and theatrical way of serving. This dish came with (dry ice) smoke and the food served inside an ice ball!
This may look good, but it also tastes good. This was probably my first time having whelk and I enjoyed it! For those of you who don't know, whelk is a kind of sea snail. Sort of like escargot, but chewier.
Spicy Factor: 0/5
The Stuffed Lotus Root with Prawn ($26.80) was honestly a little underwhelming compared to the other dishes. Don't get me wrong, this didn't taste bad. But Chengdu has been serving us super bombastic dishes that this came out seeming a little plain.
But speaking of plain, the mix of textures between the crunchy lotus root and soft prawn paste was great, along with its simple flavours. I guess this made for a great "refreshing" dish to have among the many spicy ones.
Spicy Factor 4/5
The Spicy Crab ($46.80) was another favourite of mine here. I absolutely love how Chengdu only serves super fresh seafood.
The sauce was pretty spicy -- as the name suggests -- and has a numbing feeling to it due to the chillis and peppercorn, but the sweet crab meat balances everything up and kept me going back for more.
Spicy Factor: 4/5
Next, we had the Spicy Pork RIbs ($18.80) that comes in a half-cut glass bottle. And as interesting as it looks, it tasted pretty good too. The ribs go through a very meticulous cooking process where it is first blanched in water with star anise, coriander, peppercorn, ginger and spring onion. Then, it is tossed with the traditional Lao Gan Ma sauce that gives it a savoury touch and an extra spicy punch.
Spicy Factor: 1/5
The Beggar Potato ($12.80) is a dish that is served very limited daily. So, you would need to call to make a booking for this in advance. This due to its complex cooking process, where the potatoes are first boiled, then coated with a secret-recipe mix of 20 different spices before they are deep fried and topped with chilli powder and cumin powder.
Though this dish might sound like a huge hoo-haa. I personally was not impressed at all. I thought that the potatoes tasted like Indonesian begedil, which is something i get for a few cents off the Nasi Padang stall in a food centre.
Spicy factor: 5/5
What's a Sichuan restaurant without a mala dish? Chengdu's Spicy Mala Pot ($19.80) definitely made up for the few underwhelming dishes I had here. This pleasing pot of numbingly spicy soup features a variety of spices, dried and fresh chillis, potato, luncheon meat, prawn and lotus root.
And to finally end the night with some dessert and something to cool yourself from all the spicy food, try the Yuzu Jelly ($3.80). A super simple dessert that's just refreshing and a great way to put out the fire.
However, I would personally rather go for some of Chengdu's more unique desserts instead, such as the Giant Sesame Ball ($16.80) and Brown Sugar Glutinous Rice Stick ($6.80).
Nonetheless, Chengdu is and will always be my place to go for authentic Sichuan food with a dash of smoke and sparkle.
成都Chengdu · 新加坡最走心川菜
74 Amoy St,
Tel: +65 6221 9928
Mondays to Saturdays - 11.00am to 3.00pm; 5.00pm to 10.30pm