Calling all mala enthusiasts, Chengdu is back again with new curated dishes set to tantalise those taste buds! Although Chengdu was just launched last April, this is our third invitation (you may read our previous write-ups here and here by our lovely editor Sam!), and we are curious to see if Chengdu could deliver once again.
Without further ado, we started off with the Chicken Feet with Preserved Vegetables ($13.80++). Don’t let its plain-looking exterior fool you, for this dish is pre-marinated with preserved green chilies and peppers for at least 48 hours in a cold temperature of 0 to 5 degrees Celsius, producing a cold yet remarkably peppery dish. It’s a love-it-or-hate-it dish, understandably for chicken feet as it is an acquired taste. If you do savor the tender collagen delicacy, do give it a try.
The spotlight for the night shines on the Roasted Foie Gras ($42.80++), which is very uncommon in a Sichuan restaurant. Plated beautifully above a layer of dreamy mist, the dish tastes as heavenly as it looks. Supposedly best eaten with the foie gras and abalone sandwiched together, the juxtaposition clearly pronounced the difference in texture. The creaminess of the foie gras layered on tender and juicy flesh of the abalone were more than welcome. This lavish dish is prepared Sichuan-styled, yet proffers a savoury tone instead of the usual spicy one. A definite delight, do give it a chance and you would be in for an extravagant treat.
Soup dishes are a must-have in Chinese cuisine, and the Fish Fillet in Sour Soup (Small: $22.80++, Large: $29.80++) is no exception. An appetizing, heart-warming dish, we could not stop ourselves from ladling spoonfuls of the soupy delight onto our rice bowls. The fillet was firm and not mushy, with the preserved vegetables and golden enoki making for mouthwatering broth. Although weak in spice, the Fish Fillet in Sour Soup makes it to the thumbs-up section in our checklist.
If you fancy having pork ribs, Chengdu does not disappoint with its Salt and Pepper Pork Ribs (aka 手抓排骨, $22.80++). True to its name, we could taste the marination, similar to those savory fried chicken pieces (鹽酥雞) sold in our local pasar malam. Allegedly, the Chinese name is derived by how easily it falls apart when you pick it up with your hands. We agree, it was more than tender for a pork rib, but still has bite in firmness. Cooked with finely diced asparagus, we loved it for its sour aftertaste present after the bearable hot jolt.
Next up, we were served the Braised Beef Tendon with Kidney Bean ($26.80++), which is made with their homemade specialty secret: 紅燒汁 (read: hong shao zhi) a sauce that boasts savoury delight. It has fried quail eggs that might burst in oozy goodness (hot liquid alert!), sweet mushrooms and garlic for an enhanced aroma. The collagen-brimmed tendon was chewy and beefy in flavour, which is great if you enjoy the richness!
Aesthetically presented, the Beggar Potatoes ($12.80++) highlights 20 different spices used in Sichuan cuisine in its coating. Crisp and subtle, it is best consumed piping hot but do be careful not to burn yourself!
If there was a competition, the Sichuan Eggplant Claypot ($12.80++) would be the winner hands-down. Despite its name, this snack-like dish has a crisp exterior with a buttery melt-like interior. We finished it in seconds, believing it to be potatoes and not eggplants! We had to restrain ourselves from taking on a second serving, which is testament to how sinfully good this dish is.
We ended off the night with the spiciest option of the menu: the SichuanStyle Spicy Pot ($28.80). It is filled to the brim with squid, prawns, luncheon meat, beef tripe, chewy potato starch and fried quail eggs, just to name a few. The mind-numbing spices were fiery and delivered a rush up our noses, with a lingering sensation of slight numbness remaini after just a spoonful.
The adventurous are more than welcome to conquer the true mala experience here in Chengdu. I’d say we were definitely stoked with the new selection and absolutely pleased with the intensity!
Chengdu 74 Amoy Street Singapore 069893 +65 8533 9928