Notes from LA: Chengdu Taste

February 22, 2014

Chengdu Taste in Alhambra

Went again.  I love this little restaurant so much that I just can't stay away. There are so many flavors here I find myself thinking about, craving. 


Cold noodles with garlic sauce. Sprightly, springy noodles with an uneven texture and an elastic nature. The sauce is spicy, but not truly hot.


 Mung bean noodles. Fascinating how the soft texture of these transparent noodles makes for an entirely different eating experience. 



Sichuan Spring Vegetable. Looks like celery. Tastes like…. the closest I can come is chayote with a college education.  It’s soft, with a certain integrity, and it soaks up the spices in a wonderful way. 


Numb-taste dumplings.  If you’re curious about ma-la – the elusively sneaky heat of Sichuan peppercorns – this is the place to try it.  These dumplings have a heat very different than that of chiles.  The entire front of your mouth literally goes numb.  It’s an endlessly appealing sensation.



Toothpick lamb. Tiny squiggles of lamb encrusted in cumin and peppers until the spice seems a natural part of the meat. I couldn't help imagining that the animals spent their entire lives feasting on a field of cumin.


  Ma 2

Ma Po Tofu: Very much like the version of this classic dish that I had in China (although it lacks the inch of oil floating on the top).  



Sauteed potatoes: Crisply wok-tossed with cumin, this is like an intriguing Chinese version of scalloped potatoes



Sauteed lettuce. All I can say is: why have I never done this with lettuce?  Completely irresistible. 


 Eggplant. Soft. Rich. Spicy. Mysterious. 



Chengdu fried rice.  Light. Lovely. With little frisks of cured ham.


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