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Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Chengdu Taste serves down-home Sichuan

Along with its many unique dishes, the acclaimed restaurant's menu now features Diced Rabbit With Younger Sister's Secret Recipe.

August 03, 2013|Jonathan Gold

There is so much to taste on the menu here that even half a dozen visits isn't quite enough to exhaust the menu. As soon as you check stewed ribs in earthen pot, cumin-spiked mutton threaded onto toothpicks, deeply smoky tea-flavored duck and garlic leeks sauteed with dense house-cured bacon off your list, you realize that you still have the sauteed root vegetable houttuynia, griddle-cooked bullfrog, and tiny-shape pork with pickled cowpeas yet to try. Sliced fish with tofu pudding is a composition of filets arranged over fresh, soft bean curd and swamped with scarlet chile oil; flour-steamed pork is dredged with chile-laced ground rice, then steamed in a bowl until the texture of the meat and the porridge become one. And there's that Cold Diced Rabbit With Younger Sister's Secret Recipe: utterly bony, buzzing with salty, fermented heat.

At least once, you should try the ice powder, a kind of vegetable thickener the restaurant brings in from Chengdu that transforms sweet liquid into a barely set, tremulous mass — they claim they're the only kitchen outside Sichuan to feature it. Is that canned fruit cocktail on top of the ice powder? Why, yes, it is.

jonathan.gold@latimes.com

Chengdu Taste

Just as spicy, but a lighter, cleaner and infinitely more numbing look at Sichuan cooking.

LOCATION

828 W. Valley Blvd., Alhambra, (626) 588-2284

PRICES

Cold dishes, $7.99-$10.99; noodles, $5.99-$7.99; main dishes, $7.99-$18.99

DETAILS

Open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily. Cash only. No alcohol. Street parking. Takeout.

BEST DISHES

Diced Rabbit With Younger Sister's Secret Recipe, couple's sliced beef in chile sauce, Numb-Taste Wonton; dan dan mian; boiled beef with green pepper sauce, sliced fish with tofu pudding, rice flour-steamed pork, Toothpick Mutton.


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