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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.

Chengdu Taste

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


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


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


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


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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