Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Hot Hot Hot!

We finally turned out heat on last night. What a difference! HVAC man said we should replace our ducts, but that it was fine to run the heater in the meantime. Now I can look forward to going home again!

What a joy it was to see an article in the NYT travel section on the best Chinese food in LA. Mr. Octopus and I read it and made a beeline for Chung King, a dive in Monterey Park that the author says "puts just about every other Sichuan restaurant in the United States that I’m familiar with to shame." Lovers of spicy food unite!

We ordered our dishes "medium" spicy and it came out spicier than what other places would consider "very, very spicy." From the article:
You know how some Chinese restaurants have little chili symbols next to the hot dishes? Every dish in the entire first column of the menu here, with — literally — one exception, has a little chili symbol next to it. Fully half the dishes are blazingly hot — they must go through a coffee-sack of dried peppers daily — but tamed by the mouth-numbing sensation of floral-scented Sichuan peppercorns. This is a mind-body experience not to be missed: your body, abused with chilies, is crying “Please stop,” while your mind, entranced by the incredible flavors, keeps directing the chopsticks from plate or bowl to mouth and back again.
Hardly any of the staff speaks English, but that's ok. They're friendly (not the snarly sort, if you know what I mean). The resident English expert sized us up quickly and came by to point out the dishes that the article had recommended. We'll be back again...soon.


junebee said...

I love spicy food and can eat the "Nuclear" chicken wings at our local wing emporium. But the Citizen is quick to warn me how much hotter true Sichuan food is. He said I probably wouldn't be able to take it. There's a great place he eats in NY when he was to work in NYC. He said their food's real hot.

Anonymous said...

Chung King? Isn't that the stuff they sell at Vons in the ethnic food section...

chanchow said...

Junebee: Nuclear chicken sounds like serious stuff! Sichuan food is a particular kind of spicy. There are the usual dried red chilis, but there are also special Sichuan peppercorns, which (I think) gives the food a neat metallic taste. I'm not describing it well, so you should definitely try it yourself. When we were in NYC, we would get the "Kung Pao Chicken Fresh Chicken" at Grand Sichuan.

CTD: Is Chung King a brand of soy sauce or something? Maybe it's a generic name for things Asian.

Anonymous said...

I think it is-
I haven't been to a 'nornal' market in awhile (We're Whole Foods, Tj's people) But I remember getting those freeze-dried Chung King noodles for snacks.