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.