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Firing up appetites with Sichuan fare


Sliced Chicken with Hot and Spicy Sauce is a common dish in Sichuan.

Sliced Chicken with Hot and Spicy Sauce is a common dish in Sichuan.

HAVING your mouth go numb in the name of good food in the likes of authentic, fiery Sichuan cuisine will be worth it.

Originating from the Sichuan province in southwestern China, the dishes are characterised by their spiciness from a liberal use of garlic and chilli peppers - particularly the Sichuan pepper, which creates a numbing sensation in the mouth.

Until Aug 14, Dorsett Grand Subang will host the Authentically Sichuan promotion, and Dorsett Hospitality International has invited guest chefs Harley Tan and Teresa Ren from Dorsett Grand Chengdu - the capital of Sichuan province - to showcase the best of what the region has to offer.

According to Tan, people in the Sichuan province would dine on food with such high levels of spiciness every day, and for this promotion, diners can request for the chefs to increase or decrease the spice levels in their orders.

Although I have a decent tolerance for spicy food, most of us found Tan’s mild to moderate spiciness level almost too hot to handle.

 

Despite being a cold appetiser, the Tossed Black Fungus with Vinegar has a peppery taste.
Despite being a cold appetiser, the Tossed Black Fungus with Vinegar has a peppery taste.

 

We hit the spicy dishes right from the get-go, starting with the Sliced Chicken with Hot and Spicy Sauce as one of the appetisers.

A common dish in Sichuan, the chicken slices are cooked in a sauce made from Sichuan peppercorn chilli oil and sesame seeds. The hint of sweetness balanced the fiery flavour.

The king of spicy dishes here has to be the Chongqing Style Deep-Fried Crispy Chicken with Dried Chillies.

The dish looks intimidating because there are more dried chilli peppers on the plate than there are crispy chicken chunks.

The dish is very fragrant and tasty, but is spicy enough to feel like someone just filled your mouth with pepper spray.

The lingering numbing sensation, however, did not stop us from having second helpings.

 

Deep-Fried Crispy Grouper Fish Fillet with Sweet and Sour Sauce is interestingly different.
Deep-fried Crispy Grouper Fish Fillet with Sweet and Sour Sauce is interestingly different.

 

Also on the menu is one of the most popular Sichuan dishes, Mapo Tofu. The dish commonly has its spice levels toned down in most restaurants worldwide, negating its characteristic fiery red colour, but we tried it at its original spice levels.

The dish is fragrant and the tofu (beancurd) is quite soft and smooth. The oily sauce is not as spicy as the last dish and it has a delicious umami flavour.

The desserts on the menu are aesthetically pleasing, especially the adorable Panda Shaped Bun, created in honour of the giant panda whose home is in Sichuan.

The bun is made of glutinous rice and filled with buttercream and strawberries. The slightly sticky texture is similar to Japanese mochi but not as chewy.

The cooling Rice Jelly with Nuts is also a great way to cool your mouth after a fiery meal.

Tan (left) and Ren from Dorsett Grand Chengdu will cook up their best spicy Sichuan dishes for the promotion. — Photos: CHAN TAK KONG/The Star
The adorable Panda Shaped Buns are a dessert made of glutinous rice and buttercream, strawberry filling.

The dessert comes with an interesting assortment of nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios and cashews, along with watermelon cubes and raisins.

The Authentically Sichuan promotion is available for la carte or set menu orders.

It is available for the same period at Citra Rasa Restaurant in Dorsett Putrajaya.

If you missed your chance this first round, the Authentically Sichuan promotion will be available at Checkers Cafe, Dorsett Kuala Lumpur from Aug 15 to 21 and at Victoria’s Brasserie, Dorsett Grand Labuan from Aug 23 to 29.

At the same time, Dorsett has started their sale of special mooncakes for the Mid Autumn Festival until Sep 24. Customers who place orders before Sep 8 are entitled to a 15% discount.

In addition to their varieties of baked mooncakes, Dorsett has special Crystal Skin Mooncake creations, featuring skin-infused flavours such as dragon fruit, blue pea flower (bunga telang) and pandan.

Some have durian-flavoured fillings. The mooncakes are priced between RM26 and RM35++ and available at Dorsett Grand Subang, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, as well as Silka Maytower and Silka Cheras.

Tan (left) and Ren from Dorsett Grand Chengdu will cook up their best spicy Sichuan dishes for the promotion.
Tan (left) and Ren from Dorsett Grand Chengdu will cook up their best spicy Sichuan dishes for the promotion. —Photos: CHAN TAK KONG/The Star

THE EMPEROR CHINESE RESTAURANT, Dorsett Grand Subang, Jalan SS12/1, Subang Jaya. (Tel: 03-5031 6060 / www.dorsetthotels.com) Business hours: Noon to 2.30pm from Monday to Saturday, 10.30am to 2.30pm on Sunday and public holidays, 6pm to 10pm, daily.

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement of StarMetro.

   

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