It had been a long while since we had Sichuan food. The last time was at Mr Zhang. It was a good meal at Mr Zhang and we enjoyed it a lot. A few people did go after I published that post but some ended up very disappointed with Mr Zhang. There you go … taste are so subjective, isn’t it?
Anyway, in that post on Mr Zhang, Alleycat left a comment recommending a Sichuan restaurant called the Szechuan House Restaurant. Alleycat, who came from Sichuan, vouched that it is authentic compared to many other Sichuan restaurants in Vancouver.
That, coming from a Sichuanese, I had to check out.
The Szechuan House Restaurant is located on Imperial at the intersection with Sussex in Burnaby. This is on a small strip mall of seven businesses only with nothing else but residential units within that whole block.
Because of the relative quietness of this area, parking is readily available on the street.
Szechuan House is very much a hole-in-the-wall. It is a simple no-frills setup.
As we walked past the other tables, we noticed that everyone had the Boiled Sliced Fish just like what Lissa said she had. So we already know one of the dishes we wanted to order.
Service? Well, it did not get to a good start. I did not want to go over the menu and instead wanted to ask the waitress about the menu on the board. I mean, I am sure those dishes are worth ordering and all.
So I asked the jeh-jeh what those dishes are and if she could translate that to me explaining that I can’t read Chinese. She just said they are specials!
I know they are specials … but what is it?
I think she did not know how to translate the dishes or she was not keen to do that. So we left it at that. She does have a glum look. So, yeah, the service is not good.
So instead, we turned our attention to their menu instead. I can’t get any help from the waitress who I don’t like already.
Grudgingly I must say that their menu is very interesting. Just look at the first page where they lists the “New To The Menu” dishes. Don’t you want to order them all? I did!
And the on the 2nd page above, there is the “Chef’s Special” … and that too we want to order them all.
I hate the service but I love the menu. Actually, I meant I don’t like the waitress.
This is it … the dish that every table ordered. When they served this, I can immediately see why this is such a hit.
This is their specialty and it is called the Szechuan style Boiled Sliced Fish on the menu. It is not cheap at all. This one is …
$19 which is a regular sized one. The “extra larger” one which is served “in full dry chili oil” is a whopping $30.
They served this in a way I had not come across before. It is like an action dish. It came with the oil still boiling and bubbling. Right in front of us, they then scooped the dry chili out leaving enough behind. It was a lot that was scooped out which was a large bowl.
And they took the bowl of dry chili away! On one hand I was thinking it was such a waste taking that away and then on the other hand I was wondering what they were going to do with so much chili.
Throw it away? I sure hope so!
Actually I was kind of worried that they recycle the chili. You reckon?
That nasty thought aside, the food was terrific. The oil does keep the dish hot a lot longer. This dish you want to eat hot. When it’s cold, it’s not good.
There were quite a lot of fish and the fish was fresh tasting and springy. The lovely thing is that you can’t avoid the numbing Sichuan peppercorn. They are everywhere and sticks to the fish which makes it such a joy to eat.
At the bottom of the bowl is a bed of soy bean sprout which was equally as good.
This dish was our favourite. Suanne, Arkensen and Nanzaro all love it. I can see why all the tables ordered this dish despite the $19 price tag.
This was actually the first item served, ahead of the fish dish, and is considered an appetizer item. What is the proper way to eat this? Do the Sichuanese people eat this just by itself like an appetizer or do they have this with rice.
We always have this with rice. The “jhup” is just too good not to have rice.
Anyway, I don’t know if you noticed that the dish is chipped on the picture above (right side). I don’t care but Suanne said we should mention it.
It has a noticeable saltiness to the “jhup” and so it’s better to have it with rice.
I still don’t like the waitress but this one is mouth watering.
To the uninitiated, this dish above is shocking. Look at the all the dried chili!
This is called the House Special Deep Fried Chicken with Dried Chili ($16) and I think this is also known as the La Zi Ji.
Very fragrant. We can smell the fried chili. Suanne said she doesn’t get this dish at all because it is so expensive and there are more chili than chicken. But to the boys in the family, we all like it.
Hey you are not supposed to eat the chili but there is nothing to prevent you from doing so. Yeah, I do eat a few of the chili … and then suffer the consequence of plumbing problems the next days.
The chicken pieces are really small. They are very very deep fried. They are so deep fried that some of the bones are so brittle and can be eaten. It is awesome. But for $16, it is not cheap, right?
[vimeo 18346387 w=601 h=451]
Here … take a look at Nanzaro hunting for the last remaining pieces of chicken meat.
Oh … yeah. I was also wondering what they did with the remaining fried chilis. There were a lot left and I wonder if they recycle this too. I mean, it is a lot to throw away isn’t it?
Anyway, we asked for the chili packed to go. They are great to do a quick dish at home (like Nanzaro will make fried rice with this!).
The Mapo Tofu (Minced Pork on top) is $12. This is a small serving and is done a bit different from what we are used to see. This looked authentic in that they have powdered Sichuan peppercorn sprinkled on top.
Taste wise, it is not something we like. It is because the peppercorn leaves a distinct taste of bitterness.
Their prices are on the high side. The waitress and I don’t get along but otherwise the food is commendable.
Since this is near my office, I could drive over easily for lunch. Anyway, this restaurant accepts only cash or debit cards.