Saturday, December 20, 2008

Yuxin Sichuan Restaurant

Sichuanese food is well-regarded throughout China, and that includes in Shanghai, where people's tendency is towards bland-ish foods, with the strongest flavors coming from the sugar. Consequently, I think a lot of the Sichuanese Restaurants here get overly localized, and a number of friends from Sichuan or neighboring Chongqing confirm this – Hunanese Restaurants are a better bet, for those looking for a fix of spicy food.

Yuxin Sichuanese was introduced to me as the most authentic Sichuanese Restaurant in Shanghai. While I've never been to Sichuan and can't go into any detailed comparison, it definitely gets spicier than Shanghai's other Sichuanese restaurants, and some dishes have a pronounced ma flavor – it's a peppercorn with a numbing effect on the mouth. Here's one of the spicy dishes, covered in peppers:

It's rabbit, and it's quite good, although it's swimming in oil – which is perfectly authentic Sichuanese. However, I wonder how much the menu has been adjusted to suit local tastes. Really, only a substantial minority of the menu is marked as being spicy, and these sweet fried eels, while excellent, definitely strike me as belonging to Shanghai's cuisine, rather than anything out of Chengdu:

This is an easy restaurant to recommend. Two locations are downtown – one on 333 Chengdu Lu & Weihai Lu, plus a more convenient location on 399 Jiujiang Lu, directly south of the East Nanjing Lu Subway Station. There's also a Pudong Location, on the third floor of a mall on 796 Dongfang Lu. A meal comes to about 100 kuai per person. It's a good idea to make reservations on weekends or Holidays - 6361-1777 is the Jiujiang Lu restaurant's. There's English menus with lots of pictures, and it's a nice if crowded environment, with tables divided off from each other, a professional waiting staff, and tablecloths that start out sparkling white. I wish I had a better picture to demonstrate:

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