Mark Hiew (more chengdu)|
There are certain things that people who have lived in Sichuan for a while ought to try. Rabbit head is one of them. Now, as your faithful guide, we consider it our duty to bring you all the richness and diversity of this region’s most colorful cuisine. So consider it an act of devoted self-sacrifice when we visited this local rabbit head specialist. Well, it would have been had we been able to order the rabbit’s head, but the fates were against us the evening we went, and it’s not like you were going to order it anyway, so here are some highlights of things you might actually get.
Zhi er gan (6RMB). This appetizer’s minty, zesty, spicy sauce has a bigger kick than most, and oh boy, loyal reader…did we feel it in our throats! Other house specialties include the dry pots, “gan guo,” (40-60RMB) and boiled pots, “shui zhu,” (40-60RMB), which are heavy on the frog, snail and shelled creatures, making them ideal for the more adventurous culinary explorer.
For us, the lao ma shao chao rou (18RMB), was a delight with its thin slices of fatty pork submerged amongst red and green peppers. It was recommended by the hostess as “not spicy” and proved, despite our suspicions, to be reasonably (by Sichuanese standards) mild, though its savory, crispy flavors were most certainly not without heat.
A welcome break from all that pepper are the pancakes or ruan pazi (8RMB) which are thin, soft, and studded with chives.
Old Maid also carries all the classics such as mapo tofu (10RMB), twice-cooked pork (15RMB), and with cubed rabbit and wok-fried mushroom mains starting at 28RMB, it offers great value. It’s also extremely popular with locals. This place filled up very quickly on our evening visit. The wood paneled ceiling and cute “mini-house” lanterns create a dark, though not uninviting atmosphere. One supported by its spotless upkeep and gregarious, youthful army of a wait staff.
With locations throughout the city, consider Old Maid’s the next time you’re hankering for some rabbit head and frog. Or, and we won’t think any less of you, some kungpao chicken and mapo tofu.