|8am - 8pm|
|2/F, Lemon Square A, Sect. 4, 2nd South Ring|
|028 8501 2319 |
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Susan Johnson (more chengdu)|
We’ve noticed a trend over the last few years where some of the most recognized names among Chengdu’s traditional restaurants like Chengdu Impression, Da Rong He, and Lao Fangzi have used their brand to open up trendier casual restaurants with more basic menus for diners who may not be up for several hours of hot pot or full-on, multi-course formal dining. Some of these downscaled places are appealing and some are a tad confusing, but we think that Caigen Kitchen is hitting the right vibe. It’s the newest member in the family of Caigen Xiang, a very well reputed traditional restaurant with several locations in town and is particularly known for its dishes made with pickles and preserves. We dropped in on the Hong Pai Lou branch of Cai Gen Kitchen to check the place out.
They do a very busy lunch, thanks to the many workers from the office towers nearby, and when we walked in the petite hyper efficient hostess tried several times to seat us as we lingered to check out the natural and food preserve themed decor. One of the kitchen staff helped us pick out a few dishes from the check off, all characters menu. He recommended the mao xue wang, probably thinking to help us try a very typical Sichuan dish, but we were not feeling very vampirish and went with other dishes. He recommended the dry cauliflower, a very traditional homestyle fish in bean sauce, and some very spicy beef in pickled pepper and celery.
The fish was steamed nicely and covered with tangy douban sauce that went very well with rice, but should be ordered only by people with patience for small bones. Dry cauliflower is usually something not to miss on Sichuan fall restaurant menus, where it is usually cooked with sausage or local la rou (bacon). Cai Gen Kitchen’s version was fantastic, served with seasoned pork belly and an addictive sauce. The beef, though not advertised as spicy, had lots of tang from the pickled peppers. The check off menu also had a short comment section encouraging customers to speak their heart: Did the food taste good? Were we satisfied with the service? Were the smiles sweet? We checked the ‘yes’ box on all three points and would come back to try more of the menu. Customers can expect to pay RMB50-RMB80 per head.