Alhambra, CA 91803
Jim Thurman Sliced fish in hot sauce at Chengdu Taste
- Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. & 5-10 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
- Lunch, Dinner
- No Alcohol
- Street Parking
The Chengdu Taste empire just keeps growing, with four restaurants now under the same ownership (including noodle house Miàn), all thanks to the public's hunger for this particular brand of spicy, numbing, complex, alluring Sichuan food. We prefer the original Valley Boulevard location, for toothpick lamb bristling with cumin, wontons that have an almost floral undertone (if you can taste anything under the extreme chili oil heat), slick jelly noodles, and water boiled fish with green chilies. You can order a whole pork shank cooked in a deep, sweet braise and slathered with red chilies, or chopped rabbit in Younger Sister's Secret Sauce. What's in that secret sauce? Peanuts, and — you guessed it — chili. Yes, this is a pilgrimage spot for spice masochists, but focusing on that alone takes away from the nuance in this cooking, the layering of flavors that makes this food so much more complex and satisfying than places where heat is the primary characteristic. Expect to wait a long time for a table, expect to order far too many things, expect to fall into a kind of Sichuan peppercorn–induced stupor for the rest of the afternoon or evening. —Besha Rodell
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