Sichuan restaurant's mission to spice up your life
Sichuan-born Roy Yang is intent on spicing up the lives of Shanghai diners.
The restaurateur, originally from Zigong, has returned to the metropolis from Sichuan with an abundance of colorful flavors to add some spice to a new spot on Zhaohua Road.
Yang, who also owns the Spicy Lounge on Taicang Road, has added some more seasoning to the Light River Sichuan, a neighborhood restaurant offering more authentic traditional tastes from the province. The location may be a little low-key, compared to his previous outposts in the flashy Xintiandi area, but Yang’s mission remains the same.
“This time, I changed my strategy. I found local diners are fond of more intimate, small-scale eateries with a stronger concept these days,” he said.
Light River Sichuan returned to basics and took the cuisine back to its roots — authentic old-school cooking without tweaking to suit local palates.
Modern Sichuan chefs prefer a more avant-garde style but Yang went back to his native city, brought back a chef who sticks to the old-school culinary style.
“Sichuan food is often misconstrued. It is often deemed as only poor-quality ingredients or insufficient skill that has the food smothered in an excess of spice,” Yang said. “True Sichuan should be nuanced and layered. It is the depth of flavor that’s evident alongside the spice.”
rmula — bringing all the region’s traditional ingredients to the table.
Sichuan has its own school of pickling principles, therefore getting the right pickles used in Sichuan dishes is essential, insists Yang. Plates here include the most well-known dishes in the Sichuan repertoire, such as specialties from Chengdu, Zigong and Chongqing.
Take the cold dishes. The boiled pork with garlic sauce has universal appeal. The skin, fat and lean meat of each pork slice, when mixed in a garlic sauce, offers a full spectrum of meaty flavors and textures for an authentic Sichuan taste.
You will also find several stir-fried dishes on the menu. For example, the stir-fried eel with spicy sauce is perfectly executed, with an aroma of ginger and spring onions.
It is recommended to eat immediately after they serve the plate so you can feel “the breath of the wok,” a complex, charred, savory aroma given to dishes stir-fried at a high heat.
Deep-fried diced chicken with chilies is a famous century-old Chongqing specialty inside a small eatery near the city’s hilly forest park Geleshan. It is another popular dish worth a try.
Opening hours: 11am-2pm, 4:30pm-10pm
Address: 238 Zhaohua Rd
Average price: 120 yuan