Bold, Authentic, and Spicy Regional Chinese at Little Sichuan

15 Jul

The décor at Little Sichuan Cuisine is as bland as it gets. Beige tile, neutral walls, and fluorescent lighting. The food, however, is anything but boring.

If you come to Little Sichuan for an order of your neighborhood Eggrolls R Us or Wok ‘N Roll’s General Tsao’s chicken, you’re in for a surprise. This no frills, clean and simple, establishment fits better as a neighborhood eatery in suburban Chengdu than suburban Dallas. It’s a spicy food lover’s heaven with authentic regional dishes liberally covered in Sichuan peppercorns and chilies. At Little Sichuan, like at so many successful mom and pop restaurants all over China, the focus is on food. Forget the décor, your taste buds will be so busy processing the bold flavors of the hot-out-of-the-wok dishes that you won’t care if the walls are ecru, khaki, or nonexistent.

For those new to Sichuan cuisine, a good place to start is the mapo tofu dish that embraces many of the typical traits of Sichuan food.

A dish of silken tofu and minced beef stewed in a fiery red, oily sauce, mapo tofu evinces two key characteristics of any Sichuan dish, “ma,” or numbing, and “la,” or spicy. The numbing characteristic comes from use of the Sichuan peppercorn, banned from importation into the US until 2005. These little numbing peppercorns amplify the burning sensation caused by the chilies, driving the diner into a state of fiery euphoria (or pain, depending on your tolerance). Frightened? Don’t worry, at Little Sichuan, dishes can be specified to be milder or spicier pending your preference.

Other solid Sichuan specialties at Little Sichuan include the water boiled sliced beef (don’t be fooled by the name, the final step in the dish’s preparation involves pouring boiling chili oil over the beef), twice cooked pork (a dish with a unique boil first, then shallow fry preparation process whose end product can be best described as spicy Chinese bacon),

dry sautéed beef (stir fried with chilies for an extended period of time to achieve a crispy on the outside, chewey on the inside, distinctive texture),

and dan dan noodles (soft noodles covered in a sauce of Sichuan preserved vegetables, ground pork, and of course, chilies and peppercorns).

For some relief from all the heat, Little Sichuan also serves up great non-spicy dishes like bright emerald green garlic water spinach

and beautifully glazed sweet and sour eggplant.

Hungry yet?

Entrees: $7-$12

Rating: 5 / 5

Little Sichuan Cuisine
240 Legacy Dr.
Plano, TX 75023

This review is to appear in edited form in the upcoming book, the Fearless Critic Dallas Restaurant Guide. The book will be released in 2009 at bookstores and on Amazon.com. For more information about the book, please contact Fearless Critic Media.

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7 Responses to “Bold, Authentic, and Spicy Regional Chinese at Little Sichuan”

  1. Scott 07/16/2008 at 5:23 pm #

    5/5? Nice. Sounds like it’s worth a visit.

    Speaking of Sichuan, have you ever been to Tong’s House in Richardson? I’d be curious to hear how it stacks up against other Sichuan you’ve had around Dallas.

  2. donnaaries 07/16/2008 at 6:27 pm #

    I actually haven’t. I remember a few recs for Tong’s a couple of years ago but since then it’s slipped off my radar. This is a good reminder for me to check it out next time I’m in the area.

  3. luniz 07/18/2008 at 1:16 pm #

    nice review! hey they’ve spruced up the place a bit the past couple weeks too. the owner’s daughter is waiting tables this summer, she’s made me a couple of good suggestions although i think her preference is more towards meat and away from veggies.

  4. FatCap 07/18/2008 at 3:20 pm #

    Dang, luniz, you’ve mentioned the owner’s daughter on two different blogs now…and you’ve asked advice on how to make a great dofu dish, but not the Sichuan staple (and therefore too pedestrian) ma po dofu…should I connect the dots? 😉

  5. luniz 07/18/2008 at 3:39 pm #

    lol she seems like a fun girl but an old man like me can’t chase after a coed now can i 🙂

  6. Margie 07/18/2008 at 5:52 pm #

    Looks really good. And I was just trying to decide what to have for dinner…

  7. michelle 07/21/2008 at 7:41 pm #

    the food looks so flavorful! and 5/5? i’m sold! 🙂

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