Welcome to the land of “flower pepper” and “facing-heaven” chilies.

The two make up Sichuan’s spice signature, with the Sichuan “flower pepper” adding a mouth- and tongue-numbing feeling and the long, red, dried “facing-heaven” chilies adding heat.

Sichuan cuisine has a dry, numbing heat, which helps balance the body’s constitution against the dampness of the region. But it also offers an adventurous culinary experience full of bold flavors.

Sichuan Dishes You Should Try

1. Chong Qing spicy dry chicken: Small morsels of tender dark-meat chicken arrive, with golden slivers of garlic, sesame seeds, and a mass of glistening dried red chilies.

Chong Qing spicy dry chicken
Chong Qing spicy dry chicken

2. Mapo Tofu: A traditional Sichuan dish. It has a numbing sensation when you eat it. It’s spicy, hot and savory — with an amazing recipe!

3. Fish soup: The surface is covered with red chilies. The dark brown broth is flecked with orange-colored oil. Just beneath are bean sprouts, cabbage, and pieces of tilapia, and again, ubiquitous bits of Sichuan pepper.

Fish soup, festooned with chilies on top. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Fish soup, festooned with chilies on top. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Where to Try Sichuan Cuisine in NYC: Famous Sichuan

Famous Sichuan, on Pell Street in Chinatown, provides a gateway into the culinary world of Sichuan. There, four chefs from Sichuan, each with more than 30 years of cooking experience, ply their trade.

In winter, much of the business revolves around Sichuan hot pot, the highly social dish where diners dunk in pieces of meat, seafood, or vegetable into boiling broth, which is mild or spicy—or both, with a convenient split hot pot.

But there are also other Sichuan specialties well worth trying, which are marked by their complex cooking techniques

For the full review, click here.