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Szechuan Delights @ Zhi Wei Yuan

One of my faves has to be spicy food and a weekly fix is needed. rather than just limiting ourselves to Indian or Malay food, we sometimes explore even the Chinese spicy food. One of my fave ones is Zhi Wei Yuan in Jalan Imbi, downtown Kuala Lumpur that serves authentic Szechuan food.

Undoubtedly one of the more interesting spicy (and pungent) food is actually Sichuan or Szechuan with its use of pepper, garlic and ginger. Note that the pepper mentioned is not the regular peppers that we are accustomed too. The Szechuan peppers also known as flower pepper 花椒 (huājiāo) has a numbing effect rather than "hot or spicy". And with any good Szechuan meal, one must always have some tea on standby. Our option that night was chinese tea and of course Wong Lo Kat.
Chrysanthemum tea to cool the body after some fiery Szechuan noms. 
 A nice cold and sweet herbal tea Wong Lo Kat works quite well too as I learnt during this meal and also during my trip to Nanning recently.

Before we start on the dishes, I need to correct a misconception that all Szechuan food are spicy! In fact there are some non spicy ones that even young kids will love.

We didn't want to shock our stomachs, so we opted to start our meal with Sichuan Style Braised Fish Fillet with Beancurd RM 38 (Small) / RM 48 (Big). A lovely soupy dish with tender fish fillet and soft tofu. A comfort dish considering the fact that we had our dinner on a very wet Friday night. 

Alternating our tastebuds with different flavours, we move on to a slightly spicier dish Sichuan Style Fried Prawn with Spicy Sauce (dependant on market price for prawns). It may look menacing but this was a tad mild for me. Nevertheless you can order it spicier as kitchen will gladly cook to your preference. Spiciness for this dish is evident from the lil bits of ginger and garlic.

The Fried Spareribs with Sweet and Sour Sauce RM 28 is one of the best fried spareribs that I have tasted. Slightly sweet and vinegar tangy pieces of tender spareribs with sesame for that added bite and flavour. Yummy and a perfect dish to tame the fiery tongue if necessary. 

Most places serve the following dish with cubed chicken meat. Zhi Wei Yuan serves the Chongqing Stir Fried Chicken with Dried Chilli RM 35 with its bones intact. What you get is little bites of meat and somehow meat attached to bones actually have a "sweeter" meat flavour to it. Lots of ginger, onion and dried chili for that slightly spicy and tongue numbing fun. Lovely with beer (but we opted to be alcohol free that night). 

Time to relax the tongue with another non spicy dish. This simple looking Sauteed Hand Ripped Cabbage RM 12 may look like your regular cabbage stir fry but its made extra tasty with a dash of vinegar. 

The Xinjiang Boiled Lamb Cutlets RM 38 is a must for lamb lovers. Even those who don't like lamb for its gamey taste will probably fall in love with this dish. Lamb from a certain part of the ribs can only be prepared in this method of boiling the said cutlet without any seasoning or salt for this delicacy. the cutlet is tender and good enough to be eaten on its own or even dipped into the spicy sauce made of chili, onion and 花椒 (huājiāo).
Just a simple dish of boiled lamb rib with zero salt or oil or condiments? Its a special part of the rib rather than the whole rib!
A dip for some tongue numbing action is optional though highly recommended.

Potatoes are quite commonly used for Szechuan dishes. Instead of the usual stir fry with some vinegar, we opted for a very decadent Sauteed Shredded Potato with Salted Egg Yolk RM 15 with every strand of the julienned potato throughly coated with creamy salted egg yolk.

And to continue the spicy adventure, we move on to a higher level of spiciness and perhaps even mind numbing. Dry Braised Spicy Edible Frog RM 30 is a perfect dish to go with a bowl of white rice (and yes I did not resist the bowl of rice).  Tender pieces of frog that taste like extra tender chicken (for the uninitiated)  with lots of dried chili, onions, ginger and magical 花椒 (huājiāo). Spicy and it numbs your tongue but you just can't resist another piece!

And because it was a rainy Friday evening, our appetites were working extra hard. So we ordered the Sichuan Hot Pot – Spicy Fish RM 108 which is normally eaten as a dish on its own for 2 to 3 persons. this Hot Pot is also available in chicken or edible frog. It is served with homemade flat noodles (a little similar to our hand pulled pan mee) and 2 condiments of your choice. We had tofu and enoki mushroom.
Piping hot and still boiling with lots of pepper and chili...this is mind numbing on its own.
 Looks spicy and taste spicy...and you can always take it a notch higher in terms of spiciness!
 Looks like sesame seed oil? Heck no! This is the magical pepper oil that numbs your senses. Lovely!
Mix some chili oil, pepper oil, garlic, cilantro and spring onion. Dip your flat noodles or condiments in to the "magic" dip for that extra kick. Make sure you have your Wong Lo Kat or drink beside you!

Too much spicy food in the tummy requires some sweet dessert to calm the system. One of my all time fave Chinese dessert is the Glutinous Rice Balls in Sweet Rice Wine Soup RM5 (Small) / RM18 (Big). Served hot or cold, its a sweet and comforting with chewy rice balls and some bite from the rice used to make the wine.

Head over to Zhi Wei Yuan for some alternative spicy food!
No 126–28 Jalan Imbi
Kuala Lumpur
T: +603 2145 1211
Landmark: Opposite Sakura

If you read Chinese, then you can read "Zhi Wei Yuan"
There is valet service available in case you can't find parking!

Before you head over to Zhi Wei Yuan, visit  www.moola.my to download your Moola app for Apple, Blackberry and Android. All Moola Frenz enjoy 10% cash back of your purchases at Moola partners including Zhi Wei Yuan. Quite a good deal right?



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More pics in the album Zhi Wei Yuan @ Jalan Imbi