You may agree that spicy Sichuan food is alluring, but do you expect more? Traveling to Southwest China’s Sichuan province - the home of Sichuan cuisine, your perspectives will get fresh air. To step inside the truth, Chengdu - the capital of Sichuan is a destination to surf.
Sichuan cuisine finally came to the time when it is highly appreciated. More and more chefs stimulate the culinary scene in Chengdu. For example, top chef André Chiang set foot in Chengdu with a brand new concept of creative Sichuan food at The Bridge restaurant, after closing Restaurant André listed in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Chef Chiang boosts the movement of fine Sichuan cuisine. No matter contemporary inspirations, or traditional quintessence, local young chefs are inspired to move Sichuan cuisine forward. Let’s meet some of them.
After training as a professional chef in Australia over a decade, chef Albert Li came back to Chengdu and founded the contemporary Sichuan restaurant in 2017. Chef Li made a splash soon after figuring out the reasons why and what he created. “My best way to interpret Sichuan cuisine is to associate western culinary art with Chinese ancient philosophy,” The 33-year old Chef Li indicated that Chinese ancient wisdom unleashed himself.
Yin and Yang are essential to Chinese philosophy symbolizing that everything has two sides, so do ingredient. Where it comes to The Seasons, Chef Li encourages to discover the unknowns. “Learn to forget what we have known,” as he asked, “why can’t banana be paired with Sichuan duck ? ” However, it will work only when you can understand the science and culture within in it. According to the discipline of 24 flavors in Sichuan cuisine, chef Li made banana into strange flavor matching with the aging duck.
Chef Li is the first-ever chef to persistent in the concept “from farm to table” in Sichuan. Not only does he set up a small farm to grow seasonal vegetables, but also he cooperates with organic farms to get the best ingredients.
The founder is an experienced teacher of Sichuan culinary arts at Sichuan Tourism University, so does the 32-year old chef Xing Qiao. The academic background ensures Leaf Kitchen to be at the leading edge of Sichuan cuisine’s development. “Frequent international exchanges and cooperations develop global mindset,” chef Qiao shared an example of winning the gold award during the 8th World Champion of Chinese Cuisine in Amsterdam in 2016 as they tweaked the classic Sichuan chicken with global touch.
Chef Qiao and his team try to challenge the tradition of 24 flavors. “What would it be when two of the flavors mixed together? What are the extra flavors for the future? ” Chef Qiao explained that experimental projects can be accessed, “if you think hot and spicy are not enough, why don’t you add sweet and sour?”. Although classic is trustworthy, it is alive. In addition, they embrace science and new technology into the culinary art, such as multi-functional oven.
SONG YUN ZE
When The Seasons and Leaf Kitchen think out of the box, Song Yun Ze is taking effort to reborn Sichuan culinary legacy in style of consistency. Following the founder Yuanfu Zhang’s mission to discover the forgotten local gastronomy, the young chef Yongchao Su dedicates himself to make it come true. Therefore, the restaurant is the only place where you can immerse in the flavors of glory age in Chengdu.
Nothing is better than banquet dining to deliver the traditional Sichuan food culture. Over 20 different kinds of dishes are served on a round table from appetizers to dessert chronologically. Because traditional culinary art highlights condition of sole in each dish, so it means that every single dish can be totally different from others, whatever ingredients or flavors. For example, steamed Chinese cabbage in supreme soup tastes very refreshing rather than spicy.
“There are many more than spicy flavors,” chef Su clarified that it takes time to prepare all the dishes, “the biggest challenge is I haven’t seen or know the lost dishes.”
Geranium's Rasmus Kofoed has decided to stop serving meat at the restaurant currently ranked number two on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list. But the Danish chef isn't yet willing to go purely plant-based.