Classical Dishes Not Made Easy
By Chengdu Panda Asian Food Festival

Quality Department Proposes Standards for Sichuan Cuisine

Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision recently published a document on the standards for cooking 12 classical dishes, which is viewed as an initiative step towards standardized production of Sichuan cuisine that enjoys great popularity all over the world.
The dishes listed in the document include the famous Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐, spicy bean curd with minced beef), Fish-flavored Shredded Pork (鱼香肉丝), Sliced Meat in Boiling Spicy Soup (水煮肉片) and Huiguorou (回锅肉, twice-cooked pork).
Sichuan Cuisine emphasizes on the selection and use of ingredients and seasonings, as well as cutting techniques and temperature. The same dish would taste very different if cooked differently, even with a slight change in temperature or the amount of seasonings.

And now let's have a look at some of the standards as detailed in the document for cooking five classical Sichuan dishes:

Sliced Meat in Boiling Spicy Soup (水煮肉片)
  • The dish must be cooked with Pixian Douban (spicy fermented broad bean paste) ― the "Soul of Sichuan Cuisine"― or it will be otherwise be regarded as not authentic.
  • Pixian Douban is the essential seasoning that is widely used for cooking most Sichuan dishes, such as those with tofu and fish.
Recommended restaurant:
Chen Mapo Tofu
Add: #197 West Yulong St, Luomashi

Mapo Tofu
  • The tofu (bean curd) used in the dish should be made in the traditional way, i.e. congealed in the brine with edible gypsum.
  • The dish must be thickened with water starch 2-3 times until the gravy reaches the desired thickness. Don't break the tofu cubes while cooking.
  • The dish is noted for being hot, spicy, fresh, tender and aromatic.
Recommended restaurant:
Mingting Restaurant
Add: #26-16 Outer Caojia Alley

Fish-flavored Shredded Pork
  • The fat/lean ratio of the pork selected to make this dish must be 2:8, and the pork must be cut into pieces that are 10cm long, 0.3cm wide and 0.3cm high.
Recommended restaurant:
Pickled Halogen Branch (Pansunshi)
Add: #62-64 Huaxing St., Jinjiang District

Sliced Chicken with Chili Sauce (cold dish)
  • The meat selected to make this dish must be from a rooster about one year of age, to ensure the succulence and tenderness.
  • The dish must be served at the room temperature.
Recommended restaurant:
Chengdu Yinxiang
Add: #16 Narrow Alley, Wide and Narrow Alley

Huiguorou
  • Stir fry the pork slices in smoking hot oil until it's nicely brown and become curly. Don't overcook (overcooked pork looks deep brown and tastes a bit too hard, while unduly cooked pork is too soft and tastes fatty).
  • Tianmianjiang (sweet flour paste) must be applied to the dish when it's stir-fried above low flame.
  • It is recommended that the dish must be consumed within 10 minutes after it is cooked.
Recommended restaurant:
Shijing Shenghuo
Add: #8 Jing Alley, Wide and Narrow Alley