Photograph courtesy twitter.com/Chengdutaste
The San Gabriel Valley is filled with magnificent Szechuan cooking. Entire coalitions of restaurants specialize in slippery dandan noodles and fried chicken cubes buried in diced chili peppers. Why, then, does no one blink an eye when they have to wait hours for a table at Chengdu Taste? Perhaps it’s because of the creeping heat of “water-boiled” fish with pickled green peppers that tantalizes rather than obliterates, or the poppable nubs of cumin-rubbed mutton individually skewered with toothpicks. Most likely, however, they’re waiting to experience the electricity of Szechuan chili oil in a bowl of innocuous-looking wontons. Your tongue will be numb for at least a minute—when feeling returns is when addiction sets in.