Thursday 12 November 2015

China Kitchen - Szechuan Cuisine. Shangri-La Hotel

I've always thought Chinese food at Shangri-La Hotel is excellent (as it should be!). At the beginning of last year, I did a review on the then called Shang Garden. Their Chinese restaurant is now called China Kitchen, and also serves Szechuan food.

Szechuan food! I was very excited when I received a promotional email about this around May of this year. I suddenly thought of the amazing dishes that I've had in China with the super intense flavours and spiciness, and at the same time, the mouth numbing / tingly sensation from the szechuan peppercorns. Ah... I was in heaven. 

I have been to China Kitchen a couple of times since May and each time, the food has been wonderful. I didn't do a review then as I was with a client and it was hardly appropriate to take out the camera to take food photos while we were discussing property deals in Chiang Mai!

I remember though, on my first visit, what really stood out for me was the Fried Bitter Gourd with Egg White and Shrimps (110 baht). These were like soft and fluffy pancakes. So good!

Recently, China Kitchen launched a new seafood menu and invited me to come to try it, and I must say, I was quite impressed looking at the menu of various seafoods, and the prices seemed quite reasonable too. Prices range from around 190 baht for the Steamed Green Shell Mussels with Black Bean Sauce to 680 baht for the Mapo Lobster in Szechuan Style.

The Mapo Lobster was lovely, and quite impressively presented with the lobster meat (from the body) being used in the mapo tofu. The lobster meat was sweet and firm in the "sauce" of tofu squares (lovely and silky in texture) and a bit of bean paste, which adds another dimension to the flavour of the dish. BTW, the lobster "body" is not there just for decoration! I really enjoyed digging out the meat from the lobster claws (which had been deep fried with a thin, salty batter).

Incidentally, the szechuan dishes here are actually quite mild compared to what I've had in China. This is probably a good thing because we can eat more of it, and also means that you can taste more of the food!

Another szechuan dish that I love is the Boiled Fish Szechuan Style. 320 baht. Although I love it, I must say that when I ordered it in China, I usually end up as the only person eating it! I think this might be because there, we get the whole fish, and I guess my friends found it troublesome to pick out the bones...or may be they were afraid it's going to be too spicy looking at the layer of chilli oil on top!

At China Kitchen, fish fillet is used, so it's very easy to eat. The chilli oil "soup" is delicious on rice and is also quite spicy. I quite enjoyed the almost creamy consistency of the "soup".

... And having all these spicy food, it's a good idea to order some cool veggies to munch on while you take a break. The Crisp Lettuce with Sesame Paste. 110 baht. The cool, crisp lettuce was a great accompaniment to the meal (especially when we needed a break from all the other spicy dishes!).

Last but not least... another favourite Szechuan dish - Crispy Chicken with Dried Chilli. 90 baht. The chicken pieces were beautifully fried, with deep salty flavour and also crispy skin. There's also some peanut to add a bit of a crunch to the dish.

So, if you're game to try some szechuan dishes, China Kitchen is a good choice. The food is excellent and prices not too bad. They do have some non-spicy dishes too. The staff are all very friendly.

China Kitchen
Shangri-La Hotel
Lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm
Dinner: 6:00pm-10:00pm
Closed on Mondays

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