Related News

Home » Feature » iDEAL

Hottest new Sichuan eatery in Plaza 66

PIN Chuan has been the epitome of authentic Sichuan cuisine since it joined the Shanghai dining scene in 2002. It stands out from the crowd for three reasons - a pleasant environment, creative and authentic Sichuan cuisine and very attentive service.

Pin Chuan's newest incarnation is on the fifth floor of Plaza 66. The original Pin Chuan is on Taojiang Road in the former French Concession.

The new Pin Chuan is roomy, with seating for 150 and six private rooms. The subdued ambient lighting adds to the romantic, intimate mood.

Pin Chuan's perennial favorites are: Mouth-Watering Chicken, Belly Pork Slices and Shredded Beef with Chilies and Onions in Oil with Hot Stone, among others, joined by new dishes such as Cod Fish in Dry Pot style and Braised Abalone with Rice Cakes.

With a sprawling list of Sichuan flavors on the menu, deciding what to order was a challenge before we moved to the drinks menu.

Though a bottle of icy beer has been my all-time favorite along with spicy food, I wanted to challenge myself and try wine this time. Choosing the appropriate wine can be a challenge for any Sichuan food lover, because the cuisine's deliciously unique, full-flavored complexity makes it notoriously difficult to pair. The heat too poses problems for wine selection.

Choosing full-bodied wines with high alcohol content would exacerbate the heat in the mouth and could clash with the dishes. Thus, most people would go for white wines or light reds but I ordered a glass of Champagne to complement the strong-flavored cuisine and help cut the heaviness.

Sichuan cuisine's profusion of tastes and textures is the most extensive in China, yet the first thing that strikes us is the chili. Most of the dishes come heaped with dried chili pods and Sichuan peppercorns to impart flavor and make for exciting tastes. But the cuisine not only emphasizes spice. In Sichuan cooking there are 24 compound flavor categories and more than 50 cooking methods.

And because not everyone wants mouth-searing dishes, the Sichuan chefs prepare authentic dishes in a range of flavors to suit all palates, from mildly spicy to extremely hot. The fare ranges form rich and heavy to light.

I started with the cold dishes Sichuan Bean Noodle Salad (25 yuan) and Mouth Watering Chicken (45 yuan). Both the noodles and cold poached chicken were served in a fiery, numbing red chili sauce, a delight for the eyes and the palates of those who like it hot.

To soothe the sensation of heat, I sipped refreshing Champagne and it worked well because the high acidity and fruity sweetness created more sensations on the palate.

Next came main dishes - Crispy Chicken with Chilies and Peppercorns (75 yuan), Shredded Beef (69 yuan), Steamed Pork with Bread Crumbs in Lotus Leaf (65 yuan), and Cod Fish Dry Pot style (179 yuan). After tasting the spicy chicken and beef, the steamed pork covered by bread crumbs was a soothing relief. The steamed pork, mixed with pumpkins and peas, tasted refreshing, delicious, slightly sweet and sour.

Most of the dishes I had were delicately prepared in line with Sichuan standards, but Cod Fish Dry Pot style was a new creation by the chef. Usually a dry pot style dish is a bit oily, but this dish was even more enjoyable in a lighter version. The soft fish was divinely addictive with its mild, delicious taste.

The restaurant has launched Express Lunch Sets priced at only 38 yuan for nearby office workers, who must order before 11am. (hotline: 6288-8897)

Opening hours: 10am-10pm

Address: Fl 5, Plaza 66, 1266 Nanjing Rd W.

Tel: 6288-8897


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend