Location: 5807 Rosemead Blvd. Temple City, CA 91780. (626) 677-6667
Date: October 21, 2014
Cuisine: Szechuan Chinese
Rating: Great flavors, not ultra hot
I love me some Szechuan, and surprisingly, so do a lot of others because Szechuan places have become all the rage lately.
Chuan’s is the latest Chinese chain to open a Southern California output, like Meizhou Dongpo in the Century City Mall.
The menu is super glitzy with big clear pictures of every dish (oh so helpful!).
Chuan’s doesn’t offer liquor yet, and we couldn’t bring ours in really either. But they did have this (non-alcoholic) Sour Plum Juice that was quite delicious. It had a smokey rich flavor. Really smokey.
Chopped Chicken with Fresh Peppercorns. The menu version had a lot more peppercorns. This is always a good dish, and this example was no exception. There was the “boney chicken bits” problem, but, hey, this is authentic Chinese food. It wasn’t that hot.
Chengdu Sour and Spicy Vermicelli. A bit more flavor than the Dan Dan, but still maybe a little bland.
Chili slathered Pork Dumplings. These were great. Better than Chengdu Taste, not as good as this mall food (lol).
Ma Po Tofu. A delicious take on the classic. This version had a nice tang, great texture, and a bit of heat. It didn’t really have enough peppercorn numbness for my taste, but it was still probably the dish of the night.
Special Seafood Dry Hot Pot. Like a Wuhan dish, a mix of dry hot shrimp, potatoes, veggies, fish balls, and the like.
Overall, Chuan’s was extremely tasty. The service was great, and they seemed to use fairly high quality ingredients, on par with Szechuan Impression and better than at Chengdu Taste. The flavors were good too and there is a lot of variety on the menu. But it isn’t that spicy. Really, afterward I was thinking it was about right because the through the night burn was fairly mild, but during, I missed that searing/numbing heat that is found at the hottest examples of Szechuan cuisine. Most dishes were well executed. Almost no bombs. Weakest probably was the fish filets, dan dan, and maybe the duck (a lot of others liked the duck), but there were a lot of very strong dishes too: Ma Po Tofu, dumplings, pork, Lobster.