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Dining in the lap of Mercedes luxury

Updated: 2016-08-27 09:31
By Dong Fangyu (China Daily)

Dining in the lap of Mercedes luxury

Sanchuan fish-poached fish in Sichuan pepper oil. [Photo by Dong Fangyu/China Daily]

One dish that will no doubt captivate most diners is poached fish in Sichuan pepper oil, also called Sanchuan fish, prepared by the head chef, Song Tingjie, who has been in the trade for 25 years.

Think of the two classic fish dishes Guizhou poached fish in sour soup and Sichuan boiled fish in hot chili oil, and you will find Sanchuan fish is somehow a combination of the two, but is somehow a brand new taste sensation. A morsel of the freshwater bass fillets may be mild, but as you eat more, the tingling numbing sensation of Sichuan peppercorns will gradually fill your month. Spicy is not the melody, but a satisfying numbing of the taste buds is the beat that this dish produces.

Under the tender fillets lies the translucent cellophane noodles made from starch. They taste sweet, sour, a little spicy and have a slippery texture, similar to the Sichuan street food suan la fen (sour and hot noodles). As with the numbing fish, you will experience layers of flavors unfolding in your mouth.

If the numbing Sanchuan fish does not suit your palate, go with another much milder and smoothing soupy dish that we also love, Dali's rice noodle in sour fish broth, which is very moreish. The broth is boiled with pre-fried fish bone till it turns creamy white. It then becomes the base for which rice noodles, fresh bass flesh and vegetables including straw mushroom, pickled mustard green, Yunnan big coriander and Guangdong flowering cabbage are stewed. The dish is very light in salt, while savory, and could strictly be a wonderful staple in itself in the absence of other orders.