With more and more tourists from mainland China visiting the city, it's no surprise that Hong Kong now boasts numerous restaurants serving Chinese regional cooking – and Sichuan cuisine is just one of the many on offer. Steeped in peppercorns, chillies, soy sauce and vinegar, the cuisine of this south-western Chinese province prides itself on being fearsomely spicy. But while its bold combinations of sweet and sour can occasionally be overpowering, the best Sichuan restaurants in Hong Kong offer a more nuanced culinary experience that'll have you coming back for more.
A typical meat dish at one of Hong Kong's Sichuan restaurants might consist of slices of steamed pork or poached beef, served with chillies and mushrooms in a thick, pungent sauce. Another regular standby is the aptly named bang bang chicken, which features spring onions and a spicy peanut dressing. Then there's dan dan noodles – minced pork served on a bed of noodles in a peppery sauce. If you can't decide on a dish, many Sichuan restaurants in Hong Kong offer well-balanced set lunch menus guaranteed to send your taste buds on an invigorating roller coaster ride.
Hong Kong's Sichuan restaurants are a great choice for vegetarians, as some of their most delicious signature dishes are aimed squarely at non-meat eaters. If you're looking for a hearty main, try a vegetarian mapo tofu – chunks of silky bean curd in a broad bean sauce with onions and water chestnuts. Chefs also put the humble cucumber through its paces, by dicing it with garlic and then serving it in a spicy sauce. Prepare to be surprised!
After all those fiery flavours, it's all the more important to cleanse the palate with a refreshing final course, and you’d be pleased to hear that Hong Kong's Sichuan restaurants are no slouch when it comes to mouth-cooling puddings. Try a sweet dessert soup with malva nuts and orange peel shavings, or a bowl of home-made gelato. Plum is a popular choice, but for something a little headier, opt for ice cream spiked with huangjiu – a Chinese liqueur whose name translates literally as “yellow wine”. Gan bei!