Header images courtesy of Chuan Palace and Sichuan Lab (via Facebook)
Originally published by Sarah Moran. Last updated by Jen Paolini.
Craving a little more kick in your food? Sichuan cuisine is definitely your go-to, and there is no shortage of restaurants in the city offering that sweat-and-tears-inducing spice you crave. Once you get started, you’ll find that there is more to Sichuan food than that oh-so-familiar mouth-numbing feeling: there is also a wide variety of cooling dishes that offset the adventurous flavour as well. From dan dan noodles to spicy hot pot, we’ve scoured the city in search of Hong Kong’s best Sichuan food. Whatever it is you’re in the mood for, this list of standout restaurants is calling your name.
Behind Twelve Flavors’ striking, traditional Chinese exterior is some of Hong Kong’s best Sichuan food. When here, you must try the boiled fish with pickled cabbage ($198), made with Hakka, Yunnan, and Sichuan pickled cabbages, boiled in a soup with white radish, ginger, pig oil, chilli, and fish. If that does not sound appealing, go for the restaurant’s signature numbing & spicy dried hot pot ($38 per pot and starting from $22 per ingredient). Diners pick from 25 different ingredients, which are then stir-fried in a secret sauce and 12 different kinds of spices.
For those who like their spice to tingle their taste buds rather than burn their mouth, pay a visit to this G spot in Wan Chai. Brought to us by acclaimed Chengdu Chef Deng of Deng G Shanghai, restaurant-slash-bar Deng G serves an exquisite menu of Sichuan dishes divided by flavour profiles, including lychee, ma la (numbing spicy), hu la (hot spicy paste), yu xiang (fragrant fish), salt & pepper, and dry pot. You cannot go wrong with any of the classic Sichuan dishes here, such as the sliced pork with garlic & chilli ($78), kung pao chicken ($128), and the litmus test for Sichuan food, ma po tofu ($98). Wash it all down the Sichuan way—with a shot of baijiu (starting from $130).
Deng G, 2/F, Weswick Commercial Building, 147–149 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai | (+852) 2609 2328
Not only is Chuan Palace (念川居) a fantastic dim sum restaurant, but it also boasts an impressive Sichuan food menu. It is designed and crafted by executive chef Lee Chi-Kwong, who boasts over two decades of experience at iconic Sichuan mala establishments like San Xi Lou and Golden Valley. The signature dishes here are elevated spins on beloved classics, such as the Sichuan peppercorn stewed mandarin fish with green chillies that’s a lighter alternative to the traditional version with pickled mustard greens. The prawns & peppercorn casserole is hard to find elsewhere and is mild enough that everyone can enjoy, while true mala enthusiasts can test their palates with the hearty Sichuan-style stewed ox tongue, complete with sweet potato noodles, cucumber, peanut sprouts, and bamboo shoots. If you’re looking to branch out from the usual suspects, Chuan Palace is sure to satisfy.
Chuan Palace (念川居), Shop 501, 5/F, MOKO, 193 Prince Edward Road West, Prince Edward | (+852) 2339 1900
The menu at Michelin Guide-recommended Chilli Fagara is split into three sections according to flavour: tang, the coolest option, perfect for those who still want to experience the rich Sichuan flavours without their sinuses watering; ma, highlighting fagaras, the mouth-numbing peppercorns; and finally, it’s recommended by the chef to finish the meal with dishes from the la section, as its spice level is the highest.
For a simple appetiser, go for the shredded chicken in a spicy peanut sauce ($88), and when you are ready to move on to something hotter, order the fiery Sichuan dry hot pot ($368) or kung pao chicken ($138). To round off the Sichuan exploration, we recommend the chilli- and cumin-fried leg of lamb ($268). Chilli Fagara is also a great option for those with special dietary requirements but still want a little spice in their life, as it has extensive vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free offerings.
Chilli Fagara, 7 Old Bailey Street, Central | (+852) 2796 6866
Sichuan restaurants can be speakeasies, too, as evidenced by the secretive Sichuan Lab (川流). Helmed by Kenny Chan, a veteran chef formerly of classic Sichuan restaurant Yun Yan (雲陽), Sichuan Lab offers modern takes on the broad Sichuan flavour profiles, unrestrained by region. Here, you’ll find classics like crispy chicken with dried chillies & Sichuan peppercorns ($185) and ma po tofu ($141), in addition to innovative options like the tossed avocado salad with century egg & bean curd ($119), served with a hot and spicy sauce. However, it’s the simple delights that stand out here, like the poached giant grouper in chilli broth ($361), sautéed peanut sprouts ($141), and spicy thick soup with vinegar and Kampot peppers ($71). Those who want to try your hand at cooking Sichuan food can also sign up for private cooking classes with Chef Chan himself.
Sichuan Lab (川流), G/F, 28 Tai Wo Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 3126 6633
Yu (渝酸辣粉) is a not-so-hidden hidden gem that always has a queue going down the street for a table. Focusing on simple and rustic Sichuan dishes, they are famous for their Chongqing sour & spicy potato noodles with minced beef ($37), though we are partial to a bowl of their substantial dan dan noodles ($48) or the milder green pea purée with spicy minced pork noodle soup ($55). Get a couple of small plates to share, like their classic Sichuan snacks—we would recommend the Chengdu spicy pork dumplings ($52) and chilled garlic pork belly ($70), served with unparalleled efficiency. You can tell they have been doing this for a long time, as they never disappoint. Wash everything down with a cold glass of cucumber soya milk ($31) to cut through the heavy spices, and you will be ready for another round.
Yu (渝酸辣粉), G/F, 4 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2838 8198
No Sichuan restaurant list should omit Sichuan Cuisine Da Ping Huo (四川菜大平伙). If you’re a Sichuan cuisine connoisseur, you should already be familiar with this artistic restaurant that’s stood the test of time, as it’s one of Hong Kong’s first private kitchens and has been in business for over 20 years. The Sichuanese owners—painter Wang Hai and his wife Wong Siu-king (who is an accomplished Chinese folk singer)—continue to blend their passion for art and Sichuan cuisine, resulting in Da Ping Huo, a full-service restaurant and art gallery tucked away in Soho. The affordable set lunch, in particular, is popular with the Central office crowd. The staff here are very accommodating and are happy to adjust the spice level of the dishes. For a taste of traditional Sichuan flavours, you can’t go wrong with the la zi chicken ($168) and the sliced beef in chilli broth ($198).
Sichuan Cuisine Da Ping Huo (四川菜大平伙), Shop F & H, G/F, Garley Building, 53A Graham Street, Central | (+852) 2559 1317