Monday, August 24, 2015

Hidden Sichuan

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Hidden Sichuan has been getting good reviews lately and so I headed out with my Chinese friends again to get their judgment. I'll be referring to my 2013 review of Sichuan Spice House in Orangevale because we had many of the same dishes to compare and I was with the same Chinese friends. 

Hidden Sichuan is located in a shopping complex at Hwy 99 and Bond Rd. behind the In n Out Burger.  It's nicely decorated with a wallpaper mural depicting ancient China along one wall and nice shelving and art on the others.  There were tables and booths and everything was quite comfortable.

The menu was quite large. This time there were only three of us, so we ordered only four dishes. In the end we were pretty happy with three of the four but with noticeable differences from the same items we had at Sichuan Spice House. If you like, open the review link above so you can compare the pictures of the items as well.

spicy boiled fish
The first dish out was the spicy boiled fish. Just like the other time, this one was swimming in chili peppers which gave me a bit of concern.  No worries, though.  It was spicy but not killer spicy.  Very flavorful and a favorite with my friends and I.  They were comparing it to Yang's Noodles, where they often eat, and found this one was better. We had no leftovers of this one.

dan dan noodles
At Spice House they call their Tan Tan noodles.  The one their is a drier version to this soupy version.  I liked this one very much, but my friend said the other was more authentic and my other friend found this one too salty. Also keep in mind that the starchy noodles really fill you up. I think I overdid it with that one, but it was so good!  Even so, I prefer the Spice House version.

dry cooked shredded pork
We all loved this dry cooked shredded pork.  This version was exceptionally crunchy/crispy and more authentic according to my friend. The other had too much cumin to my liking and it wasn't near as crispy as this one. We pretty much ate every bit of this one.

pork knuckle
The final dish is the disappointment of the four. A hefty pork knuckle in a soy sauce based broth. It was meaty and tender, but unexciting next to the other three.  We didn't eat too much of this one.

Overall my friends were quite happy with our outing. The only drawback, the same with Sichuan Spice House, is how far away it was. It's a definite excursion to reach either one if you don't live in those particular neighborhoods. 

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