Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Xi Da Dou Tang Fan

After a few short days of hot weather Chengdu has been chilly and wet for the past week, and I've been seeking out dou tang fan - bean soup with rice. Dou tang fan is ubiquitous in Chengdu, but most places make bland versions that are not improved by the shreds of meat or vegetable that are added.Grandma Jin's dou tang fan is without peer, but I find myself eating there less and less simply because I find their servings too large.

Last week I walked into a dou tang fan restaurant that looked newly opened. There were only a few people eating, but several staff were looking after the place and the kitchen workers were all wearing white uniforms.

"You need to try this soup, it's great!" said the boss as he carefully set the bowl on the table. It tasted wonderful, and was a perfect size. I felt like Goldilocks, and ate the soup wondering why higher end restaurants in town so rarely serve customers with such obvious care and pride in the product. The bowl of soup (dou tang) is three yuan, rice (fan) is another one yuan. Besides their specialty, they have an assortment of cooked food in pots that usually gets served with rice (shao cai), and a short menu of homestyle food. The serving of baby bok choi (xiao bei cai) I ordered once came very spicy and numbing, and once with zero seasoning. I expect their spicy dishes are pretty bold.

Dou tang, rice on the side, some pao cai that tasted exactly like sauerkraut, and an order of baby bok choi.



Location: Yiguanmiao. The staff claims they have no address. It's up a small alley just in front of a kindergarten, on the northwest side of the Yiguanmiao overpass.

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