Szechuan Food That Doesn't Burn the Tongue at Chuan Xiang Restaurant: Ish Eats Chinese Food in Manila

Chinese food is popular all over the world. Just like everyone else, I’m a sucker for lemon chicken, sweet and sour pork or salt and pepper spare ribs with yang chow fried rice.

Dimsum is also very popular alongside many variations of noodles, Peking duck and other Chinese staples.

Szechuan (Sichuan) Cuisine is just one iteration of Chinese food that is fairly popular but its fiery reputation has many people approaching it with caution. I love spicy food but I hate it when the heat overpowers the flavor. I’m a firm believer of spice enhancing the other flavors of the dish instead of drowning out the taste.

I was lucky enough to discover Chuan Xiang Restaurant in A. Venue Mall along Makati Ave. (Philippines). The place serves authentic Szechuan dishes that aren’t trying to be macho or competing to be the hottest dishes in town. Instead, they focus on a balance of rich flavors with a strong kick of Szechuan peppers.

Upon walking in, the gracious owner offered a selection of beverages. Apart from some interesting flavored teas and yogurt drinks, he gave me a tin can of cold milk. He was smirking while handing it to me and I realized that this is the drink that’s given to amateurs who aren’t prepared for the spicy food.

A selection of flavored tea drinks
I highly recommend getting a can of chilled sweet milk!
I must say, the milk drink really helped balance the strong, rich flavors of the food. It tasted like a cross between evaporated and condensed milk. Very tasty and sweet. When it’s poured over ice, it becomes the perfect accompaniment to a fiery Szechuan meal.
The meal started out fairly tame. We got a gigantic bowl of  their signature CHUAN XIANG FLAVOR PORK SOUP. Note that this bowl is meant to be shared. It’s a light, flavorful soup that eases the palate into what’s coming next.
Chuan Xiang Flavor Pork Soup (Php320.00)
We received bowls of plain steamed rice to accompany our main dishes. While fried rice is preferred in most Chinese restaurants, Szechuan cuisine calls for good old white rice to soak up the highly flavorful dishes.
At this point, the heat was slowly escalating. Despite being generally spicy, each dish had a distinct flavor profile.
Home-style Fried Tofu (Php280.00)
Fried Baby Squid with Pickled Pepper (Php460.00)
I particularly enjoyed the Beef and Beef Tripe in hot oil. Don’t let the name scare you. This dish was more crisp and refreshing than hot. It was served almost like a salad. The generous bunch of coriander on top gave a fresh element to the dish.
Beef and Beef Tripe with Hot Oil (Php400.00)
My favorite among the viands would have to be the STEAMED PORK WITH PICKLED VEGETABLES. This dish is to die for! Admittedly, it isn’t spicy like the rest of the dishes. However, the pork just melts in your mouth like butter!
Steamed Pork with Pickled Vegetables (Php360.00)

The cold FERN NOODLES with sour hot sauce balanced out the dishes quite well. It reminds me of a cross between the Korean Jap Chae and Japanese soba noodles.

Fern Noodles with Sour Hot Sauce (Php220.00)
I know it seems like we’ve eaten so much at this point. However, the star of the show hasn’t been revealed. Here’s a close look at the BOILED FISH WITH SPICY SAUCE. It’s basically swimming in Szechuan peppers and hot oil. Yes my friends, this is the real deal. It’s time to order another can of sweet milk!
Boiled Fish with Spicy Sauce (Php690.00)
I know it looks like a soup but you’re out of your mind if you try to sip this. You need to fish out the meat and eat it with rice. Be careful to avoid fishing out a lot of peppers. Those are meant to be left in the bowl. They have already imparted their smoky flavor and intense kick with no need for you to actually eat them. Nevertheless, if you want to eat the peppers, be my guest. Don’t say I didn’t warn your silly ass.
Like I said, what I love most about the food here is how you get your fair dose of heat without sacrificing flavor. Judging by the number of Chinese patrons, this restaurant is legit. It’s best to go with a group so that you can try out several dishes since the servings are fairly big. For those who are sensitive to spicy food, you can still come. Not everything is spicy. The menu is extensive and I’m definitely coming back for more!

Chuan Xiang Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato