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Chengdu, Sichuan, CHINA — Tempted by Fuchsia Dunlop’s chapter about Chef Yu Bo, from her book Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China, I gathered a small group to experience the whims and culinary mastery at Yu’s Family Kitchen (喻家厨房, map). The meal was a series of ooh’s-and-ah’s as every dish appeared exemplifying Yu Bo’s creativity and talent for taste.
After the grand dinner, I asked to meet Yu Bo and with the gracious assistance of “Mix” sharing the same dialect with Yu Bo, I was able to grasp a little more knowledge of his concept and principles behind food. Perhaps his strongest impression laid upon me was his insistence that food must have quality ingredients. Though not always available, whenever possible Yu Bo does his best to obtain the best quality and most environmentally sound produce. His huǒtuǐ (火腿, ham) was of artisan pig raised in Sichuan. He doesn’t object to wèijīng (味精, MSG), because he makes his own from natural ingredients and doesn’t use artificial wèijīng. His menu changes often as ingredients come into season, thus serving dishes with natural flavors as opposed to hothouse off-season creations.
I wish the flavors of the dinner could transcend from photos, but to give an idea of the delicacies you can expect from an evening at Yu’s Family Kitchen, here are most of the dishes we enjoyed. Many thanks to Chef Yu Bo for clarifying the names of these dishes in Chinese for us.
Order from left to right 顺序是图片中从上到下、从左到右:
- 蒜茸三月瓜 (Suàn Róng Sān yuè Guā, Garlic Flavored March Melon)
- 窝油花仁 (Wō Yóu Huā Rén)
- 香卤藕片 (Xiāng Lǔ Ǒu Piàn, Fragrant Stewed Lotus Root)
- 如意青笋结 (Rúyì Qīngsǔn Jié, Wish Knot Tied Lettuce)
- 炝折耳根 (Qiàng zhé ěrgēn)
- 香醋南瓜 (Xiāng Cù Nánguā, Fragrant Vinegar Pumpkin)
- 菊花甜椒 (Júhuā Tián jiāo, Chrysanthemum Sweet Red Peppers)
- 手撕青椒 (Shǒu sī Qīng jiāo, Hand Shredded Green peppers)
- 红油鹌鹑皮蛋 (Hóng yóu ānchún pídàn, Chili Oil Preserved Quail Eggs)
- 蜂蜜小番茄 (Fēngmì Xiǎo Fānqié, Honey Sweetened Cherry Tomatoes)
- 茶籽油拌油菜 (Tea Seed Oil Rapeseed Leaves)
- 麻油苦瓜 (Máyóu Kǔguā, Bitter melon in Sesame Oil)
- 糊辣西洋菜 (Hu là Xīyáng cài, Chili Paste Watercress)
- 乡村黄瓜干 (Xiāngcūn huángguā gàn, Dry Country Cucumbers)
- 五香豆腐干 (Wǔxiāng Dòufu Gān, Five-Spice Baked Tofu)
- 芥末西芹 (Jièmò Xī qín, Mustard Celery)
Yù Jiā Chúfáng (喻家厨房, Yu’s Family Kitchen)
Qīngyáng qū xià Tóngrén lù Zhǎi Xiàngzi No. 43 (Jìn Jǐng Xiàngzi). Chengdu, Sichuan.
青羊区下同仁路窄巷子43号(近井巷子). Telephone: 028-86691985. Cuisine: 川菜 (Sichuan)