One of the things that I do not eat enough of is spicy food. Maybe it is because I am secretly a wimp when it comes to food that burns my tongue and my entire mouth, but I do enjoy it from time to time. In order to keep my spicy tolerance from depleting to zero, I decided to try out a restaurant located on the west side of San Gabriel Valley, in the city of Alhambra, a little place called Szechuan Impression.
Pay attention as you are driving down Valley Boulevard, because this small little shop might be overlooked if you are not aware of it’s existence. Unlike many other Chinese restaurants, the building itself is a relatively modern design with outdoor seating available. This provides a nice attraction for younger customers who can enjoy a fresh outdoor experience.
The interior also emits a modern minimal atmosphere which feels similar to a cafe. With faux leather seats on the side walls and simple tables spread throughout the restaurant, it provides for a nice family dinner or a Sunday afternoon lunch.
The service is not terrible but it is what you can expect from a Chinese restaurant. The waiters and waitresses will not make too much small talk with you but you can be sure that they will get what you need as quickly as possible. Water constantly refilled and promptly served food is what you can expect as you dine.
Their menu consists of primarily spicy foods, as that is what the Szechuan province in China is known for. During this dining, I ordered some of their most popular menu items which include the Impressive Bean Jelly, Fried Rice Cake with Black Sugar and the Steamed Taro Chicken Pot.
Impressive Bean Jelly
This cold noodle is one of the best cold noodle’s I have had. The jelly noodles are an amazing mixture of cold and spicy which makes you wanting more. It is not too spicy but enough where you can still feel a kick to your taste buds. The cold noodle helps counteract the spices and makes it a must try experience if this is your first time at the restaurant.
Fried Rice Cake with Black Sugar Picture
Another popular item on the menu, this dessert adds a very unique twist to the classic rice cakes. As if fried food is not addicting enough, they have added a black sugar sauce to these rice cakes which can make the entire plate disappear within minutes. The texture contains a thin layer of crunchiness which quickly turns into mouth watering, soft interior similar to that of mochi.
Steamed Taro Chicken Pot
For the entree, I ordered a Steamed Taro Chicken Pot, which is, like the name suggests, a giant hot-pot with chicken and steamed taro. I opted for medium spiciness, which in all honestly, felt much spicier than it was. As I was eating, I could find what I assume are the seeds from the peppers they added to make the spicy soup. This was hot, not going to lie. My mouth began to feel a bit numb and I could not imagine how much spicier the higher levels would be. The cut up taro and the chicken were delicious and when eaten with a bowl of rice, helps tone down the spice a little bit.
As I mentioned before, I do not eat too much spicy foods but this was still a good impression. My mouth was not burning to death, but I did have a few drops of sweat. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was pleasant and the restaurant does everything it can do that sets it apart from many traditional Chinese restaurants. It will be great for families and can still draw in the younger, hipper crowds.
Do you like spicy foods? Share your experiences!