Bride & Groom MOM Subscribe

Find Local

Cheap Eats 2013: “Too hot for me.” “I don’t like spicy.”

We’ve heard it all. It’s easy to sit down at a Szechuan restaurant and wind up with a slate of mouth-scorching dishes, to walk out overwhelmed, numbed, and wondering if you’re missing something.

The key is to balance hot with cool (we recommend ordering garlicky pickled cucumbers to quench the fire) and focus on dishes that are spiced without being too spicy, such as cumin lamb or fish. Scallion pancake, a fried flatbread flecked with green onions, is hit-or-miss at most places, but order it anyway; a few tears of bread are a great antidote to a mouth-tinglingly hot dish like mapo tofu.

The other complaint about Szechuan is its oiliness. No, it’s not Cantonese or that elegant subset, Hong Kong-style, with its delicate seafood dishes. Think of it as the Chinese counterpart of the bacon-and-butter-boosted cooking of the American South—comfort food at its gutsiest and most elemental.

This article appears in the August 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.

Read Next

Cheap Eats 2013: Tastes of Home

  • Charlotte

    Can someone please tell me where to find the spicy Szechuan dish that's highlighted in the photos of this article?!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Most Popular on Washingtonian

The Summer Drinking Semifinals: Denizens Brewing Co. vs. Jack Rose

10 Offbeat Date Ideas in Washington

6 Great Swimming Holes Near Washington, DC

15 Great Places to Eat at Rehoboth Beach

These 12 Products Will Make Your Hot, Crowded Metro Commute So Much Better

8 Summer Restaurant Specials to Try Now

The Summer Drinking Quarterfinals: Republic vs. Jack Rose Dining Saloon

Meet the Guy Who's Protesting a Maryland Theater's Production of The Producers

How to Quit Your Government Job and Start a Small Business