Sophisticated Sichuan restaurant Fu Rong, which opened earlier this year, has recently added a selection of exclusive dishes (available until 31 December 2018) to its repertoire courtesy of Chen Bo Ming, an authority on Sichuan cuisine who was profiled in the popular Chinese documentary series A Bite of China.

Master Chen seeks to preserve the roots and authenticity of Sichuan cuisine, repackaging classic dishes with contemporary presentation, which seems to be paramount in this ‘grammable day and age. To him, it’s not all about numbing spice, but about a balance of flavours to allow each ingredient to stand out. Yes, chilli and Sichuan peppercorn are abundant, but not overwhelmingly so.

We highly recommend you dine at Fu Rong while the chef’s dishes remain on the menu to experience traditional Sichuan cuisine at its finest.

Seated in Fu Rong’s lovely private room, with sweeping harbour views, we were treated to a tasting of Master Chen’s specialities:

Jellyfish with daikon

The tangy jellyfish with daikon, with just a hit of hint of chilli, set our taste buds in motion.

Sweet-and-sour spare ribs

Made without any articfical colouring, only sugar, vinegar and salt were used to prepare these gloriously sticky sweet-and-sour spare ribs – you won’t be able to stop at just one.

Dried squid stir-fry

Every city in China has a signature local stir-fry, and in Chengdu’s dried squid stir-fry, the chewy rehydrated dried squid and crunchy bean sprouts made worthy counterparts.

Sea cucumber

An ingredient unfamiliar to most Western palates, the sea cucumber is a prized delicacy for the Chinese. In this dish, the sea cucumber was paired with pork mince in a vinegar and bean paste sauce, resulting in comforting, homey flavours.

Mapo tofu

Arguably the be-all and end-all of Sichuan cuisine, the mapo tofu was our favourite dish of the meal. Aromatic and spicy with a rich depth of flavour, we couldn’t stop spooning it over our bowls of rice.

Dan dan noodles

Another iconic Sichuan dish, we loved the smokiness of Master Chen’s dan dan noodles.

Baby cabbage

Not a side dish but a star in its own right, the baby cabbage was cooked in a flavourful broth and topped with an assortment of peppers. We saved the bed of bean-thread noodles for last, which had soaked up all the sweet veggie juices.

Sticky rice cubes

Then, for dessert, came a seemingly simple dish that we had never encountered before and that we’re told is an ancient recipe that’s been resurrected by Master Chen. Akin to HK-style French toast, the piping-hot sticky rice cubes were sweet, tender, caramelised perfection.

And from Fu Rong’s regular menu, be sure to order these two signature dishes:

Bon bon chicken

Bon Bon chicken: a treat for both the eyes and the taste buds, this cold dish of tender shredded chicken in a piquant sauce – also known as bang bang chicken – features a sugar globe filled with chilli oil that is cracked open before serving.

Zucchini noodles

Zucchini noodles: a healthy counterpart to often carb-heavy Chinese meals, we admired the knife work of this light dish, shaped like a lucky charm, which was drizzled with a soy-based dressing.

Shop OTE 201, 2/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 3–27 Canton Road, TST, 2328 3302

This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.

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