Wellington Street has a pretty cheap and pretty cheerful new Sichuan noodle joint from a brand who have branches across Chengdu, so it’s safe to saw they know their málà.
I’m a huge fan of hydroxy alpha sansool, otherwise known as the compound which gives the hua jiao Peppercorns their unique numb and hum. But of course they’re not peppercorns at all, but berries of the prickly pear tree as my piece from Sichuan for the SCMP pointed out:
Anyway back in Central, it’s a bright and funky interior with scores of diners with similar attributes. The menu (also in English, hallelujah!) couldn’t be clearer as to their mission:
The hua jiao sifu dives in with extra numbing while I stay a notch down. Both bowls are resounding successes, with slow simmered soup that cries out to be slurped. The pork is tender and seemingly of decent provenance, the bok Choi satisfyingly crunchy, the noodles on point.
We didn’t need to order the full set lunch with drinks, nor the extra research-based bowl of bang bang chicken, but we do. At $130 each, more than replete and spiced-up, it’s a steal.