Golden Spring Szechuan Restaurant (小四川) Review
New Spicy Chili Restaurant was in Coquitlam years ago and it was one of those crazily popular places where people from all over the lower mainland would drive in to eat at. The place was always packed with lineups and their food was consistently fantastic. Since they have moved to Richmond though, I haven’t had a chance to pay a visit.
Mr. H. knows the owner, Chef Xi, who gave us a $5.00 discount for our meal.
Probably because it’s now a bigger place and the amount of competition in Richmond, it wasn’t packed with lineups like it had been in Coquitlam. There was still a decent amount of diners on the Saturday night we went.
The atmosphere is typical of a Chinese family-style restaurant and comfortable by that standard. Service was extremely quick. Food started coming pretty much 5 minutes after we ordered. Otherwise, service was not particularly attentive, typical of a Chinese restaurant.
Just a warning about the spice level, Szechuan cuisine is known for its heat. The kind of chilies that are commonly used in this type of cuisine are Szechuan peppercorns, chili oil, broad bean chili paste…etc. The heat they produce is fragrant, bold and numbing to the tongue, quite a different experience from other kinds of spices. When you order, you’ll have a choice of mild, medium or high heat or even no heat at all so it’s probably a good idea to go with people with similar levels of tolerance.
Szechuan peppercorns have this funky property that if you bite into one, it leaves you with a bright citrusy and soapy taste for about a minute or two. Not exactly pleasant but certainly interesting! A lot of restaurants do take out the peppercorns before they serve so you are not tasting soap all the time. But if you ever wonder, a Szechuan peppercorn looks a lot like a regular peppercorn that’s popped open into two halves, kind of like a flower.
Beef and Tripe in Spicy Sauce (夫妻肺片) ($13.99) – 4/5
A little pricy for the amount you get, but this is a very popular dish here and for good reason. It is pungent, spicy and slightly sweet. Despite the large amount of chili oil used, it is quite a refreshing dish. There is a generous amount of crushed peanuts for an additional layer of texture and flavor and tons of cilantro that adds to the fragrance and refreshing-ness of the dish. It really is delicious.
Szechuan Green Beans (乾扁四季豆) (forgot price) – 4/5
The green beans appear to be briefly fried and then stir fried with shallots, garlic and dried chili. The beans were cooked perfectly, retaining a good crunch and at the same time flavorful from the frying. The shallots and garlic made the dish very aromatic and gave it a good hit of umami. It was slightly over-salted but I’ll admit that I kept picking off the leftover shallots and garlic even after the beans were long gone.
Fish Fillet in Chilli Sauce (水煮魚) ($18.99) – 3.5/5
With this dish you get a choice of basa filet or for an additional $10, you can have fresh tilapia. We went with the basa. The dish came in a large bowl instead of a small metal hot pot which is what you get when you order the Spicy Fish Hot Pot ($18.99). Both the dishes share the same spicy soup base, the difference is that you get noodles with the hot pot and you get sprouts with this dish shown here.
The fish was lightly battered and fried, then cooked in the spicy broth. I would’ve preferred if it wasn’t battered just because the coating becomes soggy from sitting in the broth. It was spicy and tasty, but again a tad salty.
All in all, food was good but definitely pricey.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions and experiences of this post are completely my own. Although Mr. H knows the owner, he is not aware of this blog.