More Spice, More Funk, More Sour!

Dishes that were previously considered regional specialties have found their way into mainstream markets as new Chinatown restaurants seek to satisfy the demand for foods that are spicier and funkier than those that founded the communities.

More Spice, More Funk, More Sour!

Dishes that were previously considered regional specialties have found their way into mainstream markets as new Chinatown restaurants seek to satisfy the demand for foods that are spicier and funkier than those that founded the communities.

The heavily spiced regional specialty foods from China’s interior are increasingly featured at Philadelphia Chinatown restaurants and grocery stores

by David Dettmann

Another new restaurant is about to open in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. A flashy vinyl banner will be erected over the shuttered business's old signboard. Going by what seems to have been the trend lately, that banner will surely announce a novel and fashionable food that’s soon to arrive. But what will it be?

Will it be a restaurant featuring roasted or boiled skewers spiced with chile, huajiao (aka “Sichuan peppercorn”), and cumin—the kinds of things you might find at night markets all across China? Will it be a concept kitchen serving up funky and umami-rich rice noodle soups of Southwest China’s Guangxi or Yunnan Provinces? Will it be an Inner Mongolian-themed joint focusing on scalded lamb hot pot? Or will it be a restaurant that serves handmade noodles—wide and chewy—laden with chile oil and crisp griddle breads from Northwestern China? So many possibilities.

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Dill Magazine

A magazine for erudite consumers of Asian food.