Yu Chuan渝川菜館 – Great Sichuan Private Kitchen in Hong Kong
Yu Chuan is a small private kitchen serving Sichuan food in Wan Chai. Private kitchens are something do not exist in the US. They are unlicensed places that serve food. They’re usually in an apartment building and you have to make a reservation and then usually ring some bell to get in. A lot of them happen to serve amazing food. I really like the whole private kitchen thing, I wish NY had an equivalent.
Yu Chuan is on the 2nd floor of a non-descript building in Wan Chai. When you get out of the elevator there are two doors one is to a Chinese dessert place and the other is to Yu Chuan. You knock and they let you in. It’s a reasonably small restaurant, there are probably 10 tables in the place that are meant for family style dining. The lady that runs the place is very nice and the service was very good.
Cold Sichuan Noodles:
These were quite good. It was thin white noodles with bean sprouts, diced scallions and crushed peanuts tossed in ma la chili oil served cold. Ma means the numbing sensation you get on your tongue from the Sichuan peppercorns and la means spicy in Chinese. The noodles were well cooked and al dente. The sauce was nice, not overly oily and went quite well with everything. 8.25/10
Ma La Pi Dan (Preserved Duck Eggs in a Ma La Sauce):
These were ridiculously good, probably the second best version of pi dan I’ve ever had (first is Yung Kee). The pi dan (preserved duck eggs) are cut into quarters and then topped with a sauce that is made up of chili oil, pickled vegetables, chilis and diced green onions. The sauce is so good and perfectly pairs with the pi dan. I loved this dish. 8.75/10
Cold Cucumber in Garlic Sauce (Liang Ban Huang Gua):
This was a solid rendition of a dish that I like a lot. The cucumbers are diced and dressed in sesame oil, garlic and a little bit of salt and served cold. The cucumbers were fresh and had a nice crunch to them. The dressing was very good, a lot of places don’t have the right amounts of the various ingredients (too much or too little garlic etc), but the version here was very nice. Overall, this was a nice refreshing dish. 8.5/10
Water Cooked Beef (Shui Zhu Niu Rou):
Shui zhu preparation is a specific cooking preparation from Sichuan. The meat is prepared with water, starch, and a slight amount of salt. Boiled vegetables are placed at the bottom of the serving bowl or dish. The prepared raw meat is poached in water. Then it is drained and put in the serving dish with vegetables. Minced dried chili, sichuan pepper, minced garlic, and other seasoning are spread over the meat. Vegetable oil is heated in a pan nearly to smoking point, then poured over the prepared meat and vegetable. It results in really tender meat, the meat was melt in your mouth soft. Although the dish clearly has a ton of oil in it, it actually doesn’t taste all that heavy when you eat it. The flavors were outstanding; I thought their version was very good. 8.75/10
Stir Fried String Beans (Gan Shao Si Ji Dou):
This is string beans stir fried with chilis, Sichuan peppercorns and some pickled vegetables. This version was really good, it had that great wok flavor and the string beans were cooked perfectly. They make an excellent version of this dish. 8.75/10
Shrimps with Spicy Sichuan Salt:
I’ve only had this dish once before and it is a great dish. Shrimps that are still in their shells are stir fried with just a little bit of oil, diced green onions and a spicy salt. The shrimps are a bit crispy on the outside and the spicy salt is so good. It’s kind of hard to explain, but this dish is really outstanding. 8.5/10
Ma Po Tofu:
They make a pretty good version here, the flavors were quite good and although it looks really oily, it was surprisingly not too heavy. 8.5/10
Hot and Sour Eggplant (Suan La Qie Zi):
This is sliced eggplant with spring onions, minced garlic, chilis and a maybe a few other vegetables in a hot and sour sauce. Another great dish, the sauce was not gloppy or overly salty and went really well with everything. 8.25/10
Unfortunately, I had to tone down the spice level because a few of my friends can’t handle really spicy food, but the food was still great. I thought this was a wonderful restaurant and really makes me want to go back to HK right now. I definitely recommend coming here. Small caveat, a good friend of mine from Sichuan thought it was good, but she thinks Si Jie is better, so I’ll definitely be trying out Si Jie next time.
Shop B, 1/F, Hundred City Centre, 7-17 Amoy Street, Wan Chai
Phone: 2838 5233 / 9858 1561