The Sichuan Gourmet Festival is currently underway at The Iron Chef Chinese Seafood Restaurant in Cabramatta.
Restaurant owner, Phillip Visalli, has invited two celebrity chefs from Chengdu in Sichuan province to Sydney for the inaugural event.
Mei Lin and Zhou Zhang have established themselves as two of China’s most respected chefs and throughout September will be serving up a spicy Sichuan feast to anyone game enough to taste the mighty Sichaun pepper.
The $168 per person feast consists of a whopping 16 courses. My highlight dishes are as follows.
The Sichuan pork knuckle, served as an appetiser, is delightful. It has a mild tang that warms the palatte, almost as a warning for what’s to come.
Another interesting appetiser is the Chiu Chow spicy duck’s feet. Despite the rubbery texture, the feet are surprisingly delicious – a taste almost akin to seaweed. Interesting, right?
Two notable mains are the braised shredded duck soup and the Kung Pao king prawns. The soup is thick and salty with a lovely fresh pickled tang, while the shredded duck pieces are soft and tender.
The sweet and sour prawns – a so-called western favourite – are divine, meaty prawns with the perfect balance of sweet and sour flavour.
So whether you like it hot or not, this celebration of spice is definitely worth the trip to Cabramatta.
Be adventurous. Be brave. Embrace the Sichuan pepper.