Chuan Restaurant, Purvis Street
I had forgotten how good this place was. I guess Hometown on Smith Street was always a dependable distraction for Sichuan (as well as all the spicy hot pot out there), so Chuan (9 Purvis Street, 6338-6678) kinda slipped outta sight. It only took one bite of the paper thin sliced pork belly to remind me though. This was great: thin slices of pork (and cucumber) hanging off a stand like laundry, but meant to be dipped in a chili oil, garlic, and sesame sauce, which went just right with the fatty pork taste. Nice.
The other reason for coming here is the "water boiled fish" (a really bad literal translation). This place is better than Hometown in that the fish is very fresh and very tasty, and their chili gives a really good kick. The only reason I prefer Hometown for this is because Hometown uses less of those tongue-numbing peppercorns (it's just too much of a distraction to be numbed when you're trying to enjoy the taste). But heavy peppercorns are how they do it on the mainland, so Chuan is technically more authentic. I'll eat it more for the tastiness of the fish, but I admit that I do have some trouble eating this in the end.
The chilled Sichuan noodles are worthy of a taste too (and the starter pickles are quite spicy despite the fact that you can't see any trace of chili oil on it). This place was very empty tonight, which makes me worry that they may close down soon, but it is a pretty darned good place. It's hard to believe that these guys also run that nasty Ting Yuan Hotpot place on Liang Siah Street too as the two restaurants are worlds apart. But no matter - I'll just simply have to come to Chuan more often for that paper thin sliced pork belly.