Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Spicy thrills from Chairman Mao

Chilli pickles - varied with each of my visit

The real Chairman Mao rocked the world with his ideology, this Chairman Mao rocks your mouth with chillies. I first spotted Chairman Mao through the window of the bus that I took to uni one summer afternoon earlier this year. Then I read about it on Time Out Sydney mag March or April edition and it then entered my "to try" list. Since then, I have eaten there 4 times and I still want to go back. It's that good. If you are interested to go, make sure you make a booking or you might not get a table.

Eggplant with chilli

One "Must Order" dish here is the stir fried eggplant. Be careful though, it's spicy. It doesn't explode in your mouth kind of spicy, its the kind that builds up slowly and by the time you realize it, your mouth is already begging for mercy. Trust me though, it is sooooo worth it to order. The eggplants are sliced thinly and stirfried with fermented black beans and chilli. Perfect combo with rice. Each time I visit, I always order this... Ugh, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

On this visit, I ordered 3 other dishes one is the diced chicken with cashew nuts, river shrimp with chives-like veggies, and beancurd with home made smoked pork. These three dishes did not disappoint and we never ordered them before!

Diced chicken with cashew nut and broccoli

The diced chicken with cashew nut was not spicy, we asked for it not to be spicy so that we wouldn't have to "suffer" so much. The chicken was coated in oyster sauce-like sauce which was savory with a hint of sweetness but still dry-ish. The cashew nut gave it a crunchy nutty flavor, obviously... On its own the flavor is strong, but with rice it's a perfect combo. It's also a nice balance for the eggplant chilli dish.

River shrimps with green vegetables

The river shrimps was a little spicy, we asked them to down tone the spiciness with this one again as the last time we were there everything was truly spicy. So we thought to give our tongue a break this time. The chive-like veggie was crunchy and tasted sweet. The flavoring was simple so it brought out the veggie flavor. The shrimps were smaller than I thought they would be and seemed to be lightly fried whole with their shells. Though at first I was skeptical, I understood why they included the shell, it made it crispy and crunchy with just enough sweetness of the shrimps' meat.

Beancurd with home made smoked pork

The bean curd and home made smoked pork was the most interesting texture of them all. It's quite different to find smoked pork on a Chinese dish, maybe this is the normal thing in Hunanese dish - I'm not so sure. I really like this dish though, very savory and the choice of vegetables complimented the dish as the veggies were sweet.

Chairman Mao is definitely one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in town. If you're scared of chilli, don't! "Take heart chilli heads. It's not dumb to eat the fire, it's a sign of high intelligence." From the article "A Perk of Our Evolution - Pleasure in Pain of Chillies" from the New York Times. Click here for the full article.

Chairman Mao
189 Anzac Parade
Kensington, NSW 2033
+61 2 9697 9189
Open for dinner only

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