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Explosive Eating

Matthew Voges

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Little Szechuan, a Chinese restaurant at 422 University Ave W in St. Paul, is one of the best places in the twin cities to eat for an authentic Asian dining experience.
It’s Szechuan, as the name implies, a southwestern Chinese cuisine offering dishes laden with a host of spicy flavors and an equally impressive array of texture: there’s chicken, duck, pork, beef, noodles, fish, vegetables, and tofu, not to mention the many ways these are prepared and eaten.
The restaurant itself is merrily staffed and radiates warmth. The walls are a sizzling red, the tea steaming, the temperature a touch above room – it’s an inverse oasis in these late autumn months. It’s bustling too. Also, while aptly serving some in English, most of the staff speak Chinese to the able customers – a good way to tell the restaurant is authentic.
The food is a bit expensive for an eastern ethnic place as it might run upwards of $20 a p
erson if you aren’t careful. This is redeemable, however, as the food is, in a word, explosive.
One expects spice, but what Little Szechuan delivers is much more. Their chicken lettuce wraps are exuberantly gushing with freshness, the yellow croaker in spicy bean sauce is so tender the bones nearly evaporate from the fish, and the Szechuan spicy tofu is too comprehensive to be succinctly put into words.
Overall, Little Szechuan is not the place to go for eating Chinese on a budget, but for a real, invigorating time out to eat, it’s pe
erless.

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Explosive Eating