提到川菜，第一時間令人聯想起辣，其實不能單純地以麻辣來概括川菜的特色。中國菜與西餐的基本味道相近 － 甜、酸、苦、辣、鮮，川菜則再加上麻和辣，辣可以不同的形式演繹 － 乾辣椒、辣椒粉、醃辣椒、辣椒油等；而麻則是來自細小的花椒，別小看這小辣椒，輕輕的一點已足以攻佔你的舌頭。因此拿捏得準，做到恰到好處，絕對需要細緻的技巧。這方面你大概可以放心，因為一切盡在“高手”的掌握之內。
Slow Food Hong Kong was again immersed in Sichuan, the land of flavour for an encore dinner with Chef Deng on February 6, 2018. The diverse and multiple flavours the province is known for, sometimes all in one dish, is what makes it the land of flavour above all others. So it was no surprise that it was another sold-out dinner, with 60 guests, double the participants from the first dinner in September 2017.
When you think of Sichuan food, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘hot & spicy’, but mouth numbing heat isn’t the main characteristic of true Sichuan food, nor is it that simplistic. Chinese food, like western food, has similar basic tastes. Sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. In Sichuan food there are two others, the ‘ma’ (numbing) and the la (hot). In Sichuan cuisine, hot can be expressed many different ways. There are dried whole chilies, ground dried chilies, pickled chilies, chilli oil and fermented chilli bean paste. The Sichuan fraternal twin of la, the ‘ma’ flavour comes from the small hua jiao pepper. For such a tiny pepper, it invades your taste buds like nothing else. The experience is a mix of candy pop-rocks, soda and pins & needles in your mouth, all with a subtle lemon flavour. A delicate touch is needed to bring out the proper amount of punch here. No worries on that front, we were in the hands of a true pro!
Chef Deng excelled by skillfully combining different flavours within each dish, for example using sour to balance sweetness and heat to balance the prickly ma flavour so nothing overwhelmed here and the tastes were varied and interesting as you tried to identify all the elements.
The land of flavour, as created by Chef Deng, lived up to its reputation and offered an opportunity to experience something more than just the often talked about chilli peppers.