Dishin’ is always lookin’ for soul food and a place to eat. Usually Asian food. Often Chinese. The problem: the best, most authentic dishes are usually on the Chinese menu, and unless someone reads Chinese characters, it’s either point-and-order, or be stuck with what’s on the English menu.
We appreciate that Bamboo Garden in Bellevue struggled with this issue. First they put everything on the English menu, but when the descriptions of some good dishes scared some Americans, they moved them to the Chinese menu. We protested, and now they’ve restored them to the English menu. Look for the section that says “Take a Walk on the Wild Side,” which emphasizes that “your experience of Sichuan cooking would be incomplete if you passed on the opportunity to try it for yourself” (“it” being dishes that are ma la—numbing and spicy).
We couldn’t agree more. And yet, in Saturday’s party of seven, only the Seattlest in the group ventured to the wild side. Must say: the other dishes were good, such as the always-delicious, hand-shaved noodles, and one—the fiery pot of fish pieces on a bed of cabbage—was close to wild. Fiery indeed, and we loved every burning bite.
But we were glad to go wild. And you can bet, knowing our history of eating tripe and more tripe, that what caught our eyes right away was something called “the other parts of a pig.” The dish was spicy but also tangy (hello, pickled cabbage). In addition to tofu, we enjoyed lots of pork intestines and pig blood cubes. But why stop there? We wished they had added other other parts of a pig as well, such as kidneys and, yes, tripe.
Naturally, the server again asked “Can you really eat that?” Hey—we were there to take a walk on the wild side. Doo, dodoo, dodoo, doododoo…
Originally posted at Seattlest (where “we” = me) on May 19, 2008.
BREAKING: I just ate Thanksgiving dinner (of the Sichuan variety) at Bamboo Garden, and took another walk on the wild side in ordering sliced pork kidneys in a tangy broth. The story (including photos) is posted today at Examiner.com.