Szechwan Zen is a Chinese restaurant specialising in Szechuan style food, tucked away in one of the small shopping squares in Northbridge along William Street. If you spot a Big Red Crab sign, then you are at the spot on at the right place. This was my first time trying Szechuan food and I do hear that the Szechuan style of cooking uses chilli and lots of chilli and their dishes are mostly spicy. As I was offered $100 from the manager of Szechwan Zen, Merrick, to spend, I brought along three of my family friends and mum so we did have a large group to order a variety of dishes to share.
To start off, we had the Taro Toast Rolls (6 pieces for $9.80) and as cold starters, Duck Rolls with Egg Yolk ($15.80) and Spicy Chicken Salad ($12.80). The Taro Toast Rolls were deep fried to crisp on the outside while retaining the soft textures of taro on the inside. It was an instant favourite on the table as the Taro Toast Rolls disappeared in the blink of an eye. The Duck Rolls with Egg Yolk were lovely as the saltiness of the egg yolk complements the tender duck meat surrounding the egg yolk. Although we decided to go mild on our first visit with our dishes, we had the Spicy Chicken Salad which had a two chilli rating. For me, the dish was a bit spicy but it had a good chilli kick that I could tolerate. The spicy-ness of the dish balances well with the cold, succulent, tender chicken meat.
Taro Toast Rolls
Duck rolls with egg yolk
Special spicy chicken salad
For our mains, we had a Sweet and Sour Whole Fish ($33.80), Stir Fried Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms ($18.80) and Golden Fried Garlic Spare Ribs ($11.80). We were told to enjoy the Sweet and Sour Whole Fish while it’s hot to be able to savour the crispy and crunchy outer layers. The sweet and sour sauce gave the fish a nice punch in acidity and a lovely flavour to the dish. For the Stir Fried Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms, the beef tenderloin was cooked perfectly and it was tender and the mushrooms gave the dish its earthy flavours.
Sweet and Sour whole fish
Stir Fried Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms
The Golden Fried Garlic Spare Ribs was another favourite on our table. It was cooked perfectly to crisp on the outside and spare ribs were succulent and seasoned well. It was so delicious that I secretly wished that I could have a whole plate of it to myself.
Golden Fried Garlic Spare Ribs
Who says you have to have it spicy when you are at a restaurant selling Szechuan food? You can sure opt for going mild just like we did or if you really want a challenge and love your chilli kick, I recommend you to go for the chilli dishes.
I would like to thank Merrick for having us and to the team at Szechwan Zen for cooking up a storm for us. For something different, we will definitely be back to Szechwan Zen in the future to try other dishes and maybe if I am brave enough, to try some chili dishes with a three chili rating. Yep, because I know it will be worth it.