Sichuan Pickles at the Jing Cheng Restaurant in Halifax
The Jing Cheng restaurant, during its all too brief existence, was a great place to sample interesting dishes prepared by a Sichuanese couple of the sort you don’t tend to get in the usual Westernized ‘Sichuan’ restaurants. Their Home-made Sichuan Pickles served as a, very large, appetizer had a very rustic, home-style look about them and were very good, if just a trifle fiery.
The Sichuan Pickles at Jing Cheng were identified further on the menu by the Chinese characters 泡菜 which simply means ‘pickled vegetable’. More specifically, it refers to vegetables ‘quick-pickled’ in brine just until a little sourness starts to develop and then served while they still retain a crisp texture and fresh colors.
This particular dish consisted of pickled daikon, celery, carrot, scallion and sliced Jalapeno served in Red Oil with chopped ginger and garlic. I also thought I saw a few fragments of Sichuan Peppercorn husk but I couldn’t detect the characteristic numbing effect. The combination of the spicy ingredients, although balanced by the tangy sourness, was actually quite considerable, and rather unexpected.
Anyway, these pickles were very good, with a great fresh taste, and the very rustic, home-style appearance actually added to the overall appeal rather than distracting from it. The dish was attractive and very tasty, but I think that if I were making this at home I would likely omit the jalapeno as the red oil heat was more than enough for me.