Your insider’s guide to Hong Kong

Five of the best Sichuan restaurants in Hong Kong

Turn up the heat at some of Hong Kong’s spiciest restaurants

Words: Rachel Read

When the temperature plummets in Hong Kong, which it surprisingly does during winter, turn up the heat at some of Hong Kong’s spiciest restaurants. And with their signature mala blend of lip-tingling chillies and mouth-numbing peppercorns, no cuisine brings the fire quite like Sichuan.

Sijie
While the décor at this unpretentious Causeway Bay restaurant might be no-frills, the food is anything but, with a menu of traditional dishes that delivers mouth-watering hits of those trademark Sichuan spices. Must-orders here include the addictive cold noodle appetiser (sour, spicy, salty, tangy… this dish has got it all), and delicately poached fish swimming in a bowl of fiery-red chilli oil, complete with a bed of flat jelly noodles underneath to soak up all that punchy flavour. The $320 per head menu allows diners to pick a set number of appetisers and mains depending on the size of their party – round up a bigger group to make the most of the generous servings.

10/F Bartlock Centre, 3 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay, +852 2802 2250

Note: Sijie photos by Gary Suen

Qi House of Sichuan
For a meal that scales the heights of the chilli Richter scale, head to the Michelin-starred Qi House of Sichuan. While this sleek contemporary restaurant boasts an atmospheric interior, glamorous private room and swanky outdoor terrace (plus a knockout harbour view at its sister venue in Tsim Sha Tsui, Qi Nine Dragons), it’s still the fiery food that remains the star attraction. Helpful symbols direct you to the hottest items on the menu – whether it’s the explosive “spicy” kick from chilli peppers, garlic and ginger, or the numbing mala tingle from Sichuan peppercorns. For a true show-stopper, pre-order the chilli-fried Dungeness crab; it’s the perfect balance of delicately sweet crab meat, crunchy spicy batter and intense heat.

Shop 12, 2/F, J Senses, 60 Johnston Road (entrance on Ship Street), Wan Chai, +852 2527 7117
qi-sichuan.hk

20/F & Rooftop, Prince Tower, 12A Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 2799 8899
qi-ninedragons.hk

Chilli Fagara
In Hong Kong’s fast-paced food scene, you know a restaurant is doing something right if it’s managed to survive in Soho for well over a decade – and such is the case with Chilli Fagara, which opened in 2005. Its menu, including an impressively large vegetarian selection, is split into three sections; their chef recommends beginning with the tang (neutral) dishes, then progressing to the ma (numbing) items, before finishing with the blazing fireworks of the la (burning) creations. Try the restaurant’s beef glazed with caramelised garlic-ginger sauce for a masterclass in contrasting textures (a thin crispy exterior and meltingly tender meat within) and balanced flavours (an incendiary sweet-salty-spicy combo) – and don’t forget to grab a few of Chilli Fagara’s homemade spice blends, nuts and sauces to carry on the spice party back at home.

G/F, 7 Old Bailey Street, Central, +852 2796 6866
chillifagara.com

 

San Xi Lou
This much-loved Mid-Levels institution recently opened a spacious second branch in Causeway Bay – and with an extensive menu spanning Sichuan, Cantonese and dim sum fare, hungry diners will be spoilt for choice. Nevertheless, it’s the restaurant’s famous hotpots that are the most popular draw here, with the “Sichuan Style Spicy Broth” and “Spicy Bandit Broth” certain to set your taste-buds alight. Opt for a split pot, with a tamer soup base in the other half, if you’re dining with friends who can’t handle the heat. If you still have room for more, order the mapo tofu with lobster for a decadent twist on the humble Sichuan classic.

7/F & 22/F, Coda Plaza, 51 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong +852 2838 8811 (7/F) or +852 2868 0988 (22/F)
Shop 1102, 11/F, Food Forum, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, +852 2111 9952
topstandard.com.hk

Deng G
For a modern take on traditional Sichuan cuisine, pay a visit to Deng G – the first Hong Kong outpost for renowned Chengdu-raised chef Deng Huadong of Deng G Shanghai. With a deliberately lighter cooking style that uses less oil and showcases fresh ingredients, Chef Deng’s dishes boast a more intense, clean and complex taste. The menu is split into several different flavour profiles, like lychee, pepper salt spicy, mala and yu xiang (a Chinese seasoning mix that literally translates as “fish fragrance”). The venue is spread over two floors; light bites with some potent tipples await at the baiju bar on the second floor, with the main dining area and private rooms located on the third. Favourites here include Chengdu-style pork dumplings with a nuanced sour-but-spicy sauce, tender camphor smoked duck, and a fiery but refined bowl of braised sliced Mandarin fish in red chilli soup – with chewy potato noodles to soak it all up, of course.

2/F, 147 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, +852 2609 2328
elite-concepts.com/dengg

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