Last night I ate dinner at Red Chili, one of the best Chinese Sichuan restaurants in Sydney. It is slightly tucked away, so doesn't have the headline factor and queues out the door, but it is always packed. All I have been able to think about since we left is how delicious it was.
I've been thinking a lot about Chinese food lately, in large part due to my new cookbook, Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop. I've been pouring over this book even more than I normally would with a new cookbook; it seems to hold the answers to secrets and riddles that I feel will change my life if I can just figure them out. I have had so much fun choosing a recipe, heading off to Chinatown and sourcing strange new ingredients. Upon returning home with the loot, the process of cooking is super-easy and sizzlingly fast and exciting, and the result has been Food Heaven every single time.
Dunlop's name on the cover of a magazine in a bookshop window thus caught my eye, and I am mighty glad it did. Lucky Peach; The China Town Issue is a great read. It is published by McSweeneys and other contributors include Harold McGee and Anthony Bourdain. It's just lovely to read about people's food memories, recipes, experiments and musings in such a fresh and smug-less way.
I am slowly chipping away at a few other things, most of which are food related. Increasingly, reading about food makes me happy and content with life. Perhaps it's the interactive potential, perhaps it's my greedy appetite, or perhaps it's linked to how food is a soother and comforter in times of uncertainty and distress.
I have just made myself quite hungry looking at google images of "Red Chili Haymarket" to add to this post, but nothing quite fits the bill. Instead, here are some words with which you may create your own image of what we ate last night: Pumpkin deep fried in duck yolk and salt, sizzling chicken stirfry with mixed mushrooms and vegetables, pork ribbons and leek in chili oil.