Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spicylicious Szechuan @ Joy Luck Buffet

When I was younger, I wouldn't touch spicy foods. Though my spice tolerance is still pretty low for an Asian person, I've come to enjoy spicy foods at last! Thank goodness, because otherwise I would not have survived the meal I'm about to describe at Joy Luck Buffet. (While there is a buffet at Joy Luck, no one I know has ever tried it, so I'd suggest you skip right over the buffet and order actual dishes.)

We celebrated Lunar New Year at Joy Luck, and this week Jake, Seth, and I went back for another spicy meal. First was the tofu with thousand-year egg. This is the only dish we ordered that wasn't bright red:

Joy Luck's version is served as a hot dish and with firm tofu. I prefer this dish served cold, but it was still pretty good. If anything, it could have used more egg. (Let's all give a round of applause to Seth, who tried his first thousand-year egg!)

We also had 夫妻肺片 (fūqī fèi piàn), which is basically spicy thin-sliced beef and tripe. I rarely eat these two things (even rarer in combination!), but it was a pretty solid dish.

I would also like to say that the literal translation of this dish is husband-wife lung slice. Man, we Chinese are so poetic! (Thanks to Jake who reminded me what all these dishes were called. His Chinese is stellar!)

Then our chongqing spicy chicken arrived. Battered, fried, covered in spiciness.

As fried as this dish was, it still tasted pleasantly non-greasy. Yum.

Then came my favorite Joy Luck dish: fried hands!!

My ol' housemate Nick introduced them to me and would always call them fried hands. This dish, 红油炒手 (hóng yóu chǎo shǒu), translates to red oil fried hand. [EDIT!! From Jake, "It's actually 红油抄手. Crossed hands, like the way they're folded, not fried hands." Thanks, Jake! hahah though I will probably continue to call them fried hands for the rest of my life.] It's basically wonton-like things filled with pork served in a lot of spicy sauce. Soooooooo delicious. I don't even understand what makes it so tasty. Could be the gallon of sesame oil. Do you love sesame oil? Because I could put it on everything I eat and be really happy with life. Trust me, fried hands are a must order!

Last to arrive was our spicy poached fish.

See how I was not joking about the redness of our dishes? The 10 yr-old in me just gasped and said, "No, I'm NOT eating that!" Now that I know better, I dug right in. While it was pretty good, there wasn't much pizazz to this dish. I thought the fish could have used a bit more flavor. But not bad.

By the end of the meal, we felt our mouths on fire, our foreheads sweaty, and our stomachs about to explode. In other words, we felt the way anyone should after a proper spicy Szechuan meal!

Joy Luck Buffet
8030 Manchester Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63144


  1. omg, the ten year old in me does not want to eat any of this ! hahahahaha. except the hands, because you said pork dumpling and i <3 those.

    you and your friends are just so brave !!!

  2. oh i want that chicken too. looks so crispy!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.