[Manchester, city centre] Middle Kingdom

Middle Kingdom is the only Sichuan place that we visit with any degree of regularity. And even that “regularity” is relative as our previous visit was last November. That tends to mean you look at the menu and just want to eat whatever was really good last time. For example, the dry fried green beans with pork – an almost vegetarian dish. The beans still crisp, very salty, with dried chilli and with the little flecks of pork acting as no more than seasoning. Gong bao chicken is probably the best known Sichuan dish. And rightly so. There’s nuggets of chicken, crunchy peanuts, spring onion, shavings of ginger, lots of the dried chilli pieces and a little clingy sweetish sauce. It comes together really well in that numbing of your mouth way that Sichuan food gets you. As you’d expect, rice is pretty good and, thankfully, a bit sticky so that cack-handed chopstick users can get it from bowl to mouth

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo