Sichuan Fortune House (Pleasant Hill, SFBA)

A tip on another thread led me to Sichuan Fortune House for their lunch specials, which enable a solo diner to eat Sichuan specialties that usually require a group or excessive leftovers. Lunch specials come with rice and a cup of hot and sour soup.

The water boiled fish seemed to be the choice of diners who weren’t ordering Chinese American dishes, and the generous portion and bold spices explain why. For the portion size and price, I was surprised it was sole. The server told me that they can get sole (lóng lì, 龍脷) at a good price from a restaurant supplier.

The Chinese bacon and cauliflower was delicious but so intense with salt, smoke, and umami that I left behind some meat and ate it with leftover rice later that night. Next time I might ask for more cauliflower and less bacon.


“Water-boil…” is one of my favourite dishes in Sichuan. The meat version is so good, too.

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Green Sichuan peppercorns can be overwhelming to bite, but embedded within the holes of their Stir-fried spicy lotus root slice, the citrusy and numbing spice felt at home. The lotus was fresh crunchy, and neither as browned nor as absorbent to seasonings as dry salty Sichuan or Hunan lotus preparations I’ve had elsewhere. I don’t know whether that’s intentional or not, but it did come across as an approachable single dish meal. Celery and peanuts provided additional crunch.