#alienadventures: nirvana for chilli lovers. Perfect for cold weather.

If you love chilli, you’ll LOVE Chong Qing chicken – a Chinese dish from the Sichuan region, known for its spicy food. I first came across Chong Qing Chicken in Singapore. I had just flown in and it was my birthday, so I wanted to celebrate with a special meal. I honed in on the local specialty – cracked, black pepper crab. My partner chose from a picture: a chicken dish laced with dry red chilli, which turned out to be Chong Qing chicken. It is a dish made with 3 different types of heat: dry red chilli (a disproportionate amount of them), fresh green chilli and if that’s not enough, a generous dose of whole Sichuan pepper corns. The sight of all those dry red chillis is alarming, but you’re not supposed to eat them – a mistake many people make (it will blow your brains away…you have been warned). As with some Indian dishes the dry red chillis are cooked whole, and only used for flavouring. They give a distinctive warm, smokey flavour, which is delicious.

Deadly but delicious.

It is a pity we did not have the wisdom of hindsight on that fateful night in Singapore. We shared our dishes and tried to munch our way through as many chillis from the Chong Qing chicken dish, as was humanly possible. The combination of extreme jet lag, a good beer buzz (what you drink with this sort of meal, in this part of the world), and an overdose of endorphins from 3 types of chillis provided a classic Alien Adventure.

In South Africa I have only come across Chong Qing chicken in a tiny Chinese restaurant in Pretoria – but they call it (phonetically)”Khing Bow Kai”. If you are a chilli devotee make the effort to find the Phoenix Restaurant (#2 Serene centre, cnr Winifred and Serene streets, Garsfontein – tel: 012 361 1101) and speak to the affable owner Mr Johnson Wong.

If you don’t want to venture to Pretoria for a culinary adventure, or feel like flexing your cooking talents, you can try this recipe at home: http://www.chinesefoodrecipes.org/chinese-chicken-recipes/chongqing-spicy-chicken-recipe/

Hint: When eating this dish, keep extra serviettes at hand – there will be profuse sweating…

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