I have been on a food blogging hiatus, as you know (my last post was sometime in 2016).
But Si Wei Mao Cai is a place that's just so delicious, I had to blog about it.
I've been eating alot of Sichuan food recently. The good Sichuan food places (such as Si Wei Mao Cai) is not just about heat. Yes, of course there's heat (spice), but there's also lots of complex flavours that come together to form a harmonious whole. There's also some sweetness, saltiness, acidity, and all sorts of other flavours. The lesser Sichuan places - unfortunately - only have spice and not much else.
Si Wei Mao Cai (located along Mosque Street) is reputedly one of the best Sichuan restaurants in Singapore. I've visited 3 times, and I can see why it's so highly rated. The flavours are bold, complex, and yet well balanced.
Take the appetizers of Kou-Shui Ji pictured below; and the Fuqi Fei Pian.
The Fuqi Fei Pian (beef lung in chilli oil) pictured here is one of my favourite dishes; it's just really tasty from the use of fragrant chilli oil and garlic and it really makes you want to keep on eating it. (8.5/10) I've eaten many Fuqi feipians from other Sichuan restaurants but this is the one to beat.
On the left is "kou shui ji". This is chicken in chilli oil. Pretty decent as well.
The other appetizer we tried was a pork with garlic and chilli oil. Again, pretty spectacular. But I guess if you've eaten the fuiqifeipian and the koushuiji, you don't need to eat the pork with garlic and chilli oil since it's doused with a similar chilli oil dressing.
On to the main dishes, then.
Our favourite of the night was the fish with dried chilli flakes. This was seriously amazing. I tried a version of it the first time I visited but alas it wasn't so fragrant that time round. This time, it was really amazing; lots of strong flavours, incredible fragrance. All the spices in harmony with each other. This is a stellar dish: 8.5/10
Their stewed duck with potatoes was also another winner. Although the duck parts were not so tender, the stewing sauce that covered the duck paired very well with the duck and accentuated the duck's natural flavours. 8.25/10
We had some gan-chao (dry-fried) mushrooms as well, with some aromatics. Pretty decent. I enjoyed trying the various shapes and sizes of wild mushrooms, with enough heat to keep things interesting. 8/10
"Mao Cai" is a stew-like dish originating from Chengdu comprising a variety of vegetables and meat in a mala sauce. I guess that's where the restaurant got its name. Their maocai was pretty good as well and was certainly tasty, although the consensus was that the other dishes were perhaps more interesting.
We also ordered some cold bittergourd which was refreshing, as well as a sour soup with mustard greens and beef.
All of the dishes were done very well.
At a previous dinner there, I had the si-ji-dou (long beans) which is a quintessential Sichuan dish, which was also competent. The la zi ji (not pictured) was also excellent - tasting of popcorn chicken (remarked a dining companion of mine).
I can see myself coming back to Si Wei Mao Cai again and again. Thinking of going back this week if there's anyone to go with. Yums!