Chili House is one of my favorite restaurants in Taipei. This Sichuan restaurant has been around for nearly 50 years. I remember during their last renovation, the owner promised long-time customers that they would not modify the kitchen. Customers feared that if the workflow changed so would the food. The decor may have changed but the food thankfully has not. I don't go all that often anymore due to my relocation, but when I went last weekend I was pleasantly surprised the wait staff recognized me the instant I walked in.
Taipei is filled with Sichuan restaurants but for some odd reason, I prefer their spicy red oil dumplings. Their chili oil sauce (紅油抄手) for the dumplings (or wontons) is downright addictive. I even bought a jar to take home. It takes five hours to make. It is fragrant, spicy and slightly sweet. It is the first thing I order when I sit down. The second thing I always order is the steamed pork ribs in chili, rice, and pumpkin. It is a tower of tender pork packed in rice and chili over a bed of pumpkin. It is spicy sweet and extremely soothing on a hot day. The AC is always on full blast during the summer, so you want to have something lightly spicy to keep you warm!
If you are worried about a 5-alarm fire spiciness, don't worry! They can adjust to your palette! You should experience the wide range of ways the fragrance of chilies can be applied. Again, this restaurant exists to showcase the fragrance of chilies, it is not just about the heat.
Chili House is also famous for their braised duck blood tofu with mustard greens and pig intestines. For those of you who don't like offal, seriously this is a dish you will want to try with a rice. It is soul food for all Asians.
If you are looking for non-spicy options consider the following: Silken tofu with eggs that are been fried to perfection. Pop one in your mouth and feel it explode! Do you like mushy peas? Try their snow peaks and shredded pork. They aren't mushy but this dish pops. Shredded pork in hoisin sauce with pancake skins is like eating Peking duck. It may not have the crunch but it is still satisfying.
This trip I didn't order their noodles because we were saving room for their egg tofu (we'll post more photos when we go back in a few weeks). Other dishes to try are their kung-pao chicken (宮保雞丁), fried cod with soybean crumbs (豆酥鱈魚), and I love their mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐) over Kiki's Sichuan Restaurant. Expect an update soon!
Chili House is located just off of ChungXiao East Road and a stones throw away from he Sun-Yat Sen MRT Stop
Chili House Sichuan Restaurant
250-3, Chunghsiao E. Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei
Kent is a management consultant who has spent years traveling for work. His refuge is looking for the perfect meal so that he can reproduce it at home with his wife and friends.