I returned to Hunan Chilli King for lunch a few weeks ago after my initial visit. Although the experience of eating there was painful, it was a good sort of pain and I was soon craving more after.
I don’t know if this is only a lunchtime deal, but after the BF and I ordered, the waitress brought out a bowl of porridge with either pumpkin or yam in it as well as the usual small dish of pickled string beans and peanuts. The porridge was bland and comforting, which is a sharp contrast to the highly-spiced dishes to come. I’d like to think that having a bowl of this before diving into the real dishes coated my stomach enough to prepare it.
This time, I ordered what I guess would translate to ‘water-boiled lamb.’ It’s thin slices of lamb braised in a thin spicy, garlicky sauce with plenty of chopped peppers thrown in. There’s a certain, unmistakable smokiness in Hunan Chilli King’s peppers that I don’t usually notice in other peppers. It comes close to the unrivaled chile peppers that I had in some dishes in Fujian province in China. The best way I can describe it is that it’s like a lingering, smokey foreshadowing of the hot pain that’s about to come in few seconds after biting into that pepper.
The bowl of water-boiled lamb was gigantic, but about 1/3 of it was full of chile peppers, bean sprouts and garlic. What’s good about this dish is that you can take the leftovers home and then toss them in the wok with some rice noodles and you’d get another meal or two thanks to the extra sauce and peppers.
Whenever I have friends who say they like and can handle spicy food, I think about bringing them here. I’d like to think that I’m fairly tolerant of heat, but I’m only man enough to barely handle the medium-spicy here. I’d really hate to see what the extra spicy is like.
534 E Valley Blvd
Unit 2 & 3
San Gabriel, CA 91776