I feel like I just left the dentist. My mouth is completely numb and my white t-shirt is covered in red spatters. As long as I don’t talk on the phone or chew gum for the next hour or so, I should be able to get away with not biting my tongue. And this is a good thing – I’d do it again tomorrow.
These are the little bastards responsible – Sichuan peppercorns (Chinese prickly ash).
The dish in question is a Sichuan version of niu ruo mein (noodles with braised beef soup). While the dish is spicy (cellphone cameras aren’t always the best, but yeah, it’s that red…), it’s not because of the Sichuan peppercorns. They actually have kind of a floral taste. What they do to your mouth is another story – they numb it and open up the flavor profile of the chilies in the dish, resulting in a major character trait of Sichuan food – má là (má = numbing, là = spicy).
Chong Qing Hot Pot has been opened by the former owners of the location in the Chinatown Food Court, in the Doraville Plaza Shopping Center.
Liang and Gina, the owners of Chong Qing Hot Pot in the Chinatown Food Court have asked that I clarify some of the confusion here. The two restaurants (the one on Buford Highway, which I’m speaking about here and the one in the Food Court in Chinatown) are not related.
The digs here are definitely fancier (appears to have had a former life as a Korean restaurant). The menu, while still extensive, is a bit easier to manage – it comes in menu form with English descriptions.
Chong Qing Hot Pot
5766 Buford Highway
Atlanta, GA 30340