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If you're not careful at Yun Chuan Garden, the Chinese restaurant in Monterey Park, you just might leave on a stretcher. The waitstaff at this severely spicy Szechuan palace, while friendly, is fluent in Mandarin and not much else. It's best to navigate the menu by red chili rating, with three chilies being the sort of nuclear blast that's sure to leave you in tears. No matter what you order, large platters of fried and chopped cuts of beef and pork will somehow arrive under an avalanche of red peppers, steaming and waiting to be conquered. The heat-averse can opt for a $4 three-item tour of the cold dish counter, where chicken feet and seasoned tripe still offer a challenge to anyone unfamiliar with traditional Central Chinese cooking.
You know you're in for an adventure from the moment you set foot in Yunchuan Garden, a Monterey Park stronghold of Szechuan cuisine. In front of you is the cold-dish counter, where, for $3.95, you can pick three items from about a dozen trays overflowing with chicken feet, thinly sliced pork chin and beef with beef stomach and seasoned tripe, among other Western Chinese delicacies. The specialty here, though, is the heat. The kitchen churns out plate after plate of steaming pork, beef and... More »
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