271 Worcester Road
Framingham, MA 01701
In the belly: Sichuan Cold Noodles; Sichuan Style String Beans; Ma Po Tofu; Buddha’s Delight; Fresh Bamboo Shoots with Spicy Wonder Sauce; Chinese Eggplant with Yo Xiang Suace
Rating: The highest lickable; only the best Chinese food I’ve ever tasted…
Sichuan Gourmet serves the best Chinese food I’ve ever tasted. Surprisingly, the restaurant is located in Framingham, a town known for its utter lack of appetizing places to eat. But in the two years since it opened, Sichuan Gourmet has done remarkably well, stealing customers from the veteran Chinese restaurant across the street (Uncle Cheung’s), as well as converting previous Chinese food haters into lovers (me).
On any given night, the place is packed full of Chinese people and South Asian people. This is no surprise, given that 1. South Asians tend to know good food since their own food is so tasty and 2. on SG’s website, they state: “Sichuanese cuisine…has been influenced by dishes from other countries, including Pakistan.” I think the reason my family loves SG so much is because the chili, garlic and oil that form the basis of Sichuan cuisine are also fundamental ingredients in Indian cooking.
That Sichuan Gourmet’s owner and chef are both highly educated in food and science is apparent in their cooking. My favorite dishes are the ones we ordered that night, the ones that balance Chinese flavors with fresh preparation. The Sichuan Cold Noodles are stringy, spicy, and topped with sharp scallions that complement the nutty sauce. The Sichuan Style Green Beans are crispy, tangy, and juicy: in my eyes, this is the best way of eating string beans. The Ma Po Tofu is filled with small, soft pieces of tofu in a fiery, black-bean infused sauce. The small baby eggplants are cooked in a savory Yu-Xiang sauce that is faintly sweet but mostly spice. Not everything is absolutely wonderful: their scallion pancakes are seriously lacking flavor. But for those, I can always go to Mr. Wonton!
Sichuan Cold Noodles: $4.50; Bamboo Shoots: $5.50; String Beans: $8.50; Ma Po Tofu: $8.50; Eggplant: $8.50 Buddha’s Delight: $8.50