Match of the week | Spicy Sichuan noodles and sour plum tea

Match of the week

Spicy Sichuan noodles and sour plum tea

Although I think the difficulty of matching troublesome ingredients with wine is overrated that’s not true in the case of chilli which is an integral part of many Szechuan dishes. The tofu noodle hotpot I had at my local Chilli Daddy in Bristol at the weekend was definitely a case in point.

In fact the heat level was only 2 out of a possible 5 but even then it built quite markedly as the meal went on, one reason, I imagine, why they served a small bowl of (remarkably delicious) pickled beansprouts on the side.

The drink I’d ordered - a sour plum tea or Suan Mei Tang - also proved to be an effective antidote. It was a curious drink I hadn’t come across before - more pruney than plummy and intriguingly smoky.

According to an informative blog post I came across on The Woks of Life it’s made from several ingredients including dried sour plums and hawthorn berries and is commonly served with hotpot and other spicy foods. Wikipedia says the plums are dried before smoking, hence the smoky note.

Although I wasn’t sure I liked the taste at first it was brilliantly refreshing with the noodles and the more I drank it the more I enjoyed it. Definitely a drink to look out for or even make yourself if you like a lot of chilli.

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