OK, it's probably the height of irresponsibility to endorse a dish I haven't eaten. But my other senses are sold on a Bamboo Garden stew of swine that contributor Jay Friedman nominated for our favorite dishes list.
First, it's called "Other Parts of the Pig," which sounds pretty brilliant to my ear. Listed on the "Walk on the Wild Side" portion of the menu, the dish couldn't be better named. When Western-born eaters go looking for the Chinese dishes they can't get at Panda Express, they generally don't want more shredded pork, no matter how authentically sauced. They want - as Bamboo Garden has so astutely realized - the "other" parts of the pig. At Bamboo Garden, that means pork blood cakes and pork intestines.
"We wanted to offer our customers authentic Sichuan dishes but found soon out that some of the original names were hard to "stomach" for some of our customers," the restaurant's website explains. "So we thought long and hard and came up with more descriptive names, as those dishes are too delicious to be put out of sight on a Chinese language menu."
Again, I haven't tried this dish. But it looks incredible. Jay warns that the picture above was shot a few years back, and may not accurately represent the current recipe. Still. Have a gander at those pork blood cakes, each of which is probably packed with enough protein to reverse an anemia diagnosis. And those ripples of vinegary cabbage must play perfectly off the creamy tofu, right?
Most importantly, check out the color: That shade of red alone should make your tongue tingle with peppercorn anticipation. "Other Parts of the Pig" clearly has the potential to be seriously spicy, which is reason enough for me to love it - even untasted. I'm looking forward to getting out to Bellevue soon.