Mouth Fire

December 19th, 2015 § 0 comments

Chinese call it ma la, the combination of fiery heat and numbing, tingling sensations in the mouth after eating fiery Szechuan food with its reliance on Szechuan peppercorns, chile oil, and red peppers. HG had a major league case of “ma la” as HG/BSK; Victoria F. and Marc M.; composer Adam S.; Adam’s friend, Alexis; SJ/EM and family celebrated SJ’s birthday with dinner at Le Vie En Szechuan restaurant on E.33rd Street, Manhattan. Meal started with very tasty, mildly spiced cubes of cucumber plus bowls of appetizing roast peanuts. Delicious, delicate dumplings and wontons in moderate chile oil. Heat took over with subsequent dishes: Dan Dan noodles; Mopu Tofu; fish filets with red peppers in chile oil. There were some milder dishes: Soy sauce noodles; sautéed pea shoots; fried chicken; stir fried string beans; eggplant in garlic sauce. The table finished with a fiery serving of chives and pork. White rice and cold beer didn’t quench HG’s mouth flames. Time, the great healer, soon made HG comfortable. The meal was festive. The tastes were sensational. However, HG did contemplate the element of masochism provided by “ma la”.

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