Published in Michelin Guide (October 2017)
A Story of Passion: Success and Love for Asian Cuisine
— An Interview with “Zest Szechuan”
New York is a world-class metropolis and global cultural hub where the diverse cultures contributes to its colorful cuisine treasures. It has the famous bagels, cheesecakes and pizza brought along by immigrants from the Central Europe and Italy; the dietary structure is also enriched by those Asian restaurants. New York, according to the statistics, has over 1 million Asian Americans, more than any other American cities, even more than San Francisco and Los Angeles combined. In the USA, where there are Chinese there will be Chinese restaurants. Extensive coverage of Chinese restaurants around the nation attests to the significant role of Chinese food in American food culture. Today, we will visit a Chinese restaurant in New York that offers traditional Chinese food —”Zest Szechuan”.
Sichuan cuisine is one of the four traditional cuisines with Chinese characteristics. It is also one of the eight Chinese cuisines and known as “one dish a grid, 100 dishes feelings”. Adhering to the concept of traditional Sichuan cuisine, “Zest Szechuan” committed to the dissemination of traditional Chinese food culture, not affected by “American Chinese food” which has been transforming for almost a century. Lily Ma, a restaurant owner who went to the United States in 1999, knows the needs and perseverance of gluttonous customers for food and has a better understanding of contemporary American Chinese food and traditional Chinese food. Just over a year, “Zest Szechuan” has got diners’ recognition, from carefully selected dishes, seasoned Sichuan chefs, to strictly checked food.
Anthony Borden, a US TCL famous food column host, said: ” Mapo Tofu” is the most delicious food he had ever eaten.
Gao Xiaosong, a famous director, screenwriter and music producer, said: that Spicy Pig Kidneys is “The best Kidney in North America”.
Without magnificent decoration or luxury interior layout, “Zest Szechuan” just quietly stands near New York Times Square, using its unique aroma to arouse the diners’ sense of smell.
Welcome to “Zest Szechuan” for friends sip or family reunion. You’ll be sure to relax your body and soul after work, and enjoy the warmth of home in such elegant dining atmosphere.
Lily Ma recommended some of the specials, such as Beef Tendons & Tripe w. Peanuts and Chili, Dan Dan Noodles, Smoked duck, Spicy Diced Chicken, Braised Fish Fillets in Chili Sauce, Double Sautéed Pork Belly, Mapo Tofu, “Chong Qing Grilled Fish” etc. “Chong Qing Grilled Fish” is particularly worth mentioning, because “Zest Szechuan” broke the traditional concept that westerners won’t eat barbed fish. Many Western diners, directed at the grilled fish, came to “Zest Szechuan”, which makes us aware of the heavy responsibility other than joy. Chinese food has experienced from the “Chop Suey” brought by Li Hongzhang during his visit to America to “General Tso’s Chicken” deeply favored by westerners, and Canton cuisine dominating Chinese Town to the omnipresent American Chinese foods. Traditional Chinese cuisine, undergoing for more than 5,000 years, still has a long way to go for being accepted by westerners and being inherited, which definitely needs more restaurants like “Zest Szechuan”.