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Spicy However You Spell It

May 17, 2018

Recently Mrs. Fussy and I decided to start taking advantage of our flexible schedules and putting weekday lunch dates on the calendar. When you’ve got kids and busy lives, it can be hard to carve out alone time.

Anyhow, yesterday was the first of such outings, and it was a lot of fun. Hopefully we’ll manage to keep it up.

When she asked where I wanted to go, I said “Fairy Sichuan” which is the new restaurant that replaced Northeast Dumpling on Central Avenue. Some people were sad to see our little dumpling shop go. And that’s fair. But how often did people actually visit the place?

I often say that the Capital Region has the restaurants we deserve. Because if the food lovers in the area cannot whip up the demand for an excellent regional Chinese cuisine, it’s not going to last.

On a positive note, we are experiencing a dramatic rise in restaurants specializing in food from China’s Sichuan province. Although I might have been spelling it Szechuan on the blog in the past. Oops.

Chinese is like Hebrew. It has its own characters, and not all of the sounds have clear parallels in English. Anyway, I’m not sure who decides these things, but the current best practice seems to indicate Sichuan is now preferred. So be it.

I’m not sure where the “Fairy” part of Sichuan Fairy comes into play. Mrs. Fussy wasn’t alone in thinking that the word was intended to be “Fiery” and somehow got jumbled in translation. It wouldn’t be the first time. Some of the English translations of warnings along the Great Wall were pretty far out.

Languages are hard. And I’ve been told that food names in Chinese are even harder.

One of the dishes that I love at Shu in Guilderland is Mr. and Mrs. Smith. It’s a very traditional dish of cold slice tongue and tripe in chili oil. But its literal translation is “husband and wife lung pieces”. Presumably there’s a story there.

On our visit to Fairy Sichuan, we actually had some challenges finding the dishes we were hoping to try. The menu is large, and while there are descriptions, not all of them are straight forward.

After taking more of a deep dive into the take out menu, I was indeed able to locate the objects of our desire, and am very much looking forward to getting back. Everything we had, with the exception of the hot tea, was very very good.

If you want to read the full write up of the experience, including pictures, you can do that here.

The FLB has never been about reviews. It’s about larger issues when it comes to food. I don’t know what we’ve done to deserve such a marvelous influx of Sichuan restaurants. Maybe it’s the fact that Ala Shanghai keeps on packing them in, or Taiwan Noodle is always hopping, or that it’s hard to reserve the private room at Hong Kong Bakery sicen it’s always booked.

Perhaps there are some larger geopolitical pieces in play that are making it appealing for people from the provence to settle in upstate New York.

Here’s the big question. Mrs. Fussy was wondering if we deserve to have such delicious Sichuan food. Frankly, I’m not sure. We’ll find out soon enough if in fact we are able to get enough people out in support of these fantastic places.

Because the bottom line is that if people don’t go, they won’t stick around.

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