Queues, largely of young Chinese, form nightly at this low-key Sichuan restaurant near Liverpool Street. A visit can be a frustrating experience for non-Mandarin speakers: staff are brusque and know little English, so complex requests are out of the question. Expect that part of your order might never arrive; you may also see fellow diners eating things that don’t seem to be on the menu.
Food is very cheap, though (around £7-£11 for massive main courses) and uncompromisingly authentic: many plates come mined with Sichuan pepper and cluster-bombed with sliced dried red chilli – the ma la (numbing-spicy) combination typical of that area. Local classics such as twice-cooked pork belly and kung pao chicken are faithful renditions, and vegetables are treated well here too: dry-fried green beans with chilli makes a good sharing dish.
Adventurous eaters can delve around the innards of various beasts with the likes of deep-fried intestine, pig’s liver and ‘married couple’ sliced lung. Make sure you try cumin-spiced barbecued lamb skewers (£1 each): technically a Uyghur dish from Xinjiang in the far west of modern China, but delicious nonetheless.