As you can probably tell from my username, I used to live in Beijing. While I was there, I ate shui zhu yu several times a month, it was one of my favourite things to eat.
This is the kind of shui zhu yu that I'm looking for: it should have fish fillets and it should swim in a fairly light bowl of oil, with a ton of Sichuan peppercorns. The oil is clear so that you can see through most of the bowl. (If any of you have been to Beijing, I'm thinking especially of what I had at Chuan Ban, in the Sichuan provincial restaurant. Perhaps impossibly high standards for LA.)
I've been pretty disappointed by the shui zhu yu that I've come across so far:
1) Chung King in San Gabriel: For heaven's sake, it was sweet and I swear there was sweet and sour sauce in it! Massive disappointment.
2) Shui Zhu Yu Yi Hao (Edit: just discovered that the restaurant's English name is New Chongqing) in San Gabriel: Good try, but for a restaurant dedicated to shui zhu yu, it was curiously disappointing. Also, their fish selection isn't good--I prefer grass carp and they didn't have that. We had ours with catfish and that's not a good fish for this. The dan dan mian here is pretty close to how I like it though.
3) Taste of Chongqing in San Gabriel: The best of the lot so far, especially as they served it with thick fish filets rather than catfish, but the sauce was too thick.
Is it possible to find authentic shui zhu yu here? Major points if you can rec a place that serves it with grass carp too.
Also, while I'm here, are there any restaurants that serve dan dan mian WITHOUT peanut sauce, where it just swims in a small pool of chili sauce, minced pork and Sichuan peppercorns? With the peanut sauce is more Taiwanese than Sichuan, and while it's good, that's another thing I miss, authentic Sichuan-style dan dan mian without peanut sauce.