The ideal Sichuan water-boiled fish "should have fish fillets and it should swim in a fairly light bowl of oil, with a ton of Sichuan peppercorns," quirkybeijing says. "The oil is clear so that you can see through most of the bowl."
So where can you find the best one in San Gabriel Valley?
Though once beloved, this dish at Chung King is now a "massive disappointment," quirkybeijing says. "For heaven's sake, it was sweet and I swear there was sweet and sour sauce in it!"
And quirkybeijing didn’t think New Chong Qing was anything to write home about, either. The water-boiled fish there is good, quirkybeijing says, but for a restaurant dedicated to the dish, it's a bit of a let down. "I've seen a steep decline in all their food, even their dan dan mien," adds echoparkdirt.
quirkybeijing's does, however, endorse Taste of Chongqing. "The best of the lot so far, especially as they served it with thick fish fillets rather than catfish, but the sauce was too thick," quirkybeijing says.
Meanwhile, Mr Taster's favorite is the Las Tunas branch of Yunnan Garden, which serves "thick, meaty chunks of fish."
And Das Ubergeek recommends Yunchuan Garden. The fish is properly textured and clear yet gently reddish from the chiles and Sichuan peppers, Das Ubergeek says. "And while the name of the place evokes Yunnan province, the menu is 90 percent Sichuan, down to the suanla chaoshou [dumplings]," Das Ubergeek says.
Chung King Restaurant [San Gabriel Valley]
206 East Garfield Avenue, Monterey Park
New Chong Qing [San Gabriel Valley]
120 North San Gabriel Boulevard, San Gabriel
Taste of Chongqing [San Gabriel Valley]
172 East Valley Boulevard, San Gabriel
Yunnan Garden [San Gabriel Valley]
545 West Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel
Yunchuan Garden [San Gabriel Valley]
301 North Garfield Avenue, Suite D102