I was in Sichuan, China for a while and became enamored with this dish. But every time I try the dishes of the same name in the US, I am disappointed. Let me explain.... The version I recognize is like the one in these photos:
the fish is presented in a large pan-- like a basin, completely covered in liquid with floating chillies. You dig in, and there are tons of veggies (napa cabbage), mushrooms/woodear, lily and sometimes even clear noodles to be found,
However, every Sichuanese place I've tried in the states serves it like this:
(click the third photo from the left, for "Fish in Spicy Soup Base, xiao la jiao)
The fish is served in a shallow dish, and looks essentially like it was stir fried and sitting in a puddle of oil. It's basically slices of fish in some hot sauce. So far I've tried Grand Sichuan (125 Canal) and Wu Liang Ye, and both were like this, in a shallow disappointing plate.
What is going on? I think the two versions are so different, it's not even a question of "lost in translation".... Does anyone have any suggestions on where to go to eat this dish? Are my expectations whacked? I even welcome suggestions for other cities in the US, if there is none to be found in New York City.
thanks for the help.