I've been back to Spring World twice since my last post. The first time, my appetizer was the scallion cakes, which were not so good: while crispy, they were oily and didn't have much scallion flavor. My main course was the eggplant with garlic casserole, which was good, but not as good as either of the dishes I'd had on my earlier visit.
My most recent visit was much better. My entree was the lamb and fish stew - or, to give it the name on the menu, the lamb stew and fish sour pickle casserole (in the Yunnan section). In addition to the lamb and fish (but no sour pickle, as far as I could tell), there were plenty of cellophane noodles, some type of greens, chilis and various spices. It was very good, the fish being particularly tasty.
But once again it was outshone by my appetizer, spicy crispy pork with noodles (actually listed in the snack section). I'd ordered this in hopes of getting the spicy pan fried slice pork recommended by Vital Information. I didn't, but have no complaints. The dish is a bowl of noodles like the kind you get in dan dan noodles, with ground pork and sesame seeds mixed in (the latter presumably being where "crispy" comes in), sitting in a pool of what I'd guess is chili oil. The chili oil is invisible at the bottom of the bowl, so you have to stir it up (and even then, most of it sinks back to the bottom, my only complaint with this dish). Simple, and utterly delicious.
A couple of sociological notes. Word on this restaurant apparently hasn't spread: all three times I went there, I was the only non-Asian customer. And on my third visit, which was at 5 PM on Friday, I noticed that while most of the restaurants in the mall were nearly empty, and Spring World (which is a small restaurant) was between a third and a half full, Lao Sze Chuan and Joy Yee were packed.
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