BRICK LANE | E1
Sichuan Folk just off Brick Lane is one of my staple venues for lip-numbing Sichuan food, and it's been reviewed and praised by some of the national heavyweights too, including The Guardian and The Telegraph.
Their main menu doesn't meet our London Cheap Eats budget (although it's not far off, so it's worth popping back one evening when you have some extra change), but at lunchtimes you can strike a deal, and choose from around 20 dishes for just £7.
I went for the "fish-fragrant" shredded pork with rice, which actually has nothing to do with fish, but refers to a Sichuan salty-sweet seasoning used in meat dishes and with aubergines. The soft pork is fried with crunchy wood ear mushrooms, and is a total flavour explosion. Like all lunch specials, it's served with rice and a small soup of the day (pork rib soup during my visit).
Another solid option is the twice-cooked pork. The slices of belly are first boiled, then fried with ingredients like spicy bean paste, prickly Sichuan peppercorns, red peppers, and spring onions.
These punchy Sichuan recipes do tend to be oily in nature, and some are liberal with the MSG, so perhaps let the friendly staff at Sichuan Folk know if that's not your thing. The £7 Lunch Special menu is available every weekday, 12pm - 2.30pm. Note: cash only, and you can make a reservation through their website.
Words and photography | Steph Chan
32 Hanbury Street E1 6QR
Mon - Sun | 12pm - 11pm
Website | sichuan-folk.co.uk
Tel | +44 (0)20 7247 4735
Last updated | 30th Jan 2017