At first glance Chengdu Taste might seem like just another Chinese-American restaurant. The big difference is that Chengdu Taste features authentic Szechuan cuisine in addition to Chinese-American favorites. Many of the menu items showcase familiar Chinese-American fare like crab rangoons and General Tso’s chicken. However, the restaurant really shines when serving its authentic Szechuan cuisine. Many of the Szechuan dishes have unique or uncommon ingredients compared to many Chinese-American restaurants. Those differences, make Chengdu stand apart as one of the best, if not the best, Szechuan restaurants in RI.
701 Main St.
Pawtucket, RI 02860
Service and Atmosphere
Chengdu Taste is a bit of a dive situated in an old Main St. building. The small interior has red lights hanging from the drop ceiling that make diners feel like they’re eating inside a dark room ready to develop photos. The setting is still intimate and the smell of delicious food permeates the air. The service is prompt and courteous, but the online ordering process is spotty at best. Sometimes the orders go through, sometimes they don’t, so it’s always better to call or go in person.
Szechuan and Chinese-American Food
Kung Pao Chicken – Some might think that Kung Pao Chicken has its origins rooted in America like some other Chinese-American dishes. The commonly watered down version surely plays to the American palate, but real Kung Pao chicken retains its fiery chili spice. Chengdu Taste serves a deliciously spicy Kung Pao chicken as well as a less spicy version.
Chicken and Broccoli – Like many Chinese-American restaurants, Chengdu Taste serves dishes like Chicken and Broccoli. They still retain the quality of their cooking whether making authentic Szechuan dishes or Chinese-American fare. The fried rice tastes fresh and delicious as well, but doesn’t have that dark caramelization like some restaurants.
Pepper Steak – Another Chinese-American dish, the pepper steak holds up to the overall quality Chengdu offers. This isn’t defrosted generic food, but rather made fresh to order.
Spicy Braised Beef Soup – I highly enjoyed this soup. The spice level is no joke though, so that’s a warning to those of dainty taste buds. The tender beef melds beautifully with the chewy noodles and the veggies add some nice texture variation.
Dry Sauteed Pig Intestine – Admittedly, this isn’t a dish many Americans know. Spicy dried chili peppers get sauteed with pig intestines until crispy on the outside. Surely not a dish for everyone, but still a very enjoyable experience. Anyone hoping to try the dry saute method, but to avoid intestines, can opt for dry sauteed beef. It features a similar preparation and flavor.
Spicy Beef Tendon – Possibly one of my favorite dishes Chengdu makes includes beef tendon and a spicy red chili oil. The dish comes warm and the tendons vary between pure tendon and tendon with beef attached. You never know which you’ll get. Both taste great, but I personally prefer the pure tendon just for the texture. It delivers the heat from the chili oil in the best possible way.
Chengdu Taste is probably the best authentic Szechuan restaurant in Rhode Island right now. They have something for everyone whether you like it spicy or not. I highly recommend Chengdu Taste for anyone in the mood for Chinese, Szechuan, or Chinese-American fare.
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