Atlanta is not exactly known for its authentic Chinese food, which is really kind of sad, since this city generally adheres to a pretty high standard of culinary excellence. This is especially sad for me because I’ve gotten more and more into Chinese as I learn to block the horrors of my summer camp’s “stir fry” (which, to me, represented for years everything that China had to offer me culinarily) out of my active consciousness.
If summer camp was the dark before the light–and years of “Asian fusion” were the rising action, and a summer in Vancouver provided a momentary peak with a single plate of dumplings, and if I was temporarily set back to almost summer camp levels by Chopsticks, the “Chinese” restaurant in Williamstown–then the highlight up until about three weeks ago would be my trip to Toronto with Dan back in May. I don’t think I was ever hungry in Toronto because I was trying to sample everything that was offered to me by his grandpa.
Anyway, I had all but given up hope that I would find good Chinese food in this city, Cantonese or otherwise–which is why I’m happy that a series of factors lined up in my favor; indeed, the Fates have smiled upon me and decided to give me good Chinese ITP.* As it turns out, a peripatetic Sichuan legend has settled in Atlanta for the time being, and both of my parents read articles about him independently of one another. When they realized that they had both heard of this Peter Chang guy, it was quickly concluded that we all had to go there.
So I’ve been there three times within two and a half weeks. Does that qualify as an obsession yet? I went twice with my family, and last night I introduced it to A.Sals and J1 and J2 (new to the blog). I’ve gotten something different every time, which is basically unheard of in Casual NoshStyles land. Yes, it’s that good.
Chang is known for his “hot and numbing” combinations, but it seems like he’s pretty good at everything he tries. The soup dumplings are really delicate, and even the lowly scallion pancake is jazzed up with air and some curry sauce. Last night, we decided to order 5 main dishes and share them around, and that was a great call: we got to try a lot more of his cooking styles that way, since we ordered one of every category on the menu (Sichuan, local, chef’s specialty, American-style).
I’m trying to eat here as much as possible before he decides to leave town (and before I do too). I will never get enough hot and numbing beef. You heard it here first.
* ITP = Inside The Perimeter, a criterion which is very important to other people ITP, and not important to those OTP.