Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 246

"Hot And Numbing" Beef w/Cilantro and Chili Oil: One unexpected result of starting my blog is that it's allowed me to meet people that are involved in Atlanta's food community. I've really enjoyed putting faces with some of the names that I interact with online, and so far, it's been a great experience. Today's lunch led me to a meeting with Dan Aldridge, who writes the "ATL Food Snob" website ( His site contains some great Atlanta restaurant reviews as well as some ambitious recipes, so check him out if you can.

When Dan suggested that we meet at Tasty China in Marietta, I was automatically in. I'd heard of it several times from various sources, but never had a chance to try until today. Their menu features authentic Chinese dishes along with some Americanized items, but we definitely went authentic. I let him do the ordering, and even though everything we ate was really good, one item stood out for me: the hot and numbing beef with cilantro and chili oil. After hearing so much about the Sichuan "hot and numbing" quality, I couldn't wait to find out how it tasted.
Unlike a lot of Chinese dishes that I've been used to, this one was served cold. The only ingredients that I could spot were the ones actually listed on the menu - just thin-sliced beef, chili oil, and cilantro stems with leaves attached. Even though I like spicy food, my tolerance for heat isn't exactly high, so I wondered how my system would react. My stomach wouldn't allow me to wait any longer, so I dove in.
My first few bites were super flavorful, and the thin, tender beef went down easy. The whole thing was awash in the red chili oil, and after another bite or two, I started to feel it. My forehead started sweating, but not enough to stop me. If you like spicy food, I'd suggest buying some of the chili oil from an Asian market (most in the area have several different brands) and sampling the oil at home first. If you don't like the oil, you won't like this dish - there's no good way to dilute it. However, I liked it a lot, and the cold temperature mixed with the spicy oil was addictive. I'll be ordering this again next time, for sure.

In addition, we also had fried eggplant and braised fish dishes that were out of this world. If you like authentic Chinese cuisine (or have never tried it at all), you won't go wrong with Tasty China.


  1. I LOVE THAT PLACE!!! Their hot & numbing eggplant is incredible too! Don't miss their beef chow ho fun served "dry". Next time, I'll meet you there & take you for dessert downstairs at the Middle Eastern Bakery.

  2. Agreed, it was great. I did get a chance to check out the bakery as well, they had some nice stuff. Took home some "mamool" pastries that were pretty good.