Sichuan Citizen

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Address:

30 Donghu Lu

东湖路30号

Category:

Directions:

near Huaihai Lu

近淮海中路

Phone:

5404-1235

Opening Hours:

11am-10:30pm

Price:

¥100-199 for two
Latest update: 05/27/2014

Sichuan Citizen Description

This hopping spot churns out casual Sichuan fare which includes the traditional specialties and modern renditions of the spicy classics. This already-popular venue, brought to you by the owners of Citizen Cafe, serves up a stellar pepper rabbit and stone pot beef.

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  • laowai_zaishanghai
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Visited on 05/31/2014

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Food is fine, nothing special, but the ambience makes it definitely worth it.

What I love about Sichuan Citizen is their BASIL DROPS (vodka cocktail with sugar lemon and basil leaves)! lol... I always go there with one of my good friends for our weekly night out. Which means we pretty much sit at the bar ordering basil drops one after another until we get drunk! The old lady who seems to be handling the place is just lovely and when she sees us coming in she asks the waiters to prepare two basil drops and some nuts even before we can say a word.

Just awesome.

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  • edamame
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Visited on 10/26/2013

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Also my first time back in years. The portions are decent; waitstaff was no-nonsense and efficient. Food not as good as Guyi, but definitely better than DiShuiDong. Good beers on tap!

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  • leemack
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Visited on 09/04/2013

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Never a bad meal here. It's been about a year since last visit. Another excellent meal. Had the jiachang doufu, bullfrog ganguo, and spare ribs. The ribs were not as meaty as I would like, but the bullfrog was really really good, surprisingly! Paired with dead guy ales--total winner.

Posted from the City Weekend iPhone app

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  • shanghaiexpatchina
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Visited on 08/04/2013

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My friend brought me here for Sichuan food one evening knowing how much i like spicy food, may not be the most authentic or the spiciest but the food is still delicious and i thought very good value.

One tip is not to sit beside the door as whilst there is no smoking at the tables you are allowed to smoke around the bar.

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  • msmaxime
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Visited on 03/07/2013

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Well. What can one say? Besides 'Dragon bowl'. Some mushed up fruit, some juice and way too much Bacardi 151. Delicious. Pass it around the table with straws and it's like college all over again. The food was also just as sinfully delicious. We went in like Romans. Ribs (Oh yes). Ma la Tofu. Potatoes. Prawns with onions. Rice balls stuffed with meat. Duck (although what they gave us was mostly bones, if you pirate style go digging for gold, the meat is worth it.) Green beans. soup. Oh and, did I mention the Dragon bowl? All in all, 7 people, drunkenness, a 1000 rmb bill, full bellies and smiles. GO!

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  • alex_castle
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Visited on 11/13/2012

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i love this place, really, truly love this place. the food, the basil drop and the nice service

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  • cjanssen
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I personally like the Citizen for a good foreigner friendly dining experience in Shanghai. The atmosphere of the restaurant is very good and most of the dishes are very tasty. Nothing will blow your mind away but I have eaten here several times over last couple years and it is a consistent good Sichuan dining experience each time. Would definitely recommend!

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  • angmohtsao
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Food is really soso, very very soso.Being located in French concession does help a lot to inflate its fame.-_-

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  • kryztinne
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Great Basil Martinis and Kung Pao Chicken!
The ambience is better on the first floor and very suitable for date!
One of my favorite places to eat and hang out with my friends!

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  • jparker7270
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I like Sichuan Citizen. I have been eating there for almost two years now and I love their simple dishes and inexpensive prices. When I go there I don’t expect to be blown away by exotic new dishes, or wowed by the service staff, I go to enjoy a foreign friendly Chinese meal. Trust me, when your foreign friends come to town the last thing on their mind will be a bowl of “traditional” duck blood soup or sautéed cow’s stomach, they will want to eat a Chinese meal that is Chinese while at the same time remaining vaguely familiar. For that I would recommend the鱼香肉丝 (Yú xiāng ròu sī) or their tasty beef and broccoli. Their hot and sour soup ranks among the best in town.

Keeping all this in mind I happily give this restaurant four stars. It’s not an explosion of designer food, it will never top the charts of a Zagat survey, but you will find everything on their menu is tasty and satisfying. It is the simple, inexpensive home-style cooking that keeps it packed to capacity every night of the week. Give it a try; most of you won’t be disappointed.

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  • oljackburton
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I have to admit, I liked this place since I came to Shanghai, it reminds me a lot of Betelnut in San Francisco and being a drink person professionally I even reverse engineered their charmingly good Basil Drop cocktail (hint basil and a blended vodka gimlet). The problem is however that the place has been on a steady decline, sometimes its the over saltiness of their spicy noodle dish, the inconsistency of their cocktails and the general spaced out malaise of the serving staff. I want this place to be better so I hope they kick it up a notch for the near year.

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  • barfly101
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Went here with my wife for a quick dinner. It was amazing. I ever scored points for taking her to a "romantic place." Service could be more attentive, but the quality of the food was so good, I tend to overlook minor details like that. Well done!

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  • dadabing
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What is the big deal? All my friends keep telling me to go to this Sichuan place with "cool decor" but the only thing I can say that I really liked about the place was the location. The food was normal, totally un-special. Service was nice but clueless. And the decor -- nothing at all interesting about it. The beggars on the street also sort of ruined the location for me. So... not sure why Shanghai is so excited about this place except it is a westernized version of Sichuan food which I guess doesn't scare of true newbies to Chinese food. But I don't really get the big deal.

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  • liliz
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When I arrived with my friends on a monday night, it was fully packed to the brim! So we were ushered to the bar to wait for a seat, and waited for approximately 20 minutes.

Whether it was worth the wait?

I would say that no, the food is excessively oily and not as spicy as the reviews stated. Everything was doused with too much salt and oil, along with very numbing spices (though it was ma la). I could barely grasp the true flavour of the food and didn't quite enjoy myself.

The wait staff was also slow and unclear, bringing 2 bowls of rice to our table and taking it away again (even though we ordered it). After 15-20 minutes, we finally got our 2 bowls back.

The dishes were reasonable priced, but the drinks were hands down overpriced! 35RMB for 1 cup (per pax) of tea?!

The only thing I was impressed with was the authentic oriental decor. Wouldn't quite visit again.

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  • miss_ng_in_action
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I normally enjoy a meal at Sichuan Citizen and was really disappointed with a recent visit. Someone in the kitchen went ballistic with the salt spoon and ruined the taste of the normally decent mapo doufu. There was also a duck dish we tried that was inedible. I had family in town for a short visit and was depressed that I wasted one of their meals taking them to this restaurant when the city has so much to offer.

To their credit, when I complained they eventually removed the cost of the salty dishes from our bill and apologized profusely. Although they did try to convince me that that's the way Sichuan food tastes; when I told them that I've eaten at their restaurant often and this is not normally how it tastes, they were really embarrassed and offered us a free fruit platter.

I'd give them another chance, but just glancing through the reviews on CW (including two polar opposite ones written by myself) ultimately their problem is consistency. I want to know that the food is going to taste good every time I go and that doesn't seem to be the case at Sichuan Citizen.

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  • frani
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Great place to go for a date and sit in the red room, up front by the open doors. The sweet n sour fish for two people is truly a treat! We've eaten here with a larger group in the back of the restaurant and didn't enjoy the ambiance as much. Great drink selection also.

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  • foodbuzz
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The food was fair but greasy in general and not cooked with a lot of care...although I did like the duck dish which you can pull shreds off and was spicy wihout the burning hotness of the rest of the other dishes....the place reminds me of a place in San Francisco called Betelnut and when I told my friend who owns Betelnut...he said he knows of this and they literally copy and pasted his entire design package including the logo! Well...that is China for you...at least thet didn't rip off the Betelnut menu!

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  • shpgg
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Sometimes an old favourite can have its bad days. However, the combination of the right drinks (Basil Drop and fresh lemonade) and company can save the night despite a heavy hand with the sugar in the kitchen.

The cold noodle appetizer was tongue-numbing but too oily. The spareribs with cumin that are always a party favourite didn't disappoint (even if it's usually better at a Hunan joint). The pine nut, sweet-and-sour yellow fish was utterly too sweet even if it's conveniently deboned and served like small fish sticks (perhaps much better at a Dongbei place instead).

Combined with the vegetarian options like sweet corn and sizzling tofu on a hot plate (similar sweet sauce on the fish), my tastebuds were entirely confused.

Finally a last order of chaoshou came as plain wontons since we didn't order it with chilli oil. It was welcome respite to all the cloying sweetness.

Overall, I'd say avoid the sweet-and-sour dishes and venture beyond the basic staples. Sichuan Citizen obviously gets it right in the style and atmosphere that appeals to expats. But you have to order the right balance of flavours for a great meal experience.

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  • lucipher
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Awesome food! Not too heavy and greasy like most sichuan food. Also had other common non-sichuan options for those who don't like spicy food as much. The drink list was filled with creative names, which I enjoyed picking my favorite from.

The service was pretty good. We got our iced water within minutes of ordering (whereas at most chinese restaurant, we either get hot water or none at all).



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  • jendan22
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Have eaten here over the past couple of years a handful of times. This is a great place to bring foriegn guests - the decor is warm and inviting, and the menu is easy to order from. What really shines with this place is the one of a kind drinks (Ginger Splash and Basil Drop are a must - they even have homemade lemonade!) Agree that the service is a bit hard to pin down, but not impossible. Also agree that there are better Sichuan places out there, but you can't beat the warm, welcoming decor, fab drinks and tasty grub for decent price.

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  • zachary_franklin
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Go with a big party, order a bunch of dishes and enjoy the place. Sichuan Citizen doesn't do anything particularly spectacular with its food, but that also isn't meant to be construed as a bad thing. The restaurant has a great menu selection. The make a tasty mojito — in this case "Mao jito" — and I was very surprised by the size of the interior. It's a big space.

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  • yashodhara
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This restaurant made me angry. First off, they have a lovely welcoming door, on a lovely side street so that one has no choice at 1 PM but to be beckoned into very tastefully done up interiors. Then, just when you have salivated at the menu, slouched, taken off your jacket, the food arrives. And what food: Hospital food crossed with railway fare. Bland, boring, white, creamy, mess of a food, with a real backslap to both diners and the rich cuisine. The vinegared potatoes arrived...horrors! without the dry chilis, instead with strips on jullienned green pepper, Gawd! Nothing slid down my throad and I had to ask for a dish of fresh chilis, whcih I personally had to cut up into tiny pieces so I could sprinkle them! Even their chili sauce was mainly garlic. The mapo tofu swam like dead flaoting bodies in a brown sauce with no personality. Never, never ever will I head back, and if only there were restaurants who did a money back guarantee, I would have headed back on Huaihai.

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  • janeyou
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While the ambience might be a little overstated, the dishes we ordered were definitely satisfactory. Their names (Tofu Strips, Dan Dan Noodles, Fried Chicken and Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce, Half a Roasted Duck, Meatballs with Crab Roe) don’t do the dishes justice; each was presented beautifully and tasted just as delightful. They also all paired surprisingly well with the lemon juice drink, which was the perfect blend of tangy and sweet.

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  • iloveshanghai2010
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i liked it, had dinner here last week and was very satisfied - food and ambience. :-)

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  • shanghaiid
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Another restaurant for Shanghai rookies. For those who've been here awhile and had their share of Sichuan food, save your money and skip this one. Service is below average, the food tasteless, and b/c of this it is way over-priced. I'm actually surprised at the amount of good comments here, must be friends of the owners. And the magazine reviews in this city are getting to the point where you simply cannot trust them, are the all of the writers being paid off in free food and drinks? Bottom line: There is MUCH better in this city, it just takes a little effort to find it.

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  • robertpowersiii
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This is my current favorite restaurant in Shanghai. It's the perfect place to take both Chinese or foreign friends. True Sichuan taste, but not too much oil and salt. Perfect balance of refinement and hole-in-the-wall heartiness. My only complaint is on weekends around dinnertime this place gets too crowded and the service begins to suffer.

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  • ispyshanghai
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Love this place and visit regularly- the decor and lighting are classy but comforting, the drinks list is good, and the food is excellent.

I've noticed changes to the level of spice and <em>ma</em> over several visits but think they're now pitching it about right for the mainly ex-pat crowd that go.

Duck with potato, home style chicken, twice-cooked pork and the shrimp are all great. Like someone else said, this is the 1221 of Sichuan food- you pay a little more than a local joint, but it's great to take visitors, stays open late, nobody spits bones on the table and if you want dumplings, they got dumplings.

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  • xksb
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The food is fine, but we ordered 3 dishes during lunch and waited 15 minutes for each dish to be served. I don't get why they can't serve the dishes together. It wasn't even that busy during lunch on a Thursday. The laowai waiter has no idea what's going on. It's sad because the food is actually quite yummy and reasonable priced.

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  • killmenau
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Ate here last weekend and was pretty impressed. Some of the food was a little bland, and for a "foreigner-friendly" spot I really would have liked a little less bone in ALL of the meat. Still it was solid Sichuan food and definitely well priced. The service was pretty good and the atmosphere excellent. Had one of their signature cocktails and was impressed by it (it would be cool to see some Baijiu mixed into that cocktail list I think). All in all, Good place for if the folks ever visit.

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  • collin
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I'm always impressed that there aren't more restaurants in Shanghai that are designed to impress/please expats. This place reminds me of 1221 but Sichuanese. When overseas friends are in, or if you can't be bothered to think of a "good restaurant," I'd recommend Sichuan Citizen. Good lighting, spacing, ambiance and reassuring Chinese food.

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  • scorpiodragon
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Was initially impressed by the set up - front is a bar but behind the bar is a huge dining hall, nicely partitioned for privacy and a 2nd floor (great for parties). The menu was also impressive offering a wide range of dishes at very reasonable prices. Ordered way too many dishes than the 4 of us could handle (as we wanted to try so many of the dishes) and sad to say was disappointed by ALL of them. Everything was mild with no depth - plus quite a few of the dishes tasted the same (is it some sort of standard spice sauce they add?). Anyway, was disappointed by the food - lots better Sichuan alternatives in Shanghai so won't be back in a hurry.

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  • froschkoenig
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thank you invidia. the food is cheap but mamahuhu. even xin wang does a better job in balancing spices. 30RMB for tsing tao draft is a wee overpriced for a chinese place. i like the backpacker meets suzie wong kind of deco and their big tables. we were seven and had a good time. at least the place is unpretentious. big let down: at 10PM on a saturday night with maybe five tables left they started some really noisy construction work. we kindly asked the manager (the nice but stressed looking french guy in the chinese uniform) if he could stop the noise. he could not so we moved on. we will back because it is nicer than xin wang and there was no msg in any of the dishes we had.

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  • invidia
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The food here tastes better than the misguided ambiance suggests, but Sichuan Citizen won't get my vote: the chef is not a cheat, but not a star either. All the dishes we ordered were decent, but over-salted and dull, which puts this kitchen solidly on the B-team.

I can't say I was sold on the backpacker lounge concept either. At first the staff's insistent attempts to boost the atmosphere were repeatedly reverted, but eventually, the battle with the customers was won: the yellow lights went even dimmer and the subsonic bass was cranked up. It played Chicago (yes, the band).

So, if not the food, and not the ambiance - then why bother?

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  • joanney
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New Eats | **Spice Happy*

The follow-up to Shanghai favorite Citizen Café on Jinxian Lu, Sichuan Citizen is destined to have the same popularity and longevity as its sister venue. This cavernous, traditionally-styled two floor restaurant is the very definition of renao : the food is hot and the atmosphere boisterous. Having once wept openly from Chengdu's blistering dishes, our taste buds
know something of traditional Sichuan cuisine, and the guy waving the spatula in the kitchen does too.

The fish-flavored eggplant (¥18) was sweet and spicy and the mapo tofu (¥18) (the yardstick of any Sichuan joint) was hot, but
not over the top, and had nice, firm tofu. The standouts were the pepper rabbit (¥38) and the stone pot beef (¥38). The beef was as gorgeous as it was delicious. Our wooden chopsticks clicked and fought over every morsel.

The rabbit was flavorful, with a pleasant Sichuan-pepper numbness that necessitated many TsingTaos (¥30) throughout the night. The service was prompt and polite, with active management, though they could have turned down the oddly upbeat music. As
the restaurant filled up, the renao soon became just plain nao. We left sated, warm and smiling through tingly lips. The hallmark of any restaurant is how quickly you want to return, and we’ve already made
our next booking. **Benedict Porter**

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  • joanney
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mm...cauliflower with bacon does sound rather oddly appealing. I have to try it sometime.

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  • incognito
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Went here the other day with a friend and everything we tried was delicious. The atmosphere is nice and comfortable, so Sichuan Citizen makes it on the list of places to take visitors. We tried mostly spicy dishes that were recommended with their "thumbs up" sign and were not at all disappointed. Mapo doufu and a calliflower with bacon dish were my favorites. We liked that it wasn't very smokey either... I hope it stays that way.

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  • cityweekend
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Sichuan Citizen's **Ginger Splash** was highlighted in [Shaken and Stirred](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/articles/blogs-shanghai/shanghais-nightlife/fiery-fare-cohort-the-ginger-splash-at-sichuan-citizen/) on the [CW Nightlife blog](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/articles/blogs-shanghai/shanghais-nightlife/)

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  • thaifoodstation
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My best dish is Spicy fungus so healthy and Yuzi smash tastes like Si Shuan Margarita:) YUM

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# 290
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  • Sichuan Citizen

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    Based on Users' Reviews

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    Total reviews: 38

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    City Weekend Review

    Sichuan | Sichuan Citizen April 2010

    We must admit, Sichuan Citizen is one of our favorite Chinese restaurants. So we were more than happy to head down and check them out again after they recently renovated their kitchen. Their new workspace didn’t bring any new menu items, but our food did come out a bit faster than usual–a welcome change.

    We ordered like it was our last supper. We tried to balance the ever-present spice with a garlic cucumber salad (¥12), but ended up having to self-medicate the sting with basil drop cocktails (¥45). The barbecue pork spareribs with cumin (¥48) are fabulously full of chili and cumin seeds, although we wish there would have been a touch less fat and oil. They also have a very good eggplant in spicy-sweet garlic sauce (¥22) that’s not too oily. We have long admired the crispy beef with plum sauce (¥38), as the flat pieces of meat used are deliciously bludgeoned beyond recognition before getting breaded and fried to perfection. And of course, we always fall victim to the addictive, hauntingly spicy mapo dofu (¥22).

    Moving away from our usual standards, we tried the duck and potato stew (¥58) and sunk our teeth into the mild spice of the duck flesh and velvety smooth potato hunks. The dry sautéed cauliflower with Sichuan bacon (¥28) evenly balances flavors as the high water content of the vegetables dilutes the saltiness of the pork. When the fried sweet corn (¥18) arrived, we were confused because it looked like corn pops, but we soon found ourselves fighting for handfuls of it as we refilled our basil drops. Overall, things don’t seem that different, which is a good thing for those of us who have already been won over.

    ■ Cristina Ng

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