Xi Yan’s signature, this main is based on a popular Sichuanese cold dish. While the chicken seems to be the central star, the supporting roles of preserved duck eggs, mungbean sheets, roasted sesame seeds, roasted peanuts and Chinese celery are equally important in this masterpiece. Let us not forget that the soy-sauce-based hot and spicy sauce is actually the true star, though it’s easy to overlook. Because at the end of the day, if a sauce is good, anything you dip or serve in it can turn into an outstanding dish. You can request for this dish to be medium or regular spicy. Either way, it’s still very spicy, since Sichuan spice is not the uncomfortable type that burns your tongue. Instead, it warms you up and keeps you coming back for more. The mungbean sheets (similar to wide rice noodles but made of mungbean) and preserved duck eggs are cooling agents to counter the spiciness of the sauce. The peanuts add a crunchy texture in contrast to the smoothness of the chicken. The Chinese celery is diced and seems to be more of a garnish, although its fresh coolness also acts to balance the fire of the dish. It’s pretty amusing that the literal translation of the Chinese name of this dish is “saliva chicken,” but it makes sense to me now as my mouth waters at the mere thought of it.