Whenever people ask where the best Chinese food options are in the area, several establishments in Rockville always pop up as the most authentic. So when a coworker suggested we head out to Sichuan Jin River in Rockville for lunch, I jumped at the chance. Sichuan Jin River isn’t the easiest place to find, so we were glad we were going with a veteran. Sichuan is a province in China famous for its spicy food.
We left the ordering up to my coworker Terry, who spoke in Mandarin to the waitress and picked out a few dishes for us to try. The menu had two sides, one that said “American Chinese food” and the other that said “Authentic Chinese food”. We, of course, went for the authentic side of the menu.
We started off with beef tendon served with a hot chili sauce. It actually wasn’t as spicy as I initially thought it would be and was a nice start to the meal. It came with some type of cabbage while the beef was really tender and delicious.
The next two dishes that came out were probably my favorites. First was the pork and crispy rice cake in a sweet and sour sauce with vegetables. The rice was crispy, think like a Rice Krispies treat but not sweet at all, and once paired with the sauce it got softer and had a great texture. The dish came with these Chinese mushrooms that were so unique and earthy that I couldn’t stop eating them.
Next was the flounder and vegetables in a fiery soup. You could see the endless little chili peppers floating in the soup which I tried my best to avoid. The fish was incredibly moist and had great flavor without being too spicy. We poured the soup over the accompanying rice and devoured each bite.
Finally, we got the deep-fried tofu with hot peppers. This was probably the spiciest dish and also my least favorite. The tofu was crispy and tasty, different than the tofu you would normally get with Asian food which typically has a thick, brown skin. This was actually crispy yet still light at the same time. The only problem was it was a little too oily and it was hard to get past that. Still, a nice dish overall.
We were stuffed by the end of our meal and had ordered just the perfect amount for five people. I can’t wait to go back again and order some different items to try. That is as long as it’s from the authentic side of the menu while someone else is doing the ordering for me!