Located in the coronary heart of San Francisco’s bustling Chinatown is Z & Y Cafe, the city’s award-successful and dignitary desired destination for genuine Szechuan cuisine organized by Chef and Proprietor, Lijun Han. Dining at Z & Y Cafe is an experience to keep in mind.

The menu collection is vast and distinctive to the Szechuan Province and delivers Chef Han’s specialties like Tea Smoked Rotisserie Duck Chicken With Explosive Chili Pepper Very hot Elevated Silver Carp Fish Head With Chili Crispy Garlic Crab and a substantial collection of flaming clay pot dishes ranging from spicy lamb to octopus, and even frog.

There is a variety of dim sum fried rice and noodle dishes as perfectly as beef, pork, lamb and poultry dishes with basic items like Szechuan Chili Lamb Ma Po Tofu Peking Roast Duck Inexperienced Onion Beef Kung Pao Chicken and far more. The seafood selection is also expansive, ranging from Salt and Pepper Prawns to Fish Filet Cooked Reside With Flaming Chili Oil. The tofu and veggie choice are equally flavorful and include things like Pea Sprouts Dry Sautéed String Beans and Eggplant With Garlic Sauce.

While some of the merchandise may audio a little bit daunting, like potentially the Pork Kidney With Spicy Numbing Sauce, Chef Han’s planning of these genuine dishes are tasty and stuffed with one of a kind flavors and spices and certainly a thing to check out here, if any where.

“I would like to keep on educating people on Szechuan cuisine. Like you mentioned, several categorize this delicacies with spicy, Szechuan chili pepper, and pungent. Not lots of of them in fact have an understanding of what Szechuan cuisine is,” explains Chef Han.

“I also wish that guests who dine at my cafe can stroll away with a memorable encounter, both it be the Kung Fu Tea, the Facial area Alter or the food items, I would like them to remember Z & Y Restaurant as a exceptional and genuine Szechuan cafe in the Bay Spot.”

Also crucial to observe? This restaurant has a thing that you are not likely to uncover anywhere else: Kung Fu Tea.

Kung Fu Tea, also known as Gong Fu Cha, is an historic custom that originated from the Szechuan location of northeast China. Warm tea is a staple of standard Chinese foods and below, it’s also a type of enjoyment. In residence is a Kung Fu Tea grasp who pours scorching tea from an unbelievably long spout, employing prolonged, flowing overall body actions and pour strategies that few can do.

We chatted with Chef Han on Szechuan cuisine, Kung Fu Tea and more. Here’s what he had to say.

Teach us on Szechuan cuisine due to the fact there is a perception that all the dishes are really spicy.

Szechuan delicacies, a Chinese delicacies originating from Szechuan Province, is composed of seven flavors: sour, pungent, very hot, sweet, bitter, aromatic and salty. This delicacies is often known for its bold flavors, primarily pungency and spiciness, due to the use of garlic, chili peppers and Szechuan pepper. Szechuan delicacies is also divided into four distinct delicacies styles: Chongqing, Chengdu, Zigong and Buddhist vegetarian fashion.

At Z & Y Cafe, we focus on the 1st two: Chongqing and Chengdu. Chongqing design is the very well-recognised bold flavors with liberal use of the chili peppers and oil. Chengdu design and style has a additional subtle style with significantly less chili peppers. We feature the two models on the menu to welcome guests that love spice-centric food as effectively as attendees that desire mild flavors, but want to working experience Sichuan delicacies.

How does Z & Y Cafe stand out from other dining places in Chinatown? What variety of knowledge can you get at the cafe that you may perhaps not be capable to get elsewhere?

When I was in Beijing, China, I educated and specialized in Szechuan delicacies. Right after relocating to the Bay Area, I acquired that there have been not a lot of genuine Szechuan dining places, so I opened Z & Y Cafe in 2008. When serving at the Consulate Normal of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco, I required to convey in Szechuan society and introduce it to the United States.

On the other hand, I hardly ever had the probability to until finally Z & Y Cafe. In 2017, I launched two Szechuan performances to our friends: Gong Fu Cha (Kung Fu Tea) and Bian Lian (Face Modify). As significantly as I know, we are the only restaurant in California who has these performances. If you have not witnessed them, be absolutely sure to quit by and examine them out!

We did have to place a pause on both equally of these performances all through the pandemic, but now that the CDC has eased the pointers, we plan to deliver the two Kung Fu Tea and Confront Change back again to the restaurant. Observe us on our social media so you know when these performances get started!

Why did you pick Szechuan delicacies? What about it, when compared to other Chinese cuisines styles, drew you to it?

When I was nevertheless finding out in Beijing, China, I was appointed to be trained as a Szechuan chef. Immediately after 3 many years of coaching, I had fallen in love with the range of Szechuan dishes and the various flavors that it brings to the palate. This delicacies can go from pungent and scorching to fresh new and fragrant and serves visitors who delight in particularly spicy food stuff but also friends who like the freshness of Chinese cuisine. It is the ideal delicacies for anyone!

You have cooked for quite a few Chinese presidents in the previous. What was that like and what did you provide them?

Throughout my time in China, I served two presidents: Deng Xiaoping and Hu Jintao. They each really like Szechuan delicacies! Deng Xiaoping’s preferred was Tan Tan Noodles, which is 1 of our common dishes at the cafe. Hu Jintao, on the other hand, enjoyed a more refined taste. His most loved was Wensi Tofu Thread Soup. This is a deluxe soup that includes hand-sliced tofu simmered in chicken stock.

Chat about Kung Fu Tea. Where by did it originate? Is it a popular detail to see in the States? How distinctive is it to your cafe?

As a substitute of currently being a sort of tea, Kung Fu Tea is a way of brewing the tea. It is equally special and entertaining for spectators. These Kung Fu Tea masters have been researching the artwork of the tea ceremony for several yrs in China, so there are only quite number of masters in the United States.

As to the origin, there are quite a few speculations about how this ritual commenced. A single of my beloved speculations is the teapot with the very long spout was created when the Chinese would check out tea homes to discuss politics and companies. As a substitute of going for walks subsequent to the table, the servers would pour the tea through the extended teapot spout, so they would not hear any confidential conversations at the table.