Koushuiji literally translates as "mouth watering chicken," and it's easy to see how the Sichuan dish got its name. If you're craving this spicy chilled specialty, here are a few restaurants that really shine.
Sanlitun | Transit
Transit’s koushuiji (RMB75) is a well executed and elegant dish, but remains true to traditional flavors. The bowl is filled with a spicy oily broth and layered shreds of pulled chicken. The texture of the chicken is succulent, and we like that this version is off the bone, making the dish more pleasant to eat. The authentic spice is pungent, but half the amount of oil is used, transforming this usually oil-heavy dish into a light and heavenly treat.
Wangfujing | Made in China
Made in China is known for Beijing duck, but their koushuiji (RMB48) shouldn’t go unnoticed. The chicken here is flown in from Hainan—it’s the tender variety usually used in Hainan chicken rice. The meat is soaked in a more northern-style sesame majiang sauce, with peppers from both Sichuan and Gansu. The spice here is more ma than in other renditions of the dish, with cool, fresh cilantro. The sprinkles of sesame seeds add a sensational fragrant crunch.
Sanyuanqiao | Chongqing Municipal Government Restaurant
You may think of Chuanban for a traditional rendition of koushuiji, but locals we spoke to and Dianping.com reviewers were most enthusiastic about this provincial government restaurant on the second floor of the gaudy Chongqing Hotel. The koushuiji (RMB35) comes on the bone, so prepare to gnaw off your meat to take pleasure in all the spicy goodness. The slippery skin is left on this poached chicken and the interior emits supple and gummy textures.