in the heart of Moab, where Main Street crosses Mill Creek,
Szechuan Restaurant provides a sampler of authentic Asian
cuisine. Attracted to Moab for its small, cozy community,
Yun Ming and Jeannie Huang opened the restaurant in 1997.
After running two similar style restaurants in Arizona for
the previous fifteen years, they were ready to move to a
small town. There were no Chinese restaurants in Moab at
the time, so they decided the town fit their needs, and
consequently, Szechuan Restaurant filled an empty niche.
Their extensive experience in running restaurants is evident
in the popularity of the Szechuan Restaurant. The main menu
offers over fifty items which include seafood, beef, chicken,
vegetarian and an assortment of well-known Chinese dishes.
One of the house specials is the Hot Pot, a filling meal
that comes in five combinations and consists of cooking
the meat, seafood and vegetables in a simmering sauce at
the table. Another delicious meal is Moo Shu, described
on the menu as “tender shredded meat sauteed with
mushrooms, bamboo shoots, egg and cabbage, served with four
Peking pancakes.” Huang ensures the authenticity and
flavor of the food at Szechuan Restaurant by teaching his
staff to cook his recipes himself.
keeping with traditional expectations for a Chinese restaurant,
Szechuan Restaurant offers take out and a copious lunch
buffet. The lunch menu, which differs from the dinner but
still includes thirty-eight choices, is a particularly great
bargain for hungry customers. Each entree is served with
an eggroll, soup, rice and wontons. For diners looking for
a less exotic taste, Szechuan Restaurant also offers traditional
American food, such as T-bone steak, hamburgers, chicken
sandwiches and cheesecake.
Apparently, there are plenty of diners in Moab looking for
something out of the ordinary. In response to customer requests,
the Huangs have recently expanded the offerings of Asian
food in Moab by opening a sushi counter, replete with fresh
tuna, salmon, octopus, seaweed salad and Japanese sake.
Harper Tsai, a longtime friend of the Huangs, all three
of whom are originally from Taiwan, accepted the invitation
to move to Moab and run the sushi side of things.
Before arriving at Szechuan Restaurant, Tsai spent ten years
in Japan, where he learned to prepare sashimi and sushi,
to establish himself in a foreign culture and to speak fluent
Japanese. He is now applying his honed skills with raw fish
and vinegared rice in the back room of the Szechuan Restaurant,
which is decorated with kimono, koinobori (fish kites flown
for celebrations) and paper lanterns.
demonstrates his expertise in running a sushi counter with
the quick, efficient movements of a long-apprenticed chef.
He smoothly slides from pressing the rice in his hands to
making precise cuts in the fish to tightly binding the nori,
seaweed, rolls over an array of mouthwatering combinations.
The sushi rolls incorporate traditional Japanese ingredients,
such as smoked eel, tuna, cucumber and tempura, along with
creative additions, such as avocado, cream cheese and asparagus.
Each roll is served with a side of green wasabi and pink
pickled ginger, making each creation an artwork as well
as a tempting palate-pleaser.
Tsai specializes in creating marvelous dishes that are both
authentic in their ingredients and tantalizing to western
appetites. Although Tsai has demonstrated a proficiency
in sushi preparation, his cooking skills are not limited
to one type of cuisine. Two of his specialties are Taiwanese
Fried Crispy Chicken, a rich spicy dish, and Mango Mayo
Shrimp, a tangy combination of sweet and sour. His understanding
of a variety of ethnic foods is reflected in his deft ability
to mix flavors and textures in such appealing ways.
a quick sampling of Asian food in Moab, Szechuan Restaurant
offers a fresh and varied menu that ranges from traditional
Mandarin dishes to Japanese sushi. The Huangs have broadened
the possible dining options in Moab while finding the comforts
of a small community by moving here. By all means, the Szechuan
Restaurant is a good fit here, bringing a taste of Asia
to a small town in Utah.
Szechuan Restaurant is located
at 105 South Main and can be reached at 259-8984.
They serve breakfast from
8 a.m. to 10 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner
until 10 p.m., 7 days a week. Entrees range in price from
$6 to $16. Take out available.
by Harper Tsai
1 lb. chicken
1 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. white pepper (used in marinade and seasoning)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup sweet potato powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. chili powder (preferably Japanese Dongadashi)
1/8 tsp. Chinese Flower Chili powder
1/8 tsp. Chinese Mixed Herbs powder
• Slice chicken breast in
small pieces and marinate for 2 hours in the mixture
of milk, eggs, salt, sugar and 1/2 tsp. of the white
• Remove the chicken pieces and coat them
in a mixture of cornstarch and sweet potato powder.
Fry in oil in wok.
• After the chicken is fried, toss the pieces
in with 1/2 tsp. each of black and white pepper,
chili powder, Chinese Flower Chili powder and Chinese
Mixed Herbs powder. Serve hot.