1. Mao Chow, London
The humble Sichuan dish, where tofu and minced meat – usually beef – are coated in a bright red spicy sauce, is getting a makeover. Many restaurants now favour pork, but you can also enjoy fiery new vegan iterations using soy protein, like those found at East London’s Mao Chow.
2. Ming Ting, Chengdu
At the other end of the spectrum, Ming Ting in Chengdu uses both pig’s brain and tofu together; the two having textural parallels.
3. Mr Wong, Sydney
In Sydney, chef Dan Hong of Mr Wong created his mapo egg tofu dish using egg custard, reminiscent of a Japanese chawanmushi. Diners get to spoon through the sauce to be surprised with a quivering egg – a reveal to remember. “I use unsweetened fresh soy milk, [instead of] water, to still get the tofu flavour,” says Hong.
4. Chen Mapo Doufu, Chengdu
For purists, Fuchsia Dunlop, author of The Food of Sichuan, suggests Chengdu’s Chen Mapo Doufu, the custodian of the original recipe.