4957 Diane Ave
San Diego, CA 92117
A few weeks ago, I paid a visit to Ba Ren and had a bunch of their non-spicy dishes which can be read about here. During the visit, we were given $8 coupon off our next visit. Since the coupon was going to expire soon, I went and paid Ba Ren another visit to use up the coupon.
Here is a copy of the menu. A lot of the prices are actually a few dollars cheaper. They have marked down a bunch of their prices, but it doesn’t reflect on the paper menu.
This time around, we wanted spicy dishes. And I decided to be adventurous and try some new dishes rather than sticking with all our usuals. We got a plate of the cold appetizer. Ba Ren has a lot of cold appetizer dishes that are displayed near the entrance of the restaurant. You can get a small plate of three items for about $5. I really enjoy their cold appetizers and I think a lot of them are well made. It’s always hard for us to decide which cold appetizers we want. On this occasion we decided to get the bamboo, spicy tripe, and gizzard meat.
The appetizer plate was quickly devoured after this picture was taken.
After my previous post on Ba Ren, Kirk from mmm-yoso recommended the Sichuan Pot roast. It sounded delicious and I had to try it out. When I ordered it, the woman taking my order (I believe she is the owner), commented that I had chosen well and that it is one of their best dishes. She pointed to several other tables that had ordered the dish.
Sichuan pot roast contains a stewed pork shank. I’ve never had stewed pork shank in soup form. I’m used to the popular Shanghai dish that makes it with a sweet sauce over vegetables. When made right, the meat is tender and falls off the bone and the skin/fat is slightly sweet and chewy and makes you forget you are chewing on fat.
The soup was tasty. It seemed to have some faint taste of alcohol as well. The meat definitely fell right off the bone since it had been simmered in the soup. There were also some vegetables and meatballs. I’m not sure if they were Lion’s head meatballs like Kirk had said they were because I didn’t get one.
Next came our pork intenstine cooked with hot peppers.
Normally we get the diced chicken version of this, but this time I opted to try the intestines. I prefer the chicken version better. While I love intestines, they tend to be on the fatty and oily side and a lot of times when they are fried, it just makes the intestines taste too oily. Next time I’ll order the chicken version. Despite all the peppers, this is a fun dish to eat. The peppers make your taste buds a bit numb with the spice initially. But once you get used to it, the food cooked inside (whether it be intestines or chicken) tastes on a mildly sweet after taste.
We also ordered the crispy rice with three items.
This is one of our favorite dishes. The rice patties are fried beforehand. Then a hot broth is poured on top, making a sizzling sound. The three item dish has chicken, squid, sea cucumber, and some vegetables. This dish is only very mildly spicy. It’s a great dish to wash down all the other spicy foods with.
We also ordered the dried cooked lamb.
Out of all the spicy dishes, this dish looked the least spicy because it didn’t have as much “red” in the dish. However, fried cooked sichuan dishes are supposed to be very, very spicy. And this one was. We were all tricked by how mild the dish looked, but this was definitely the spiciest dish of the night. After eating this dish, our mouths were numb enough that nothing else seemed spicy.
We ordered boiled two items in hot sauce and chose fish and beef. I think next time we’ll just order the fish or just the beef. The combination ended up having very little of each, and the beef was in small pieces.
This dish looked intimidating because the fish and beef slices are cooked in this spicy, red sauce. However, it’s usually not too spicy if you don’t eat the peppers and the meat and fish are really tender.
We also ordered the Woo Jiang fish fillet, which was recommended by the woman taking my order.
This dish was just okay. I don’t really remember what it tasted like anymore, but I wasn’t that impressed with it.
Finally, we ordered some shrimp fried rice.
We also got a sweet bean soup for dessert.