Do as the menu tells you – 'let your appetite open freely' at this Box Hill newcomer
What is it?
A salad of thinly sliced, blanched strips of ox heart and gelatinous lung swimming in equal parts coriander, luminous red oil (amped up even further cayenne pepper, lime and smoked chilli) and sesame seeds – peanuts add crunch and allergy risk. It is flavoursome, textured, adventurous food. The waitress warns us off the dish – 'it's cold', she said. 'You won't like it'. But we do, and we think you will too.
Where can I get it?
Chilli Flow is offering 'traditional Sichuan' that is well worth the 20 minute train trip to Box Hill. A simple square room is set out with 20 or so hot-pot equipped tables (the kind even the skinniest knees could never fit under). Someone has removed the brass nameplate from a 2005 Asian Food Festival Award mounted on the central wall, so we know someone won something, we're just not sure who.
It's BYO wine only, but $6 for a Tsing Tao doesn't sting. Also, there are cans of herbal tea, sparkly grape drinks and Coke. We can handle that.
What else should I order?
Locals flock for the hotpot – it's off the main menu but you can get a special ordering sheet if you ask nicely (or in Chinese). Don't skip the Chilli Flow wings. Deep fried nuggets of spicy, salty chicken wings, buried in a mound of panko crumbs and fresh chillis, they're more Box Hill Chinese than traditional Sichuan, but tasty as hell.