Well, something I have come to consider desperately lacking in the English-language China blogosphere is foodie blogs. It's not that such blogs don't exist, it's that they should, and I have only recently begun discovering them. There should be far more.
Anyway, wandering through one of these recently discovered foodie blogs I come across still more proof that Sichuan cuisine is only second rate:
Fans of Sichuan cuisine know that even spice fiends need something to ward off all the heat in your mouth between bites.
No. Sichuanren need huajiao to numb their mouths so they can eat spicy food without feeling the spice. Xiangcai (湘菜/Hunan cuisine) is still vastly superior, and that is both because fans of Xiangcai don't need to stoop to numbing their palates to enjoy good food and because xiangcai manages a far greater and more subtle range of flavours. And, I can't see how replacing "Sichuan peppercorns" (isn't that 花椒, i.e.
cheating spice prickly ash?) with red pepper flakes or hot chilli sauce could possibly help, since the whole point of 花椒 is to numb the palate, and not to add to the spiciness of the dish. But still, I'm a big fan of Sichuan cuisine, and I may well try this cucumber salad at home one day. I mean, reading that recipe just makes me feel hungry...