Having grown up in her father’s grocery store, Asia Market, and around his delicious cooking, Kristina Zhao discovered her love for food as a child. That passion grew as she visited eateries across the world and learned to cook herself. She would often call her father with cooking questions, experiment with different ingredients, and host dinner parties to share her food creations with friends and family. Food always brought people together, and she loved that.
The San Antonio native graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and had been living and working in Dallas when her father announced that he would be opening a restaurant. Afforded the opportunity to be closer to home, follow in the footsteps of her entrepreneur father, and pursue her passion, Kristina moved back to San Antonio shortly after to help expand her family’s business into the unfamiliar restaurant industry and open the doors at Sichuan House, a small and now beloved eatery,
Kristina and her family are proud to embrace their heritage. Together with their team, they are delighted to share the traditions and flavors from their Sichuan roots and invite their San Antonio family to eat Chinese and savor Sichuan.
“食在中国，味在四川" (shi zai zhong guo wei zai si chuan):
China is the place for food, but Sichuan is the place for flavor. Hailed as one of the eight culinary traditions of China, Sichuan cuisine is served worldwide and continues to grow in popularity. Home-style food from Sichuan, a province in Southwest China, is most renowned for its “mala” fiery hot and mouth-numbingly spicy flavors; however, the famous culinary tradition is far more intricate.
“一菜一格，百菜百味” (yi cai yi ge, bai cai bai wei):
Each dish has a unique signature. A hundred dishes have a hundred flavors.
Sichuan cookery is characterized by the skillful combination of spices and ingredients with masterful cooking techniques to achieve a harmonious symphony of complex flavors within each dish. Boasting more than 5000 documented recipes, 56 cooking techniques, and at least 23 formally defined flavor profiles, Sichuan culinary arts is legendary for diversity and sophistication.
Jian Li, a Sichuan native, is the Executive Chef at Sichuan House. He trained to be a Sichuan chef at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, but began his culinary journey as a child helping and learning alongside his parents in their bakery and noodle shop. With more than 25 years of experience, the passionate and mastery industry veteran now incorporates his heritage and history in leading his culinary team and into the menu at Sichuan House.