A newly opened restaurant in Decatur is serving up authentic Northern Chinese Szechuan cuisine to those seeking bold and spicy flavors.
Hai, located at 2641 N Decatur Road in the Suburban Plaza Shopping Center, gets its name from owner and Chef Hai Wang who has both perfected traditional Szechuan dishes through years of cooking and is putting his own spin on the well-known regional fare. For the past three years, Wang worked alongside famous Chef Peter Chang in Maryland where he eventually became Chang’s partner and regional chef. Hai’s wife, whom he met while working in restaurants, specializes in steamed buns and northern style dumplings, and is cooking both dishes in her husband’s new Decatur restaurant.
Since opening about four months ago, customer favorites include Szechuan Chili Wontons stuffed with pork and shrimp; Dry Fried Eggplant or Cauliflower seasoned with cilantro, scallions, spices and dried chili peppers; and stir-fries with plenty of Szechuan spices.
Opening up Hai’s menu, one would be hard-pressed to find a dish without a red chili indicating spicy heat. But according to the restaurant’s staff, that is what makes it authentic.
Take for instance an entrée found on every Chinese menu: Mongolian Beef. Instead of a thick and sweet glaze, Hai’s take on the dish includes a curried and spiced brown sauce stir-fried with onions and scallions. Most dishes on the menu feature peppers, peppercorns, red pickled chilies and other ingredients to keep your palate tingling.
Spice is the star at Hai and part of the reason the restaurant opened in Decatur was to bring more exposure of authentic Szechuan cuisine to a location closer than Buford Highway to the growing, nearby university and hospital populations.
For more information and to view a full menu, visit www.haieat.com.