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Some of the most authentic ‘Best You’ve Never Heard of’ Chinese food is hidden in a strip mall

Some of the most authentic ‘Best You’ve Never Heard of’ Chinese food is hidden in a strip mall

Anthony O'Connell

ChiliSpot, located at 1178 Kenny Centre Mall, serves up feast-worthy Sichuan cuisine with great vibes and a relaxed atmosphere. Their experienced team of Sichuan chefs are dedicated to making dishes with top-notch ingredients and unique flavors. One of my favorite parts of Sichuan cuisine is the “mala” sensation, an addictive spicy-numbing effect created by Sichuan peppercorns and chili peppers. This bold and tingly flavor profile turns every bite into an adventure.

Here are my five favorite menu items from ChiliSpot:

Chengdu Dandan Noodles is my favorite appetizer—a classic street food that combines minced pork, preserved vegetables, and a flavorful, spicy sauce over noodles. This dish has mild spice, subtle nuttiness, and a sweet and sour balance, making it an amazing way to start your meal.

Their menu is packed full of hits, and every time I visit, I make it a point to try something new. My must-order dish, though, is the chef’s special Chongqing Spicy Popcorn Chicken. I like mine extra spicy! Known for its intense heat and numbing effect, this dish features bite-sized chicken pieces fried to perfection with lots of dried chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorns.


Mapo Tofu is a salty, spicy, and numbing dish featuring tofu in a vibrant sauce made with fermented black beans and Sichuan peppercorns. The oily sauce amplifies the heat and has a viscous gravy-like consistency that coats a spoon perfectly.

I’m a potato superfan, and ChiliSpot knows how to make amazing potato dishes. For the fourth spot on my list, I want to highlight four of their potato options: Vinegar Sauce Sauteed Potato, Peppercorn Sauteed Potato, Spicy Sour Sauteed Potato, and Green Pepper Sauteed Potato. These dishes are truly amazing—sour, spicy, savory, tangy, and zesty. A flavor explosion.

Last but certainly not least is General Tso’s Chicken️. This beloved dish features crispy fried chicken pieces coated in a sweet and tangy sauce. At ChiliSpot, this dish is prepared with the same care and attention to flavor as their traditional Sichuan offerings, ensuring a satisfying feast.

This article is part of our “Best You’ve Never Heard Of” series, where we highlight under-the-radar spots in Columbus. Ready to spice up your dining adventures? Let us know where to explore next!

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