O k, I haven’t done a food/restaurant post in ages and, frankly, I didn’t want to. It’s hard to compare anything to octopus balls. To this day, nobody will try them again.

However, as I was going through some random photos, I came across some shots from a restaurant that we absolutely love, and I thought it was finally time to share. We’ve been hoarding this gem to ourselves long enough.

If you enjoy Sichuan (or Szechuan) style Chinese food, you have to go to 112 Katong and have lunch or dinner at Xiao La Jiao, which translates to ‘little chilli’. The restaurant offers a casual dining experience and, I confess, we’ve taken boys and gone in shorts and T-shirts. We’ve never needed a reservation and the service has always been extremely good.

I realize that teenage boys are always going to be hungry, so just saying they’ll eat at Xiao La Jiao doesn’t really mean much. On the other hand, our teenage boys don’t always agree on what restaurants they like. I think it’s fair to say that all three of our boys absolutely love this place and, if they had other plans, would actually be disappointed to hear that they missed going with us. To me, that’s says a lot. Neil and I both love this place, so I suppose overall, we’d give Xiao La Jiao a 5/5 thumbs up.

If you want to peek at the menu before heading over, here’s the pdf. of the full menu.

Some of our personal favorites include the following:

Onion pancakes – OMG delicious!

Pickled Cucumber Strips – I’m absolutely serious when I tell you that there is a fight between Zach and Neil over these things, and we’ve resorted to getting them each their own order to avoid the chopstick war that happens when these hit the table.

GeLeShan Style Chicken – Two of my boys love this one. It reminds me of popcorn chicken only a bit hotter. I’m not sure how authentic this is, but we love it anyway.

Kung Pao Chicken – A personal favorite. It varies in spiciness depending on the day, but always great no matter the level of heat.

Dan Dan Noodles – Another personal favorite, and Zach and I usually share an order. The noodles are hand made and you can absolutely tell the difference. I’ve had Dan Dan noodles at other places around town but none of them compare. These are amazing. (we always eat them too fast to actually get a good picture of them   😀  )

We’ve tried several other dishes and have liked many of them. Neil adds in a new dish or two to the list above each time we go to see if we find a new favorite, and frequently we do. Jacob loved the Beef with Cumin dish and the Stir-fried French Beans were awesome as well. I could really go on and on.

Hmm…now that I think about it, this is also the only Chinese restaurant, Sichuan or otherwise, that we regularly order dessert; the Mango Pomelo soup is refreshing and delicious. Oh, while I’m raving, you should try the Iced Honey Lemon drink. It’s so good and just the thing to cut the spice.

Just a note, I’ve read somewhere that you can ask for “authentic style”, which I’m sure is extremely hot. We just order straight off the menu, without asking for mild, and do just fine.


Xiao La Jiao

112 Eacst Coast Rd #03-05



I just wanted to take a moment to thank those of you who voted for my blog over at Expatsblog. I truly appreciate all of your support. The winners of the competition will be announced on December 6th so there are still a few days left to vote. If you’ve enjoyed this post and haven’t yet left a comment, please consider heading over and leaving some love for Brave or Just Crazy.


Thanks so much!




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15 Responses to “Craving a little heat?” Subscribe

  1. Diana December 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm #


    Octopus balls made me laugh out loud. As kids, my siblings and I thought it hilarious to call garbanzo beans, “squirrel’s balls.” I know that’s not what you mean by Octopus balls, but my mind works in weird ways.

    • NikiC December 6, 2012 at 7:02 am #

      You’re in good company, in a house of four boys/men, we usually go to the same place you did. LOL!

  2. Stephanie December 13, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    Hi Niki,

    I am a bit embarassed to say that over the last 2 days I have read your entire blog. I feel a bit stalkerish but reading about your experience helped me get through some very boring work days.

    I have recentely moved back to the US with my husband after a few years abroad New Zealand (where I met my kiwi husband), Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. I, like you, have lived in many places over the course of my life. Although we just started settling a bit in the US, I am already longing to have another expat experience.

    I was always worried about waiting until we have kids, but seeing how well your boys have adjusted gives me hope. I have plenty of time, but looking out my office window and seeing the Wilmington, Delaware Amtrak station vs your pictures leaves me wanting to hop on a plane stat!

    Continue to post about your amazing adventures. They may seem business as usual to you, but I will now be living vicariously through you :)

    • NikiC December 13, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

      Hi Stephanie! I’m so glad you found my little piece of the internet and are enjoying the photos! New Zealand and your other locations must have been quite the adventure, and very different from Delaware.

      Not every child has such an easy transition but, you’re right, my boys have adjusted extremely well to the move, and we’re very thankful. There have been a few bumps along the way but they’re doing great. After having moved so much myself, I did tell my husband that I was not interested in moving them after our oldest finished grade 10. Coming from Quebec, where graduation comes at the end of grade 11, it would have been like moving him right before his senior year. That wasn’t something I wanted to do if we didn’t have to. We moved just as he was starting his sophomore year, and that was perfect.

      Take care!

  3. Sonal August 17, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    Onion Pancakes and the chicken are my favourite… shall surely try! Came across your blog at Singapore Expat Wives FB page. I too write a restaurant review blog, focusing on South East Asia with special attention to Singapore. Do check out my FB page if you get a chance! Happy blogging.

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