Four Rivers opened its doors in 1998, becoming Philadelphia’s first restaurant to offer authentic Szechuan cuisine in Chinatown.
The owner of Four Rivers is a native of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan (also spelled Szechuan) province, a region in southwestern China known for its rugged beauty, daunting mountain passages, and breathtaking natural sights. In Chinese, Sichuan (四川) literally means “four rivers,” alluding to the region’s abundance of waterways which carve through its precipitous valleys. The special importance placed on seafood in Sichuan is reflected in Four Rivers’ selection of fresh fish, offering over 10 methods of preparation.
In Chengdu, dishes are regularly served heaping with chilies that can make the eyes of unaccustomed eaters water. Szechuan cuisine is renowned for its heat level, but also for its nuanced and bold flavors, offering over twenty distinct flavor combinations, including Szechuan peppercorns, a spice which produces a numbing effect on the mouth and tongue.