Clockwise from top middle: arroz gordo (fat rice), fat rice noodle, bok choy with pork stock, balichang catfish, African chicken, and shaking chile whitefish Credit: Jeffrey Marini

The fact that it’s the only Chinese-Portuguese fusion in town is no slight. The union between those two cuisines, which originally were melded on the tiny island of Macao, is certainly a smart one. But in lesser hands, the result could be considerably dumbed down. Fat Rice‘s hip interpretation of Macanese food is damn-near brilliant. My favorite Fat Rice dishes lean toward the Chinese side of things, partly because I’m addicted to Sichuan peppercorns. They show up in full force on the shaken chile whitefish, tender cubes of flesh heavily dusted with the numbing little orbs. Same goes for the pot stickers. Stuffed with pork and shrimp or shiitake, smoked tofu, and egg (I favor the latter), the dumplings are nestled together under a lattice of Sichuan-peppercorn-laced batter that would be a delicious enough snack on its own (ma la chips!). Then there’s the peppercorn-free but no less exciting “fat noodle”—chewy, hand-rolled pasta stir-fried with XO sauce. Sounds simple, right? Simple can be brilliant, too.