I first looked up the characters that comprise the word huohou while translating an essay about the great Sichuanese writer, Li Jieren (1891-1962). Li is most famous for his River Trilogy of novels about life in Chengdu at the beginning of the 20th century, but he was also a chef and a passionate chronicler of Sichuanese cuisine. During Sichuan's warlord era he operated a restaurant so popular -- and believed to be so profitable -- that gangsters kidnapped his son for ransom.
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