Literally: The principal components, pork jowl and radishes, were easy to identify, as were the torn shreds of shiso leaves tossed on top. (Lately, I believe, the dish ($11) sports sesame leaves instead.) But the idiosyncratic slicing of the radishes, evident in the photo below, thwarted the serving spoon and even challenged chopsticks.
It was as mild as the mapo tofu ($12.50) was spicy, not only with fiery "la" from chili peppers but also with numbing "ma" from Sichuan peppercorns. Enough ma, in fact, to change the taste of my water (an unprompted comment from my server) and to require a second after-meal PepOMint LifeSaver. I appreciated the texture of the tofu, the meaty chunks of pork shoulder, and the fermented-bean paste called doubanjiang, but the ma was a bit much. Though I haven't been back for seconds, reports suggest that the seasoning has since been moderated.
Mission Chinese Food
154 Orchard St. (Stanton-Rivington Sts.), Manhattan
Also at 2234 Mission St. (18th-19th Sts.), San Francisco