Are you looking for brand new spicy and savory Chinese taste? Consider heading to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. Sichuan’s cuisine is amongst one of eight great regional Chinese cuisines. You won’t find its authentic flavors at other Chinese regions.
Chengdu, known as the city of leisure, is also UNESCO’s City of Gastronomy. Curious much? These are five of many delightful Sichuan bites that you can easily find in Chengdu.
Sichuan hot pot:
For me, hot pot or ma la huo guo is the face of Sichuan cuisine. You’re missing the essentials of Sichuanese eats if you skip this hot pot.
Thankfully, this isn’t your regular hot pot. You will be served with a pan containing spicy soup. The spicy broth itself has red chili, chili oil and Sichuan peppercorns (hua jiao). If you can’t eat spicy, there is non-spicy soup made of some mushrooms and meaty broth on different pot.
The oil from the spicy pan looks really thick from the surface. Soak the enoki mushroom, fish, beef, pork, intestine, brains and many other items into the soup. Once you have those cooked, get ready for some spicy. The spicy is more like the numb sensation on your mouth. Therefore, it’s quite uncommon to drink the soup.
While you enjoy your hot pot, it is possible that you’re not feeling full although you’ve had a lot of hot pot. You’re suggested to order a bowl of white rice (mi fan) to the waiter, since you don’t have the rice served with your ma la huo guo.
There are way too many Sichuan hot pot restaurants to count in Chengdu. Huangcheng Laoma Hot Pot has been named a popular spot for both locals and visitors.
Huangcheng Laoma Hot Pot
No. 106 Qintai Road, Qingyang District
Long chao shou:
Long chao shou is widely recognized by Chengdu residents. Established in 1940s by Zhang Guangwu, Long Chao Shou offers a variety of Chengdu-styled meals in small portions. My suggestion would be long chao shou, as it’s their specialty.
For just 10 RMB, you can have a bowl of long chao shou. It is basically dumpling soup. The dumpling itself has thin skin. Its filling or meat is also tender and juicy. The pork broth is made of duck, chicken and some parts of pig.
There are a lot of Long Chao Shou branches, but my favorite is the one at Huanhua North Road, that I frequently visited.
Long Chao Shou
No. 9-3, Huanhua North Road, Qingyang District
Dan dan noodle:
Are you fancy of having Sichuanese noodle for breakfast? Try dan dan noodle. The name itself came from two poles that are carried by the noodle vendor. One side of the pole is the cooked noodle, while the other has the sauce and meat.
I had my first bowl of , the Chinese name of this noodle, at lower grounds of Xiling Snow Mountain. The traditional stall serves this noodle, bringing more traditional vibe. The granny prepared my noodle while I sat on one of the stools. A bowl of noodle similar to pull noodle (la mian), minced pork, and scallions and of course chili oil is served at my table minutes later. The noodle has soft texture, mixed with the spicy taste. As cliché as it is, this noodle is Sichuan’s way to start your day.
Xiling Snow Mountain
Spring roll in chili oil:
Not just an ancient street, Jinli Street also offers mouthwatering bites. I went to the snack section of Jinli. You could find pork dumplings, fried guo kui and lotus root on sticks. I found a cup of vegetarian spring rolls there. The spring roll has cold veggies on the inside. Radish within the roll is crispy, too. That cup of snack contains sweet cakes, sticky balls and tofu as well. All become one taste inside oily broth made of chili oil.
No. 231 Wuhou Ci Street
Around the area of Wuhou Temple
San da pao:
You can sample Chengdu’s sweet snack at one of the alleys at Wenshu Monastery. The city’s largest Buddhist temple presents an opportunity to enjoy traditional tea and snacks.
One of those snacks is san da pao or three big cannons, made of sticky rice. Served with brown sugar and sesame seeds on top, these sticky balls remain. The more interesting part is how those sellers prepare this sweet favorite. The vendor took a little of the dough, then he rounded the dough into three balls. He then juggled those balls like a circus play. The balls were later thrown and bounced on a flat surface. Afterwards, it landed on circular tray with golden brown powder spread all over the tray.
No. 66 Wenshu Yuan Street
Accessible via Chengdu Metro Line 1