Chuan Cuisine is the most popular cuisine in all of China, defined in terms of the breadth and depth of where it is served. Of course it helps the depth parameter that the neighboring population-dense municipality of Chongqing, formerly a part of Sichuan Province, is one of the areas outside present-day Sichuan Province most enamored of Chuan Cuisine.
The dishes of Chuan Cuisine are famous for their spicy-hot flavors, a spicy-hotness that Sichuaners call "dry hot", insisting that it differs from the "wet hot" spiciness of other cuisines. The difference, say, Sichuaners, is that the spices used to achieve "dry hot" spiciness consists of a mixture of dry ingredients such as crushed peppercorns (black, red and white) and dried, crushed chili, as well as Sichuan Province's own native pepper, huajiao ("flower pepper" from the prickly ash tree, Zanthoxylum bungeanum) that is of course first dried, then crushed. According to Sichuan-Cuisine chefs, gourmets and gourmands (which covers just about everyone cooking and eating Sichuan Cuisine ), the salient features of "dry hot" spiciness consist of an instantaneous numbing effect on the tongue, and a pleasing, lingering, spicy-hot aftertaste.
It can be called the king of Sichuan food. And there is always uniqueThe spiciest food in Chengdu is hotpot (also called steampot or steamboat), although the tradition originated in Chongqing, so it is not really Chengdu food. Sichuan hotpots are basically a big pot of soup and spices simmering in a hole in the middle of your table. Patrons choose from a large selection of meats, vegetables and other add-ins. Most popular include: lamb, mushrooms, beef, tofu, quail eggs, potatoes and various others (pork, green vegetables, fish balls, carrots, and even pig's brain!) You can choose spicy pot or non spicy pot. With spicy hot pots, unlike eastern hot pots, the soup is NOT for drinking; instead, fish out your cooked items with chopsticks (do not fish the liquid out with a spoon, it is too spicy even for locals to drink; the fished out vegetables will be spicy enough), dip them in the small bowl of oil provided to each person, and enjoy.
There are also a lot of weird local snack type of food, such as spicy dragon prawns (look like very small crayfish; 麻辣龙虾), spicy snails (香辣田螺), Chongqing duck neck (九九鸭脖子), Bangbang chicken (棒棒鸡), spicy rabbit meat (二姐兔丁). These ones are so delicious and you must try them. But you need to ask a local to take you to the right place. Quite often you will find that the small restaurants and shops offer the most delicious and cheapest food. If you want to find even cheaper food options, street venders are the way to go. Serving everything from barbeque (烧烤) to steamed breadrolls(馒头), they are a cheap and offer a great option for a quick bite to eat. To be honest, you must be regret if you never try these snacks in Chengdu.
Though there are a great many Dandan noodle restaurants all over China, it is still highly recommend to try the original one. Food here is dirt cheap, expect to pay no more than ￥8 for a meal, and the quality is good.There are a number of stalls and hole in the wall type places all over town. Things to be on the lookout for are spicy bowls of breakfast noodles, , double cooked pork, and dozens of dishes coated in "mala" the Sichuan chili spice famous the world over.
Spicy Chuan’er Yulin chuanchuanxiang (玉林串串香)
Because of its cheap and fast hotpot variety, Yulin chuanchuanxiang is the most popular food of Chengdu citizens. This is a help-yourself style meal, go to a backroom and choose your own kabobs. Stick the kabobs into a hotpot soup, and have them boil. Pull them out and enjoy. Large kabobs are ￥1, and small ones are ￥0.1 each. Expect to be full for less than ￥25. There are both spicy and non-spicy variations. There is a large selection of meats, vegetables, and other add-ins. Beer is available in large bottles and sweet soymilk (Dounai) is also served. It is a nice place for friends to go out eating and meet.
Fu Qi Fei Pian (Braised Cow Lungs)
Actually beef, heart and tongue take the place of lungs. This tasty dish is made with particular condiments using a delicate process.
Long Chao Shou (Long Wonton)
With thin skin and tender stuffing, the savory snack is popular among locals and tourists.
Imperial City Old Ma Restaurant (Huangcheng Laoma)
- It follows basically the same format but, if anything, has an even more quaint and charming character. The menu has a focus on freshness, with a variety of salads, sandwiches, steaks and pastas made with quality ingredients and averaging around ¥40. They host live music every Friday and Saturday night as well as a slew of other events (check the website for details). And, of course, there are the books – a collection of over 5000 to lend as well as a selection to buy. One of the handiest items they sell is a small handbook with the Chinese address of every place you could wish to go to in Chengdu.
- Address: 28, Renmin Nan Lu, Section 4
- Ph. (028) 8552 0177
- Imperial City Old Ma Restaurant is a large upmarket restaurant chain with outlets throughout China. The chain, which originated in Chengdu, used to have two Hot Pot restaurants in Chengdu, one named Imperial City Old Ma, the other named simply Old Ma. The Old Ma restaurant eventually declined, then disappeared, while the Imperial City Old Ma restaurant just got bigger and better.
- Address: No. 14 Shenlong Street, Chengdu, China
- Tel: (028) 8523-1777
There are more dilicious food in the uncountable reataurants in Chengdu waiting for your stomach.
You must be very hungry now. If you want to have a try of Chengdu food, why not prepare a trip to Chengdu?