Sichuan cuisine in Chengdu has left a deep impression on my Chengdu tour. It is said: “Without tasting the best Sichuan cuisine, your Chengdu tours won’t be completed!” Having been passed through centuries, Sichuan cuisine is still popular among China’s famous cuisines. The only way to truly appreciate this spicy cuisine is to personally taste it during your visit in Chengdu. Here are the Top 3 dishes in my list and some famous restaurants I’d like to share. You won’t regret it.
Ma Po Tofu (Má PōDòu Fǚ, 麻婆豆腐) — It’s likely to be the most well-known and popular Sichuan cuisine in Chengdu. Almost every Sichuan-style restaurants offers this dish. The tofu is cooked with Sichuan pepper and oil, and topped with green onion and ground beef into a bowl. The taste leaves you with a bit of numbing but appetizing because of pepper’s special flavor. Unlike other Sichuan cuisine, it’s not that spicy but numbing. The legend says that Ma Po Tofu was made up by a widow who created this dish like and accident of nature.
Kung Pao Chicken (Gōng Bǎo Jī Dīng, 宫保鸡丁) — It’s a traditional Sichuan cuisine in Chengdu. Both Chinese and foreigners know this dish. Generally speaking, most Chinese know how to cook Kung Pao Chicken. The main ingredients are made of diced chicken, peanuts and lettuce. It not only is a delicious dish but also full of nutrition. You don’t need to be afraid to taste this dish because it is much less spicy than other Sichuan dishes.
Hot-pot (Huǒ Guō, 火锅) — When I was in Chengdu, my first and immediate thought was, h’mmmm, Hot-pot! Before leaving for Chengdu, travel forums and my friends all recommended me the Hot-pot. Ok, I like Swiss fondue, and pot-au-feu no problem. The Hot-pot I was not that sure, for it’s Chinese food and Chinese food never “let you down”. After trying Ma Po Toufu and Kung Pao Chicken, I have to admit that I kind of fell in love with spicy, which made me feel hot and hotter! So be brave! Arriving on the land of Chengdu, I immediately rushed into one Hot-pot restaurant and started my “adventure”. Well, it’s a little bit beyond my limit, but I think everyone should try it or you would probably regret in your later life (I’m not exaggerating). Chengdu Hot-pot could range from simple to moderate: you can add the spices as much as you want according to your taste (simple for me); or order the not spicy white sauce which is more comfortable for your stomach (I recommend this one for spicy-haters). When you eat Chengdu hot-pot, people generally order beef with various flavors and vegetables to balance the diet. Chengdu residents love Hot-pot for dinner, especially in Summer. What a hot weather!
While you are in Chengdu, it’s a great chance to taste authentic cuisine at restaurants in Chengdu. The most famous and oldest restaurant of Ma Po Tofu located in No. 197 West Yulong Street (Xī Yǜ Lóng Jiē, 西玉龙街). The good place to eat Kung Pao Chicken is Ba Guo Bu Yi resturant which is in No. 20, Four Section, Renmin South Road (Rén Mín Nán Lǜ, 人民南路). You should definitely go to Huangcheng Laoma Resturants in Chengdu to try the Hot-pot, it is located at No. 20 Qintai Road (Qín Tái Lǜ,琴台路) in Chengdu. The most exciting thing about the hot-pot restaurants is that it offers Sichuan Opera performance while you eat.
Are you ready for challenging your tongue and stomach? Just be ready!
Author: Lycoris Yang