Chengdu DiningMany travelers know Sichuan cuisine for its “hot and spicy” flavor. The predominant ingredient in the food here is Chili! Locals argue that chili is beneficial both in summer to help cool you down, and in winter, as a warmer. According to Chinese legend chili also has medicinal properties and helps protect against illnesses which result from wet or damp conditions.
There is a Chinese saying "All good foods are found in Chengdu". Chengdu's foods have become famous throughout China and their renown has recently been spreading into Western countries. Many locals and visitors to Chengdu enjoy walking down the street and stopping at the individual stalls to buy one or two items, eat as they continue their walk, and pick up some more of the tasty local dishes further on down the street.
Hotpot is very popular in Chengdu and is known for its spicy and hot flavor. Chengdu Hotpot can be seen near the Chun Road Market, as well as along the river. A big pot filled with hot spicy oil and surrounded by plates of raw meats and vegetables. The pieces of meat and vegetables are sliced very small so they will cook very quickly. T Most of the pots used in hotpot are divided into two sections. One half is filled with the spicy oil, and the other is filled with a delicious broth for those who are not a big fan of spicy foods. Restaurants are also more than happy to turn down the heat on request.
Chengdu Stir-fry (Tie Ban Shao)
Chengdu Stir-fry is also unique. Various meats and vegetables are ready to be chosen by customers. After the customers chose what they want to eat, which are then deep fried in oil for a minute or two. After the ingredients are fried, they are removed from the skewers and finely diced. They are then stir fried in a wok and other ingredients chosen by the customer are added. Finally they are served. Rice can usually be added for a small extra charge. It is delicious, and spicy, but again if customers do not like spicy food, peppers will not be added during the cooking process.
Chao Shou (Chengdu Wonton)
Chao Shou is also a local specialty. It is a little similar to dumpling, also stuffed with pork and vegetables, and the difference is that the dough is thinner and served in a soup. There are two kinds of soups available: spicy, or not spicy. Each one makes the dish taste completely different.
Bang Bang Chicken
It is a traditional local dish that actually originated in Leshan, and was introduced to Chengdu in 1920. To prepare this dish a flaming stick is used to reheat a cooked chicken so that the meat becomes light and flaky. The chicken is served with sesame and soy sauce. This is one of the tastiest cold dishes in Chengdu and less spicy than many others which are popular here.
Guoba Roupian is a special dish unique to Chengdu. This tasty dish arrives at your table in two separate parts; a golden crust of cooked rice in one bowl and hot sauce in another. The hot sauce is immediately poured on the rice which crackles at the sensation!
Ma La Tang (Tongue Numbing Soup)
This is an excellent way to test your spicy food eating capacity. These restaurants have large bowls of spicy chili peppers and other spices floating in boiling water over a flame. You pick out as many skewers of meat or vegetables as you would like and then cook them in the pot yourself. Normally there will be a bowl of sesame oil, oyster sauce, and diced garlic to dip the food in to deaden the spiciness.
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