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Chengdu Snacks

Being one of the most famous Chinese food styles in China, you will find no shortage of delicious Sichuan food in Chengdu. Most of the food is quite spicy, be sure to order non spicy (bú yào là), little spicy (wēi là) food or very spicy (lǎo là). If you are not accustomed to it yet, a bottle of soy milk or milk will work much better than water to quell the fire. If you are used to authentic Indian or Thai food, the level of spiciness in Sichuan food should be no problem at all. However, Sichuan food also makes heavy use of Sichuan pepper (huā jiāo), which looks like but is not a true peppercorn, and causes your mouth to become somewhat numb. Sichuan pepper is added in most spicy dishes. If you can eat spicy food but do not like Sichuan pepper, you need to order so (bú yào huā jiāo). However, Sichuan pepper (in addition to causing numbing) has an important citrusy taste that it adds to foods and authentic Sichuan tastes bank on the play between the flavours of both Sichuan pepper and chili peppers, and it is strongly recommend you at least try the authentic versions with the Sichuan pepper before deciding for yourself.

Chengdu Sichuan hotpot

The 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.

spicy dragon prawns

There are also a lot of weird local snack type of food, such as spicy dragon prawns (má là lóng xiā ), spicy snails (xiāng là tián luó), Chongqing duck neck (chòng qìng yā bó zǐ), Bangbang chicken (bàng bàng jī ), spicy rabbit meat (èr jiě tù dīng ). 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 (shāo kǎo) to steamed breadrolls(mán tóu), they are a cheap and offer a great option for a quick bite to eat.

Chengdu Bangbang chicken

Spicy Snails