Chengdu’s Top 6 Special Snacks
Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, is famous as "the Land of Abundance" (天府之国). The city has absorbed the essence of a variety of different local snacks. You may be wondering what its special snacks are. There are six top special snacks available in Chengdu, as referenced for you here.
1. Zhong Dumplings on Lizhi Lane 荔枝巷钟水饺
The founder, Zhong Shaobai, is famous in Chengdu and the former shop of his was called "Xie Maoshen, 协森茂". In 1931, he became famous as many people found his dumplings to be really delicious. People gave the dumplings the name "Zhong dumplings on Lizhi Lane", showing his name and the address of the dumplings.
The two special dumplings available in the store are the red oil dumplings and the soup dumplings. The main difference between the Zhong dumplings and the Northern dumplings is the use of only pork stuffing without any fresh vegetables, giving them a unique flavor. Zhong dumplings are distinguishable from other dumplings by their thin skin, fresh ingredients, special stuffing, and delicious taste.
We will explain the two different kinds of dumplings in detail as follows. The red oil dumplings taste spicy and salty, with a slightly sweet taste combined with the salty taste. There is a special sauce made by the store called "Shu Yan Shu Guo Kui, 椒盐酥锅魁", and the sauce tastes really delicious with the dumplings. With the handmade skin, the strictly selected stuffing, and the organized shape of the dumplings, the Zhong dumplings are most people's favorite, especially when eaten with the spicy red oil sauce. The soup dumplings have a light and delicate taste; delicious soup with the dumplings makes you feel healthy and it's easy for your stomach to digest. Being a must for the elderly and for people who don't like the red oil, soup dumplings are one of the best foods among the pastas.
2. Long Chao Shou 龙抄手
"Long Chao Shou" is a special name used by the native Sichuanese for wontons. Chengdu's Long Chao Shou were created in the 1940s, when the owner, Zhang Guangwu (张光武), started the "Flower Tea Club" which was located on Chunxi Road and several other folk planned to establish a joint venture to open a wonton shop, taking the name from the concentrated pronunciation, known as "Long Chao Shou".
Long Chao Shou's main features are thin skins, tender stuffing and a tasty soup. The wonton skins are made from little more than flour ingredients. You can rub the flour slowly and roll it into the translucent skin which is said to be "thin as paper, fine as silk". The meat stuffing tastes tender and smooth, creamy and delicious. Long Chao Shou's original soup is made with chicken, duck and several parts of a pig, and after being slowly simmered and stewed, the creamy and delicious soup will be ready.
3. Pork Lungs in Chili Sauce 夫妻肺片
"Pork Lungs in Chili Sauce", also called "Fu Qi Fei Pian, 夫妻肺片", is a special and well known flavorsome dish in the Chengdu area. According to legend, in the 1930s, in a small town near Chengdu, there was a man called Chao Ha (郭朝华) and his wife sold cattle lung slices for the industry. Another typical characteristic of the "Pork Lungs in Chili Sauce" dish is that it's sold in a basket, because the couple went to different lanes and sold them to a number of people in the form of a small basket full of lung slices. The couple's personal operations made the Cattle lung slices taste unusual from the other street food. As the production of the lung slices was of a good quality and the Pork Lungs in Chili Sauce had a unique flavor, it was loved by the people. To distinguish between normal lung slices sold from shop stalls, people called them "Fu Qi Fei Pian."
After the couple set up the shop, they concentrated more on the selected ingredients and tried to use the beef, heart, tongue and belly to replace the initial single lung, focusing on the choice of ingredients, production of food, and the unique flavor. Fu Qi Fei Pian were cut into thin slices, tasting spicy, delicious and delicate. Loved by the masses and in order to distinguish them from other lung slices, the name Fu Qi Fei Pian was given to them. As the selection of the ingredients is very strict now, the quality has also increased.
4. Korean Steamed Buns 韩包子
Korean Steamed Buns have over 80 years of history since they were established as a venture. In 1914, Han Yulong (韩玉隆), one of Chengdu's Wenjiang people opened a "Yulong Park Noodle Shop" in the south end of Gold Street. The Korean Steamed Buns have existed in Chengdu for such a long time because of their exceptionally delicious taste. After Han Yulong's death, his son Han Wenhua (韩文华) replaced the operations in the buns' practices. Through carefully exploring and practicing, he created "Southern Shrimp Buns, 南虾包子", "ham buns", "fresh meat buns" and other varieties, rising to fame overnight and being known by everyone along all of the streets in Chengdu. Later, Han Wenhua franchised the special buns and changed their name to "Korean Steamed Buns". After that, the business of Korean Steamed Buns became more prosperous day by day. Dating from the liberation until now, Korean Steamed Buns are famous in Chengdu, Sichuan, and the whole country, enjoying their enduring reputation.
Raw ingredients and production methods: First, use the finest flour (fine white powder) plus pork oil, sugar and flour to make the skin of the steamed buns. Secondly, according to taste, make different fillings, such as fresh meat using half of the fat with chopped meat, keeping half of the stuffing in the pan and then mixing the other half of the meat with different sauces like ginger, Sichuan pepper powder, cooking wine and chicken soup. The ham inside the steamed buns is not from the market, but from the shop itself. The shop preserves the ham carefully with a special sauce. After the ham is preserved, mix it with the finely chopped pork and seasoning. Then the delicious Korean Steamed Buns are ready.
Features: Firstly, using the finest ingredients and professional cooking process, Korean Steamed Buns have special characteristics such as thin skin, a white color, a clear pattern, a delicate taste and a soft flavor. Secondly, their color, flavor and great look make the buns a favorite among Chinese dishes.
5． Dandan Noodles 担担面
Dandan noodles are a famous Chengdu snack. Rolling the flour to make the noodles, boiling them until they are cooked and scooping the minced pork onto the noodles are the processes used to make Dandan noodles. The noodles are very thin and the sauce is flavorsome. Tasting a little bit salty and spicy, people still think it is very tasty. Dandan noodles are widely circulated in Sichuan dishes and are often served as a banquet dessert.
Chen Baobao's Dandan noodles (陈包包担担面) take first place among all the Dandan noodles, and were created in 1841 by a city hawker named Chen Baobao (陈包包). The noodles were famous because of the hawker who carried the noodles to different lanes to sell them and lots of people could try the noodles. The noodles sold by carrying them had a special characteristic which was the pot used to cook the noodles. The pot was separated by two cells; one grid was used to cook the noodles and the other was for the stewed chicken or stewed knuckle. Now the majority of Dandan noodles' shops in Chongqing, Chengdu and Zigong have been changed to the shop operators but they still retain their original characteristics, especially in Chengdu where the characteristics of Dandan noodles are very obvious.
6．Clear Noodles in Chili Sauce (川北凉粉 chuān běi liáng fěn)
Clear Noodles in Chili Sauce, an original farmhouse snack which was founded in the Qing Dynasty in the city of Nanchong, has become a well-known representative Sichuan snack nowadays. The founder, Xie Tianlu (谢天禄), put up a shed and sold clear noodles on Nanchong ferry. The clear noodles tasted delicate and fresh combined with the strong and spicy sauce, which was gradually becoming famous all around the city. The Xie family sold the clear noodles for generation after generation. After the family officially ran the Clear Noodles in Chili Sauce restaurant, the fame had spread across the province and it is still one of the most famous snacks.
Eating methods: when eating the clear noodles, you need to slice the clear noodles into small and thin pieces or use the chopsticks to spin the noodles or to put them into the bowl. Later, add the salt, MSG, water, garlic and pepper, then top them with the red colored chili oil, sprinkle with a little chopped green onion, and serve immediately.
Features: delicate, soft, smooth and delicious, with a spicy liqueur.
Best Places to Taste These Snacks
1. Chunxi Road (春熙路), located in Jinjiang District, Chengdu, is a prosperous and time-honored commercial street in the downtown area of Chengdu. A large variety of delicious snacks are available in Chunxi Road, including a number of famous snacks of time-honored Chinese brands, including Zhong dumplings, Pork Lungs in Chili Sauce, Korean Steamed Buns, Long Chao Shou, Dandan noodles and Clear Noodles in Chili Sauce.
2. Jinli Snack Street (锦里小吃街) is now the most famous snack street in Chengdu, located near Wuhou Temple (武侯祠). There are various Sichuan snacks available in the street.
3. Kuan-zhai Lane" (宽窄巷子), located to the west and slightly north of Tianfu Square, and just a block north-west of the People's Park, is a great place with lots of (expensive) tea houses, restaurants and local snacks. It is great for relaxing.
I updated this article on March 3, 2014
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