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In 2010, Chengdu was named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. It's not hard to see why, when there are restaurants and street vendors serving mouth-wateringly delicious dishes and snacks on pretty much every street. It really is a place where food is taken seriously and done well.
Chengdu food falls under the banner of Sichuan Cuisine, which is one of the Eight Regional Cuisines of China. Below are some of the more popular dishes on offer in Chengdu.
In most Sichuan restaurants in Chengdu, you'll find the full range of Sichuan classics on offer. The most famous Sichuanese dishes that you really must try while in Chengdu are:
Read more detail introduction about Sichuan Cuisine.
This is Chengdu's own version of the famous Chongqing hotpot. There are chuanchuan (串串 - the Chinese is aptly skewer-like!) restaurants all over the city, and all work in much the same way:
First, choose your skewers of raw ingredients from the large fridges at the back of the restaurant. Popular choices include quail eggs, shrimp dumplings, tofu and an assortment of different local mushrooms. Once you've made your selection, hand your tray of skewers to one of the waitresses, who boil them in a spicy hotpot, and take a seat.
While you're waiting, choose a dipping sauce to accompany your skewers when they arrive: the dry sauce (干碟 gāndié) of ground peanuts, chili powder and cilantro is excellent.
There's a huge range of savorysnacks on offer in Chengdu. The following are some of the more famous options:
|English||Chinese characters||Pinyin pronunciation|
|Skewers of meat or vegetables cooked in a spicy, oily hotpot broth||串串香||chuànchuànxiāng|
|Husband and wife lung slices||夫妻肺片||fūqī fèipiàn|
|Wonton served in a sweet chili oil||红油抄手||hóngyóu chāoshǒu|
|Cold slices of mung bean jelly in a spicy vinaigrette sauce||凉粉||liángfěn|
|Dandan noodles||担担面||dàndan miàn|
|Pockmarked grandma's tofu||麻婆豆腐||mápó dòufu|
|Dry-fried green beans||干煸四季豆||gānbiān sìjìdòu|
|Boiled fish in a spicy chili-oil sauce||水煮鱼||shuǐzhǔ yú|
|Twice-cooked pork||回锅肉||huíguō ròu|
|Kung pao chicken||宫保鸡丁||gōngbào jīdīng|
|Fish fragrant pork||鱼香肉丝||yúxiāng ròusī|
Here are some sample itineraries for your inspiration.