When you arrive in Chengdu, we suggest 5 streets or areas of the city for dining and enjoying the street food. To make it easier to choose, we've arranged the five choices by cost and type with the more expensive dining areas first and the less expensive street food/street snacks areas last.
You will want good food, an interesting environment, and places that are easy to reach. We think visitors will appreciate these 5 areas for their location near local tourist highlights, food, location, shopping, and transportation.
1. Kuan Zhai Alleys
Local snacks at Wide and Narrow Alleys
- Chinese: 宽窄巷子 Kuānzhǎi Xiàngzi /kwan-jeye sshyang-dzuh/ 'Wide Narrow Alleys'
- Location: near Changshun Upper Street (长顺上街), just 1 km northwest of the city center (Tianfu Square)
- Time needed:: several hours
- Average price: 150 yuan per person (22 USD per person for a several course meal)
- Transportation: Kuan and Zhai Alleys are about a 30-minute walk from the Sichuan Museum and the Dufu Thatched Cottage (3 minutes by taxi) and about a 15-minute walk from Chengdu Museum (2 minutes by taxi).
- Highlights: ancient Chinese architecture, folk culture, local snacks, souvenirs and shopping
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The Wide and Narrow Lanes is the premier dining area of Sichuan for travelers and tourists for three reasons:
- a combination of the better quality restaurants and street food,
- its location within walking distance to historical places such as the Dufu Thatched Cottage Park and the Sichuan Museum, and
- its long history.
For learning about history and enjoying sightseeing, this area of the Caotang District is one of the best in the Chengdu area, and tourists are attracted to go to the nearby Kuan and Zhai Alleys for refreshments, street food or gourmet dining, and middle to high-priced shopping.
This area is west of Tianfu Square and a long block north-west of the People's Park. Because the tea houses, restaurants, and local snacks are more expensive, the quality is better, and it is great for relaxing and enjoying good quality Sichuan cuisine (川菜) - hot and spicy and the most broadly popular cuisine in China.
2. Chunxi Road
- Chinese: 春熙路 Chūnxī Lù /chwnn-sshee loo/
- Location: Jinjiang District in the downtown business area
- Time needed: several hours
- Average price: 150 yuan (22 USD per person for a several course meal)
- Transportation: Metro Lines 2 and 3 go here.
- Highlights: luxury shopping, malls, fashion, and fine dining restaurants, low priced street food
Chunxi Road is the main business street to shop, eat delicious snacks, and dine in. Sometimes, it attracts crowds of over a million shoppers and spectators on weekends. Some go to several of Chengdu's luxury malls, others go to middle budget department stores. So if you want to shop, this is where to go. There are many brand name stores and boutique souvenir shops.
In the area, there is a range of places to eat from high priced gourmet restaurants to street stalls selling Sichuan street foods. It is a place to find a lot of Chinese and international chain restaurants too. The international chain restaurants include McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Haagen-Dazs, and international chain coffee shops.
3. Yulin Food Street and Yulin Square
- Chinese: 玉林街 Yùlín jiē /yoo-lin jyeah/
- Location: This area is in southern Chengdu within the 2nd Ring Road. It is near the 2nd Ring Road.
- Time needed: 3 hours
- Average price: yuan140 per person (20 USD)
- Transportation: Nijia Qiao Metro Station
- Highlights: hot pot restaurants, shopping, teahouses
Yulin is the traditional richer area in southern Chengdu. This area lies near universities and a shopping center. Restaurants, teahouses, and bars line its leafy streets. Famed gourmet Sichuan food, barbeque, hot pot, stews, and shrimp dishes can be found here.
Some of the best Chengdu hot pot restaurants are in this area as are recommended Chengdu tea houses. It is another place locals go to relax and meet with friends and family.
Special Recommended Restaurants in Yulin
For bar-b-que: Yulin Chuanchuan Xiang (玉林串串香), Unit 23, Block 26, Yulin Street, Wuhou District (武侯区玉林街26号附23号) Average price: yuan67 per person (9 USD).
For hot pots: Lao Ma Tou Hotpot (老码头火锅), 29 Yulin Middle Road, Wuhou District (武侯区玉林中路29号).
Contact us for a private tour of Leshan and Mount Emei.
4. Jinli Street
- Chinese: 锦里古街 jǐnlǐ gǔjiē /jin-lee goo-jyeah/
- Location: To the east of Wuhou Memorial Temple
- Time needed: several hours
- Average price: yuan140 per person (20 USD)
- Transportation: from the popular center Tianfu Square 天府广场 and the central interchange station, Tianfu Square Station, underneath where Line 1 and Line 2 meet, it takes about 13 minutes (6 USD) go to Jinli Street by taxi.
- Highlights: middle-priced restaurants, street food, shopping, local handicrafts, souvenirs, traditional opera, and puppet entertainment
Jinli Street is about 350 meters from the Wuhou Temple (武侯祠). It is good for tourist sightseeing since some buildings there are said to date from the Ming (1367–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties.
This area is one of the oldest parts of Chengdu, and the street is called the "oldest shopping street in Sichuan Province." Other than historic interest and shopping, tourists like to visit old-style tea houses where Sichuan opera and "face changing" theater is performed, watch traditional puppet shows, listen to music, and see and buy local folk artwork.
Jinli is a special folk-customs commercial street, and locals as well as tourists go there for entertainment and to dine. Along with popular restaurants for Sichuan food in the area, the Jinli Snack Street (锦里小吃街) is where you can go to sample a wide variety of street foods and street snacks. Along with more formal Sichuan cuisine, Sichuan street food has made Chengdu famous. Jinli Snack Street may be the most famous snack street in Chengdu.
Traditional-style lamps cast a romantic glow over the enclave's narrow streets. The architecture and street lights of Jinli Street are quaint, traditional, and most picturesque at dusk. China Highlights offers excellent Chengdu tours that explore Jinli and other famous Chengdu landmarks.
- Recommended dishes: San Da Pao (三大炮), sticky rice balls (汤圆), wontons (馄饨), and Three Kingdoms dishes (三国菜)
- Recommended restaurants: San Guo Cha Yuan (Three Kingdoms Teahouse 三国茶园)
5. Shaxixian Food Street
- Chinese: 沙西线 /shah-sshee-sshyen/
- Location: Just outside the 2nd Ring Road and northeast of Tianfu Square Station in the city's center.
- Time needed: 2 or more hours
- Average price: yuan90 per person (12 USD) to splurge on a filling meal and fill up with drinks and snacks. Prices for a bowl of noodles start at about 1.30 USD.
- Transportation: From Tianfu Square and Tianfu Square Station in the middle of Chengdu, you can reach the Jiaoda Road in about 10 minutes by taxi for 5 USD. Metro Line 1 goes near there.
- Highlights: low and middle-priced restaurants, street snacks, budget shopping and souvenirs, banquet and gourmet restaurants
Shaxixian Food Street is a food street with a broad range of typical Chengdu foods, and it is more suitable for a variety of budgets. It is a working-class area where you can meet and see working-class people alongside a major business and merchant area. You can also find restaurants and stands selling delicacies from other places in China.
Along the street and alleys, you'll find various common Chinese chain street food stalls, restaurants, and refreshment stands. Many of the Chinese restaurants feature hot pot, and you can try styles of hot pot from other regions in China too.
If you are there to attend an event at the Chengdu International Exhibition and Conference Center that is nearby, you can go there to eat. One side of the street, the restaurants specialize in gourmet business banquets.
- Recommended dishes: For variety as you sample the food, we suggest try a bowl of Dandan noodles (担担面, dàndànmiàn /dan-dan-myen/), Guo kui (锅魁) that are either pancakes with fillings or pita bread with fillings and the spicy Chengdu-style Dumplings (水饺).
Enjoy Chengdu Dining with Us
Start a food adventure with us...
Whether it's a gourmet several-course meal or local snacks such as wontons, jelly noodles, and hundreds of other kinds of desserts and snacks concocted with Sichuan flair, our local guides can help you discover the culture of Chengdu's cuisine in a One-Day Chengdu Food Tour.
You can use our Create My Trip Service to tell us what kind of restaurants you want to go to and other details such as transportation needs and any locality or sights you'd like to go to - just tell us your requirements and interests, and we'll send you a reply within 24 hours.
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To know more about delicious food and top restaurants in Chengdu, we recommend the following articles:
- Our intro to Chengdu Restaurants
- The Most Romantic Restaurants in Chengdu
- Special Chengdu Bus Route 154: A Route That Takes You to Delicious Food Snacks: A special bus that takes you to great Chengdu food snack places.
- Best Restaurants Near Scenic Spots in Chengdu