UNESCO dubbed Chengdu the City of Gastronomy, so it would be a travesty to visit this destination without indulging in its culinary delights. With an overwhelming number of choices, planning your next meal while vacationing here is no easy feat. Enjoy a diverse sampling of local cuisine, here is our guide to five places you must dine in Chengdu restaurants.
TAN FISH HEAD RESTAURANT – FOR CHENGDU HOTPOT
Hotpot is a Chengdu speciality, but one that Western stomachs may not be able to handle more than once. It’s both oily and spicy, so you should approach this local dish with care. Hotpot traditionally comes with youdie, an oil dipping sauce, and gandie, a blend of dried spices for additional dipping. Use these sparingly, if at all. At Tan Fish Head Restaurant, the hotpot is plenty rich on its own. This is a local favourite, where you can stop in on your travels to rub elbows with Chengdu residents.
ZI FI – FOR PRIVATE DINING
The dining experience at Zi Fi is elegant and relaxing. If you don’t understand Chinese, this is an ideal pick, as you don’t have to read a menu. Your courses simply arrive for your enjoyment, presenting a varied array of options. Diners enjoy dishes in Chengdu banquet style from a rotating plate on the table. Zi Fi serves fine Sichuan cuisine with carefully orchestrated courses that alternate spice with cooling dishes so you have time to recover between scorching bites.
CHEN MAPO TOFU RESTAURANT – FOR AUTHENTIC MAPO TOFU
Travellers in Chengdu simply can’t leave the city without trying the famed mapo tofu at least once. Chen Mapo Tofu Restaurant is praised for offering the most authentic version of this dish. For those unfamiliar with it, mapo tofu is bean curd with chilli oil and mince. Be prepared for the signature kick of spice present in nearly all Szechuan cuisine.
HUANGCHENGBA – FOR SNACKING IN CHENGDU
If you’re staying in Chengdu, you’ll probably find your dining habits changing fairly quickly. The sheer number of food carts on the streets make it nearly impossible to deny yourself a quick bite when you’re feeling even the least bit hungry. Some popular choices include a sweet, glutinous rice ball known as Lai Tang Yuan, and Fu Qi Fei Pian, or braised cow lungs.
Stop by Huangchengba and you can try a variety of snacks. Your server will hand you a menu to mark your choices on. Take it to the register to pay and your server will return with your selection.
BAGUO BUYI – FOR DINNER AND ENTERTAINMENT
You can add both dining and live entertainment to your travel agenda with a stop at Baguo Buyi. Along with your delightfully searing entrée, you’ll enjoy a daily opera show and face-changing performance. You can’t go wrong with this choice for dinner and a show. The Baguo Ribs are especially popular.
If you’re travelling to Chengdu, make sure you arrive with a healthy appetite. The culinary diversity is sure to delight, and the broad range of flavours includes something for nearly any visitor. If you can brave a bit of spice, you’re sure to leave this delectable Chinese destination feeling impressed.