Stick hot pot
Some of the questions that any foreigner in Chengdu for any length of time will be asked a thousand times each are, “Do you like Sichuan food?”, “Have you tried hot pot?”, and “Can you handle spicy food?” I certainly hope that your answer to all three questions is yes, but if not, try a few of these great places to eat and you'll be on your way to chewing peppers like a native. This particular set of Chengdu restaurants is going to focus on the more common, everyday places where the locals satisfy their cravings for lajiao (chili).
1) Yulin Chuanchuan Xiang 玉林串串香
Stick hot-pot. There is usually a back area or a side wall filled with trays of food on sticks, often divided by meat and vegetables. You grab a tray for yourself and pick as many sticks as your heart and stomach desire. You then insert all of the sticks into your now boiling hot-pot, and once they are cooked you enjoy and savour the spicy goodness. When you are ready for the bill, some fuwuyuans will come by and tally up your sticks with amazing rapidity. You are always welcome to count for yourself as well, but I usually trust the professionals. Last I checked, the going rate was 5 jiao per stick. Every adult in Chengdu can tell you tales of when they were poor, starving college students; how they would burn the sticks while the waitresses weren't looking so their tab would be cheaper at the end of the nights. Too bad that doesn't work with beer bottles.
Yulin Chuanchuan Xiang 玉林串串香 View In Map
Add: 76 Fangcao Dongjie, half a block west of Yulin Nan Lu, Chengdu
Tel: 028 6293 8759
Getting there: They actually have locations all over Chengdu and China, but the main one is half a block west of Yulin Nan Lu on Fangcao Dong Jie. It's got a big red sign, and the whole front of the restaurant is open, no walls or windows or pesky doors in the way.
This page has a list of all their franchise addresses: http://www.ylccx.com/newscont.php?culture_id=75
2) Grandma's Buckwheat Noodles 王婆荞面
This is one of my favourite places for a quintessentially Sichuanese bowl of spicy noodles. They press the noodles right in the front of the store, and the soup is a blood-red concoction of just the right amounts of lajiao, vinegar and fresh greens. They also have some great steamed breads and ye'er ba, which make some delicious snacks. If all the tables are taken, which they often are, don't despair. There is a whole extra room for seating deceptively hidden in the back.
Grandma's Buckwheat Noodles 王婆荞面
Qingshi Qiao BranchView In Map
Add: Qingshi Qiao haixianshichang (near yandai xiang) Jinjiang District, Chengdu
Getting there: Just right outside the back entrance of the Qingshiqiao Carrefour.
Yuilin Shenghuo BranchView In Map
Add: Yulin Shenghuo Square (near Yulin nanlu) Chengdu
Getting there: just a few paces north of the Yulin Shenghuo Guangchang on Yulin Nan Lu.
Yibin Ran Mian
3) Yibin Ran Mian宜宾燃面
Chengdu is very famous for its Dandan Mian, and don't get me wrong, they are a tasty treat. But they’re pale in comparison to the awe-inspiring, mind-bending, religious experience that comes from the celebration your taste-buds will have when you give them the gift of Yibin Ran Mian. However, be warned: not all places claiming to sell Yibin Ran Mian are created equal. To date, I have been disappointed by several imitations in Chengdu and only felt the rapture at one restaurant. If you live near the Southwest University for the Nationalities then you are in for a treat, because the one restaurant that rules them all is found on the southeast corner of the First Ring Road and Yongfeng Lu intersection, by the Yiguanmiao Overpass. It's a block east of the Minzu Daxue South Gate. The restaurant and décor don't look like much, but when you see the crowd that is there at lunch time, you will want to know what they know. Go in there and get yourself a plate of oily, delicious divinity.
Yibin Ran Mian宜宾燃面View In Map
Add: Ximian Qiao and First Ring Road (near Yiguan Miao Overpass) Chengdu
Getting there: One block east of Minzu University south gate, it's right on the corner by the overpass, you can't miss it.
4) Old Bald Guy Steamed Beef 戴蒸肉
Another famous Chengdu food is steamed beef. It has always been one of my favourite Chengdu snacks, so I considered myself lucky when I happened across the restaurant which many Chengdu locals consider to be among the best steamed beefs around. It's so good, that the founder of the restaurant felt he needed his blurry I.D. photo on the sign. Fair warning, if you see a guy that looks like the guy in the photo and he tries to sell you his special, it's probably going to be steamed pig's ear or nose or something other than beef...so very politely tell him that you're just there for the beef, unless you prefer steamed pig's ear or nose or feet.
Old Bald Guy Steamed Beef 戴蒸肉 View In Map
Address: 4 Xiao Jiahe Bei Jie, Wuhou District, Chengdu
Tel：028 8515 8845
Price: 20 RMB / person
Directions: This guy is going to be a little bit harder to find, but he'll be worth the trek. He's on Xiaojiahe Bei Jie, and if you know where the Xiaojiahe Sports Walking Street is, he's just east of the north entrance.
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Keywords: Chengdu Sichuan food Chengdu restaurants Chengdu local restaurants
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