An offshoot of spicy Sichuan cuisine, Chongqing fare is noted for its sharper bite, even compared to other Southern chili-intensive cuisines like that of nearby Chengdu. Chili peppers, sesame seeds, fermented black beans, scallions, ginger, garlic, wine, soy sauce and an array of similarly pungent flavorings are used in conjunction with 40 different cooking methods, the most prominent of which is drying, salting, spicing, pickling, frying and smoking. Color, smell, flavor, cut, and nutritional value are taken into careful consideration while preparing Chongqing dishes - no wonder people say that Chongqing food is not only appealing but also nutritious.
These days, you can't go anywhere in China without seeing throngs of diners munching tidbits of meat and vegetables from boiling bronze pots; but few tourists realize that hotpot was born and cultivated in Chongqing. Once upon a time, it was a seasonal food designed to protect against the low temperatures and frigid winds of winter. Now, in the height of its popularity, hotpot is eaten year-round. If you haven't yet indulged in hot pot, Chongqing is the perfect place to give it a try.
As you might imagine, hotpot restaurants grace almost every street in the city. Xiao Tian E (Cygnet Hot-Pot Palace) and E Zhang Men are two of Chongqing's most popular. The hotpot restaurants in the Chongqing 5-star Harbour Plaza also serve decent food in a cozy environment.
Although hotpot is probably the most well known delicacy in Chonqing, many savory treats may appeal to you. Some treats like Maoxuewang, Qianzhang, spiced salted peanuts and Youting Braised carp will give you the true flavor of Chongqing's cuisine. These local culinary delights are favorites of many locals, expats and travelers that come to visit Chongqing. So are the city snacks that the city is famous for.
The Four Food Streets of Chongqing
Check out Nanbin for romance and scenery, Keyuan for upscale metropolitan leisure, and Zhigang and Jiazhou for a more family-oriented atmosphere.
Nanbin Food Street
Nanbin Road lies in a halo of neon lights along the southern bank of the Changjiang River. Many restaurants here feature Chongqing hotpot and spirited Jianghu cuisine; so many, in fact, that Nanbin has been nicknamed "Jianghu Cuisine Street" by natives. Enjoy a savory meal at Taoranju, Waipoqiao, Shunfeng 123, Laoyuan•Laodian, or any number of other excellent restaurants in the area.
Keyuan Food Street
One of the earliest gourmet streets to be popularized in Chongqing, Keyuan Gourmet street is divided into Keyuan Si Road and Keyuan San Street. Prices begin low, with family-run hotpot restaurants on Keyuan Si and continue to climb, reaching their height in the up-market Chongqing, Chengdu and Guangdong eateries on Keyuan San. The most famous of these are Taoranju, Dezhuang, Laifulou, and Xishurenjia.
Zhigang Food Street
Zhigang Road is located in the Yangjiaping Central Business Zone of Jiulongpo District. Zhigang's strongest draw is the endless choices of places to grab a bite, and numerous restaurants line either side of the street. The most lauded restaurants at this location are Caixianyuan, Qinma, Zuihechun, and Wulingshanzhen.
Jiazhou Food Street
It is a comprehensive food street that serves Chinese food, hotpot, western food, including Sichuan cuisine, Chongqing cuisine, and Cantonese cuisine, etc. It is a nice for commercial party or friends gatherings.
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