People usually connect Chengdu with beauty, fine views, good wine, panda, and of course - innumerable Chengdu snacks that even the elderly Chengdu people can't count! From various noodles to Chao Shou (a Sichuan-style Wonton) and dumplings, from pickles to cold dishes and from bread to pastry, Chengdu is home to more than 200 kinds of fascinating foods and you will be dazzled by gastronomic delights on local streets and alleys.
Dan Dan Noodles are made by rolling out the dough and topped with stir-fried ground pork. The finished noodles are thin and topped with spicy sauce which makes the noodles very appetizing and tasty. As a popular Sichuan delight, Dan Dan Noodles are usually served as a banquet snack. This snack derives its name from shoulder poles (dan dan) used by noodle peddlers in the streets. Dan Dan Noodles are thin and free from soup but spicy sauce.
When you walk along the streets and alleys in Chengdu, you will find Chuan Chuan Xiang (Ma La Tang) shops of all sizes everywhere, characterized by red-painted low tables, stools, steaming hotpot and lots of bamboo sticks. Chengdu people just have amazing innovation and intelligence in food! When hot pot was introduced into Chengdu from Chongqing and became popular overnight, no one expected that it could transform like this - vegetables and meat ingredients in hot pot are threaded onto bamboo sticks and evolve into Chuan Chuan Xiang prevailing for decades.
Bobo Chicken, originated from Leshan, is a classic Sichuan dish popular in Leshan and Chengdu. The snack came down from the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 AD) and has a history of over a hundred years. Bobo Chicken refers to cold slices of chicken served with chili sauce containing many spices in a pottery pot (Bobo) and features crispy skin, tender meat, spicy and delicious flavor.
Large Intestine Pho is mainly cooked with sweet potato vermicelli, large intestines, rapeseed oil, dried red chili and Sichuan pepper. This food is spicy and savory. Mixed with the special processed intestines, it can be served either as a snack or a special meal. Large Intestine Pho, a kind of fast food, has been loved by Chengdu people.
Sliced Beef and Ox Organs in Chili Sauce or Beef Lungs in Chili Sauce (Fu Qi Fei Pian) is a famous Chengdu dish created by Guo Chaohua and his wife Zhang Tianzheng. Generally, beef, ox heart, ox tongue, tripe and head skin are the main ingredients, which are marinated and sliced. Then, the sauce containing chili oil, Sichuan pepper powder and other ingredients is covered onto it. The finely made dish looks bright and tastes tender, delicious and spicy, which is quite very palatable.
Fried Sweet Rice Balls, nicknamed Swan Egg due to the similar shape, are a famous traditional snack in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. With glutinous rice, brown sugar and sesame as the ingredients, Fried Sweet Rice Balls are deep-fried, coated with white sesame and threaded on bamboo sticks. Each stick has four or five balls at the price of RMB 3-5. The round and bright balls are in brownish red and of caramel flavor. Topped with fragrant white sesame, this snack is crisp outside and soft inside. And the great balls can be hollow inside.
Three Bangs, a famous specialty in Sichuan, are made from sticky rice and derive its name from the ''bang, bang, bang'' sound in cooking. This snack in fact consists of three glutinous rice balls respectively nicknamed iron, fire and gun. Three Bangs are sweet, tasty, and neither oily nor sticky. Also, it is cheap and fine, with glutinous rice, brown sugar, sesame and soybean as the main ingredients.
Mini Hotpot (Mao Cai), a dish based on meat, bean products, greens, seafood and mushroom, is a traditional Sichuan-style snack originated from Chengdu. The most authentic way to eat Mini Hotpot is to add dried chili powder, salt, aginomoto and other seasonings in a saucer, and then dip the cooked food in it to enjoy. Mao Cai is delicious and spicy.
Sweet Noodles (Tian Shui Mian), a famous local snack in Chengdu, are named after the reused soy sauce which tastes somewhat sweet. The noodles are as thick as chopsticks, thus very chewy. Also, this food is topped with crispy crushed peanut and pepper to add the spicy and fragrant flavor. Try it, the taste will linger in your mouth for quite a while and you will miss it.
Bean Jelly is a common Sichuan dish made of soybeans. In hot days or when you are eating spicy food, a bowl of ice Bean Jelly can be refreshing with its cool, smooth and slightly sweet flavor. It can rival ice cream in relieving summer-heat and spicy flavor. Generally, Bean Jelly sells at RMB 5-7 per bowl.