Sichuan Food Lover's Guide to Chengdu

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Sichuan cuisine has become one of the most popular types of food in China thanks to its bold and fiery flavors, and the best place to sample authentic Sichuan dishes is at the heart of the province in Chengdu. Here are a few foods and activities you won't want to miss.

Must-Try Dishes
Within China, Sichuan food is practically synonymous with hot pot, a vat of broth infused with dried chilies, garlic and heaps of Sichuan peppercorns that are used to add spice to a variety of meats and vegetables. Kung Pao chicken, a famous dish in the West, hails from the Sichuan province and is made by pan-frying diced chicken with dried red peppers and peanuts.

Perhaps more popular in China is mapo tofu, cubes of bean curd served in a fiery chili oil and fermented bean paste sauce. Dan dan mian, Sichuan's contribution to China's many noodle varieties, is seasoned with black vinegar, soy sauce, dried chilies, garlic, peanuts, scallions and mustard root.

Must-Do Experiences

  • Get a broad overview of the flavors Chengdu has to offer with a tuk tuk food tour, stopping at food stands where the locals eat.
  • Combine a trip to the Sichuan Cuisine Museum, which lays out the evolution of this famous regional cuisine, with a hands-on cooking class to learn to make dishes like kung pao chicken and mapo tofu.
  • Head out for a memorable evening on the town that includes a Sichuan opera performance and a hot pot dinner.
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