On of the common concerns, we heard from friends when we went on a trip to China was about food. China is a multicultural country with varied cuisines and here I can speak for the province of Sichuan as a tourist. It’s truly blessed and we had opportunities to sample a wonderful variety of delicious food here- that’s spicy and flavorful- just as we’d like to describe some of Indian food too.
The food is delicious and we’d highly recommend you embrace it’s flavours and tastes without comparing it with familiar food. Visiting Sichuan and eating at fast food places seems criminal considering what the local food has to offer. However we do admit, having a Chinese friend along greatly helps in trying out the food. Here’s a list of what we ate on our trip- it’s not the complete list of recommended items- just what we chose to eat.
Day 1 :
The first thing that’s a favourite of mine is the Sichuan barbeque – the ultimate winter food – hot, spicy. It works in a simple format- you select the vegetables/meat of your preference and you pay by the stick (more for meat). They barbeque it and get it to your table. It goes marvellously well with the locally available peanut soy milk, the herbal tea served in cans or beer that they prefer.
Food ordered by our group of 4:
Vegetarian : 3 types of tofu, 3 types of mushrooms, potato, lotus stem, 3 types of greens, a long chilly,
Meat : snails, fish, chicken, pork, beef
Eggs : Quail eggs
Day 2 : Leshan
LeShan is also popular for its food and Summer had visited it just for the food previously, so we decided to make the best of our trip there.
Veg/Egg: Tomato and egg noodles, Egg chow mien, Greens and Noodles
Meat: Sweet skinned duck (which is a speciality of Leshan), Beef and noodles
After lunch, we dropped into a few more eateries and decided to pack snacks for the trek. It was quite a challenge to pick a few of the options but we did manage to finally pick – buns with a sweet brown sugar filling, rice with sesame wrapped with corn husk, brown and white coloured rice cakes, and steamed pork dumplings. Some packed watermelon and green and red cherries later, we were all set to take the bus to see the famed Leshan Grand Buddha. (slideshow below)
At the Wenshu Monastery, we were hungry for a snack and headed to the place most crowded (always the safer bet in an unknown place). People just had paper containers of soft noodles that we ordered too. Was quite a delicate process to handle those noodles with chopsticks since they cut through so easily and it is simple fare. But Anand loved it so it’s a thumbs up from the Indian vegetarian. Vegetarian restaurants are quite the speciality in the area- you could try some more when there.
Huahu: Lunch here was one of the very best we both enjoyed
Vegetarian: Dandelion leaves (bitter for me, Anand utterly loved it), mushrooms, eggs with tomatoes, mushroom soup, rice
Non-vegetarian: Kung-pao chicken, whole fish cooked Sichuan style, beef with peppers, and fried beef.
We had dinner at the hotel we stayed for the night in Huanglong. A meal of
Vegetarian/Eggs : julienned potatoes (my favourite), tofu, eggs with bitter gourd
Non-vegetarian : Beef, and another meat dish with the ubiquitous soup.
In hotels, breakfasts seem to have lots of items but not much spice other than pickles. We had a modest breakfast of some porridge, the local bread with a few types of pickles before heading off to Huanglong.
Lunch though did not disappoint. We stopped for lunch at a large rich looking place and had a sumptuous meal of
Vegetarian: Eggplant, Pumpkin, ear mushroom( Anand liked this one a lot), local bread, eggs and tomato, pickles, rice
Non-Vegetarian: Fish, chicken, beef and pork dishes.
Food here was very bland for Indian and Chengdu tastes.For dinner we had
Vegetarian/Eggs: Pumpkin, Bean Sprouts, Tofu, Soup, rice, eggs cooked in water.
Non-Vegetarian: Ash gourd with Pork, Pork with Potatoes, Beef with Peas, Buckwheat noodles with some meat (I don’t recall)
Breakfast and dinner were on similar lines as the day before, So after dinner at the hotel where we stayed we set out to find what our heart desired – a spicy barbecue.
We ordered a few sticks of greens and several types of mushrooms with lots of spice to crave our chilly withdrawal symptoms of the past few days.
On the way back from Jiuzhaigou we stopped for lunch where we had an endless buffet with numerous options for lunch and then headed back to the bus.It’s hard to even list the entire set of items , some I can remember are
Vegetarian : Corn, cakes, soups, eggplant dishes, noodles, greens , potatoes, mushrooms, several salads
Non-vegetarian : Dried fish, beef, pork dishes (too many to remember)
We were lucky to be hosted by my friend Michelle and our family and in Jinli enjoyed this brilliant looking and tasting meal.
Vegetarian: a sweet jelly dish, several types of sweet baked items, eggplant, the most coral like mushrooms cooked with eggs. a sweet dish with noodles
Non-vegetarian: Duck cooked with tea, kung-pao chicken, a cold but delicious chicken dish, a huge serving bowl of fish cooked in chili oil.
And they added icecreams to the mix – one shaped prettily like a plant with cocoa powder imitating the soil in the cup.
Day 10 :
The next day we revisited Jinli not in the least for its food. We picked a dinner of pineapple rice, fried potatoes and fish cooked on a stick and walked around enjoying its sights once more. However the food available was incredibly varied and beautiful looking.(slideshow below)
Mostly spent eating and all the lovely food is right here in the post.
We did not specifically go searching for food items, but easily found things we enjoyed and can’t wait to have again sometime- and we hope you do too. Happy eating!
Up next: Travel tips : For the first time China traveler