Top 12 Dishes/Snacks to Eat in Chengdu

Written by Ruru Zhou Updated Apr. 20, 2021

Chengdunese food is famous for its unique combination of flavors. The most consumed meats are pork and beef, although rabbit is another common meat in Sichuan. Sichuan food is often pickled, dried, or salted. These measures are taken to preserve foods which are then served with chili oil, thus giving Sichuan food it’s characteristic spicy flavor.

The most famous sichuan spice of course, is the Sichuan pepper (“huajiao” or “flower pepper”). This unique peppercorn gives the mouth a numb and spicy/tingling sensation, with a foundation of citrus-like lemony taste. Other spices that are prevalently-used in Sichuan are garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and star anise. One of the most important spices is broad-bean chili paste (doubanjiang), and is essential in many Sichuan local dishes. There are many cooking techniques in Sichuan, but the most common are stir frying, steaming, braising, and hot pot..

1. Husband and Wife Lung Slices (Fuqi Feipian)

Fu Qi Fei Pian may have an off-putting name[in English], but its actually made from other sliced beef organs served in a chili oil sauce with various garnishes. This dish is served cold or at room temperature, with the signature Sichuan spicy/numbing flavor.

Usually, tongue, heart, and stomach make up the organ ingredients, rather than lung.

The unusal name of this dish comes from a couple who sold it in the 1930s. They experimented with different ingredients so their dishes’ flavors stood out. After a wealthy merchant liked their food so much he bought the husband and wife a golden plaque that read “Fuqi Feipian,” and the name has stuck ever since.

2. Zhong Boiled Dumpling

It is named after the inventor's name "Zhong Shaobai", who set up the brand "Lichi Lane Zhong's Boiled Dumpling" for his restaurant in 1931.The biggest difference between Zhong's boiled dumpling and the northern dumpling is Zhong's dumpling is only stuffed with nothing but pork.. When served, it will be added with red oil (made in a special way), which makes it taste slight sweet with salty and spicy.

3. Bonbon Chicken

This is a popular dish in Sichuan cuisine. After cooling the cooked chicken, they strike it slightly with a stick until the chicken became soft, and then pull the chicken into slice. Added with a kind of spicy sauce, the chicken tastes tender, spicy, and appetizing. This dish originated from a small town in Sichuan named" Hanyang" but nowadays, it has introduced into restaurants in some big citiies such as Beijing and Shanghai.

4. Lai Sweet Soup Balls (Glutinous Rice Balls)

Lai-Tang-yuan is a traditional snack all over China, and are frequently eaten to celebrate new year. They make for great snacks to graze on during the holidays between heavy meals, with a sweet and savory flavor that comes from sugar and sesame seeds.

Legend has it that in 1894, a young man named Lai Yuanxin came to Chengdu to apprentice as a cook. He soon fell out with his boss and wound up on the street. With borrowed money he got some simple cooking equipment and started vending rice dumplings on the street.

Pulling himself up by the bootstraps, his success was enough that he could open a restaurant in central Chengdu some years later.

6. Mao Diced Blood

Seventy years ago, there was a local butcher Mr. Wang, who had to sell the left sweetbread in a low price after selling out the pork everyday. But his wife thought it was not a good deal so she began to sell the cooked sweetbread in the street. One day she happened to put the fresh blood of pig into it and found the whole dishes become more delicious, and then Mao Diced Blood was invented.

7. Dan Dan Noodles

Looking for the qintessential Sichuan dish? Look no further. Dan Dan noodles are a staple- and with good reason. These flour noodles are served with vegetables and fried pork and pork gravy, making for a balanced, flavorsome meal. They have a savory, smokey, and spicy flavor from liberal application of chili oil. They are frequently served at banquets in Chengdu as well as being widely-available from street vendors.

You can find Dan Dan Mian all over Chengdu. It’s served in restaurants, it served by street vendors, and it’s made by the locals at home too.

8. Liang Mian (Cold Noodles)

Chilis, black pepper, sugar, and vinegar may not sound so great on cold noodles, but it makes for a refreshing, cool snack- almost like a salad. Topped with bean sprouts, fresh coriander leaves, and chopped green onions, liang mian is a great way to beat the summer heat.

9. Suan La Fen (Hot and Sour Sweet Potato Noodles)

Pickled vegetables (usually asian raddish or cabbage), fresh coriander, and peanuts add flavor to Suan La Fen. These translucent noodles are made from sweet potato, rather than the more common rice or flour. They are served in steaming broth with a flavor combo that balances salty, spicy, and savory, and will keep you warm on cold days.

10. Long Chao Shou (Chengdu Wontons)

Long Chao Shuo are a local Chengdunese name for wontons. These wontons are made by stuffing thin, tender flour paper skins stuffed with a meat stuffing- usually made from pork or beef. The wontons are served in a soup with a sauce made from pork, beef, duck, and chicken, which is simmered until creamy. This simple dish contains only a few ingredients and makes for a refreshing, light snack between meals.

11. Zhong Jiaozi (Zhong Dumplings)

Zhong dumplings are named after their inventor, Zhong Shaobai, whose dumplings became the most famous in Chengdu toward the end of the Qing dynasty. Dumplings are eaten all over China, but these are unique because their ingredients contain no vegetables, only pork, giving them an especially savory taste.

There are 2 types of Zhong dumplings: soup dumplings, and red oil dumplings.

The soup dumplings are milder, served in broth. They have a lighter, more refreshing flavor, and are easy on the palate and digestive system.

The red oil dumplings focus on balancing a variety of strong flavors- salty, spicy, and sweet. The dumplings naturally savory/salty flavor is complemented by the sauce they are served with. They are served in a sauce composed of chili oil, garlic, soy sauce and sugar, leading to a balanced melange of powerful flavors.

12. Meat in Spiced Sauce

It has special flavor and various choices, like the popular ones: chicken pot, beef pot, lung slices pot, even vegetable pot. And the soup of the tail of ox is quite unique which is only served in its head restaurant.

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