In a city with tens of thousands of restaurants its hard to pick the best of everything, but we’ve rounded up a list of our favorite places to get those classic Sichuan flavors in 2015.
Family Style: Ming Ting Restaurant 明婷饭店
The Ming Ting consistently ranks among the top ‘fly restaraurants’ in the city (a term used to describe unpretentious and poorly decorated local restaurants) on many lists, and for good reason. It’s often these unassuming places that house the best dishes in town and the Ming Ting continues to be our favorite place to get ‘family style’ and order a table full of Sichuan classics. Don’t forget to order the Tofu & Brains! 🙂
Chuan Chuan： Grandma Yuan’s Chuan Chuan 袁太婆串串
This inconspicuous one is not one for the faint of heart, or timid newbies, but if you’re up for it, it brings the old-school Chengdu taste we are continually searching for. Plus there’s something charming about this humble, homely little spot that’s carved into empty 1st floor apartments but still brings people from across the city every night, and keeps them raving about it. Everything it lacks in decor it makes up in flavor.
Fire Roasted Chicken – Ling Yun Ge 凌云阁柴火鸡 (Longquan)
A huge pot fill with a whole chicken, potatoes, veggies and lined with cornbread momos sits in a wood-fed brick oven which is also your table. Part camp-fire, part dinner party, “Chai Huo Ji” has become super-popular in Chengdu in the last couple of years, and it delivers all the smokey, spicy deliciousness you could imagine. The only problem is these restaurants aren’t allowed within the city limits. Our favorite place listed here is in Longquan, luckily you can easily take the metro there now.
Noodles – Zhang Lao Er Tian Shui Mian 张老二冰粉
This little noodle shop, across from the entrance to Wenshu Temple has a lineup out the door all afternoon for their well-guarded seccret recipe, “sweet water” noodles. The noodles are thick, hand-cut and tossed in sauce of chilis, sugar, ginger, vinegar and a number of of other ‘secret’ ingredients. Don’t miss this hole-in-the-wall shop if you’re in the area. Its always a hit.
Roast Rabbit – Mother Wang’s Roast Rabbit 王妈手撕烤兔婆
Do one thing and do it well. This take-away only, rabbit only joint in Yulin is an old standby for many of us, and is perfect when you need that spicy kick. Whether you get some rabbit heads or not (a local delicacy) this is a must eat while you are in Chengdu and a definitively characteristic dish of Sichuan. No one does it better than Wang Ma.
Snacks – Yan Tai Po Guo Kui 严太婆锅盔
This is not your typical Guo Kui (fried bread). It’s more of a fresh cooked pita stuffed with a hot meat, or bamboo salad. Located just outside the Wenshu Temple metro stop this is Chengdu’s version of a take-away sandwich shop. Traditionally filled with cold bean-flour noodles, we recommend the beef version. It’s well worth the line-up, which moves fast, just be sure to get there before they sell out.
It feels like we could go one forever, there are so many great places that didn’t make it on our list. As always, we are looking forward to 2016 and finding more amazing places for all of you to try. Hope to see you all along the way.
If any of you would like to try some of these restaurants, please let us know and we would be more than happy to work them into an itinerary for you.