Having lived in China for nearly two years, I’ve picked up my favourite food and drink here. Sichuan is of course, famous for its cuisine, and it being spicy, It’s a good place to try out new food. Some of these photos are my own which I took while here, some from the internet.
huŏ guō 火锅 Hot Pot
Lately I’ve been craving Hot Pot! A little less so now though, as the temperature is usually in the 30’s, but when it was colder It was something that would definitely warm you up. I usually love veg and beef, but a lot of Chinese people add strange things into theirs that I wouldn’t be fussed on. We once got sheep brain ( I think it was sheep) and I did actually try it. The consistency is squishy but I didn’t really enjoy it. The plain food will do fine for me! Here we just got the spicy one, but you can get half spicy and half non spicy if you like.
mántou 馒头 steamed bread
I love these, although eat a few of these and you’re full! Here there are two kinds, one thats are boiled, and ones that are fried. I prefer the golden ones because they taste sweeter. Really they are just sweet bread. In the middle you have like a custard dip. They are served hot, because as soon as they start cooling down they become hard and they are difficult to eat.
gōng bǎo jī dīng 宫保鸡丁 Kung Pao Chicken
Most foreigners order this dish. My chinese friends always say ‘Foreigner people love this dish!’ It’s true though. It’s not typical Sichuan, as this is sweet, with chicken cubes and peanuts. We order this quite a lot, although some times we have gotten it without the peanuts. I’m guessing they run out.
mù’ěr 木耳 Black Fungus
I only know one cold dish and this is it. This is very spicy and sour. I think the juice is a type of vinegar. You definitely need a drink when eating this. When a Chinese friend ordered it I thought ‘What the hell is this?’. Add to the fact that it was cold, I wasn’t particularly excited to try it, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it!
nán guā 南瓜 Pumpkin
I’ve only recently tried pumpkin here in China, but I think we’ll be ordering it more often. It’s nice and sweet, I sometimes get confused what exactly it is, as it tastes similar (in my opinion) to sweet potato. In Ireland, from what I gather, we don’t eat pumpkin.
tǔdòu bāozi 土豆包子 Steamed (Potato) Stuffed Bun
I love these bāozis. The usual fillings are pork or beef, which although are nice, I much prefer the buns filled with potato. I think the meat filled ones taste too strong and they repeat on me. I’m not sure if the potato ones are common in China, but I’ve only seen them in one bāozi stall. Every morning before Uni we buy one of these for breakfast.
zhēnzhū nǎi chá 珍珠奶茶 Pearl Milk Tea
My boyfriend says that I am addicted to these. Which I am not! I treat myself to one only once a week. Surprisingly, the first time I had a milk tea I didn’t like it. The teenagers from my old Uni I worked at were all shocked when I told them I didn’t like milk teas. Now I’ve come to love them, especially the ones from Coco, originating from Taiwan. Milk teas are very popular and you can get different things in them, like pudding. I know, I don’t understand why they put pudding it them either. The one I like is the tea with the black pearls. They are black jelly like balls at the bottom.
jiānbǐng 煎饼 Chinese pancake
I never before seen this in China, but our friend from Uni showed us this shop that makes these. I call it a Chinese crepe. Apparently they are eaten in the morning. They put different things in them, in this one there is a spicy sauce, lettuce, mayo, ham and these crunchy cracker things. Being quite big, you could just eat this and you will be full. We usually get these after Uni for lunch.
chuān chuān 串串 Stick Hot Pot.
I particularly enjoy this food. They cook the food and then put it in a pot for you; sometimes you can eat it like hot pot, with the the boiling pot, but here we get it cooked. For dipping sauce, you can get it dry; with just spices, or with oil; when the spices are in a bowl with oil. We prefer it with the oil. We’re not too fond of the meat in these places so we just get the vegetables. We know one unlucky soul who got very sick when he ate the meat from it.
So these are some of the food and drink I eat and drink regularly here in Chengdu.
Maybe if you come to visit Sichuan you can try these dishes. I have more of my favourites but i will do another post on them another day.