The Sichuan province is famous for their spicy flavours, and Chengdu is no exception. Luckily, being a hub city, Chengdu also has a variety of non-spicy specialties. As you can see below, not all of the local delicacies are spicy. If you love to eat, Chengdu will not disappoint.
Dandan noodles (担担面) 🌶🥜
Dandan noodles is one of the most well known street foods in Chengdu. It can be served with or without soup. Unfortunately, the noodles are covered with peanuts. So if you have peanuts allergy, this is not a dish for you.
Twice-cooked pork (回锅肉) 🌶
I was told that every family in Sichuan province knows how to make this dish. It's very popular in Chengdu. It is a little bit spicy and is perfect to eat with a bowl of rice.
Three sugar bombs (三糖炮)
As the name suggests, it's basically three sugar bombs (deep fried dough). You can find it everywhere in Wide and Narrow Alley and is quite inexpensive. My only complaint is that my kids prefer eating this to regular meals.
Brown sugar jello 紅糖冰粉
Brown sugar jello is a perfect summer time dessert. It is served cold with pieces of hawthorn sweets and goji berries on top. The brown sugar is not overpowering and strikes a perfect balance between sweetness and healthiness.
Sichuan produces a variety of mushrooms and you can taste them all in Chengdu. They are cooked in different styles and all of them taste good.
Mom's pig feet (老妈蹄花)
The soup is delicious and mellow, the pig's feet are soft and savory. Mom's pig feet (老妈蹄花) is a perfect food for anyone who wants to take a break from Chengdu's spicy food.
廖老妈蹄花总店(东城根南街店) serves the best Mom's pig feet of Chengdu. Their other dishes are quite decent too. [高德地图]
Rabbit meat on a toothpick (牙籤兔肉) 🌶
You can find rabbit meat on a toothpick everywhere in the Wide and Narrow Alley. I found the meat a bit tough and was probably good with a pint of beer and some good friends. Your little kids may look down on you though.
Sad jello 傷心涼粉 🌶
What a name for an extremely spicy dish! Apparently, people who eat this dish find it so spicy that they would cry. I didn't cry but I also couldn't finish the dish. It's hard to discribe the taste. It's spicy, and sweet (some sugar on top) and some MSG.
Pig intestines noodles (肥腸粉) 🌶
Many restaurants offer this dish as it's very popular in Chengdu. I tried it in a food court and it's pretty good. Like any dish with offals, there's a distinctive smell to it. Not everyone can bear with it. Be warned, it's quite spicy.
- Wide and Narrow Alley (宽窄巷子景区) - The Wide and Narrow Alley is a great place to start your Chengdu culinary journey. It houses numerous restaurants and street food vendors. Most of the foods mentioned above can be found there. [高德地图]
- Tianqu Ziyuan (天趣.紫园酒楼) Address: 宽窄巷子20号 - Inside the Wide and Narrow Alley, this is the restaurant I would highly recommend. You can enjoy a show of face changing as you dine. They have a wide variety of non-spicy and spicy food. The menu clearly indicates which is which. [高德地图]
- 小谭豆花(西大街店) Address: 西大街86号 - An old restaurant famous for its tofu and snacks. Be warned that it's always crowded. Finding a seat requires patience and a bit of luck. [高德地图]