My next and final stop was Chengdu, capitol of Sichuan province. Sichuan is a province more or less in the middle of China and is most known for pandas and for amazing food. I’m not gonna lie, one of the reasons i chose this place was because of the food. Sichuan cuisine is one of China’s 8 major styles and is extremely popular all across China (and globally… i’m sure you’ve seen dishes/restaurants back home labeled Sichuan or Szechuan). It’s one of the most prevalent styles of Chinese food back home, but of course, the food back home is totally Americanized and often times barely resembles the real thing. Since Sichuan cuisine is so popular in China, i’ve seen it everywhere along my trip, but have actively avoided it because i wanted to save it for when i got to Sichuan province.
The capitol of Sichuan, Chengdu, is a super cool city. It is not one of China’s biggest most major cities, and is more like a second tier town, yet the population in China is so massive that even not being one of the biggest cities, it still has *14 million* people. Despite being that big, this place has a really relaxed chill vibe.. In fact, it’s actually know for having a relaxed pace of life and for the people here taking it easy and really enjoying life. Actually, before i even read that, i could just *feel* it here, which is kind of surprising as i dont speak the language, and dont know what i am basing it on, but i could just tell. I really enjoyed my time in this town.
After the last couple days of crazy trains and other issues, i arrived at my hostel completely exhausted. To my surprise, they had a large fridge stocked with great beers from all over the world. I got a Delirium Nocturnum right away. Ever since i left Beijing, i had been on the move quite a bit, moving from city to city almost every day, and going to see sites all the time. After all that, it sounded really nice to stay put for a while. Not only that, but i made *zero* plans for the next two days. No excursions. No destinations out of town. Nothing. I was just going to spend two straight days just being lazy, wandering about, and eating. That sounded amazing.
After a quick nap, i went out to get my first taste of Sichuan food here. Sichuan food is known for MaLa, a combination of fiery chilis and Sichuan peppercorns (a special type of peppercorn with a super unique taste that gives your mouth a sensation of being numb). Back home, the food is not nearly as spicy as it is here and pretty much every restaurant omits the Sichuan peppercorns altogether 😭. I got two classic dishes: Mapo Tofu (which translates to something like “pockmarked grandmother’s tofu”) and Gong Bao Ji (called Kung Pao back home). I gotta say, the Sichuan peppercorns really make a huge difference. The taste is just so different without them. The Mapo tofu was spicier here than back home and had an incredible flavor and texture. The Gong Bao was surprisingly not very spicy actually, and the sauce actually had a mild sweetness to it. Both dishes were great! I’m going to eat well here 🙂.