13 Best Foods To Try in Chengdu (AND WHERE) – The Ultimate Chengdu Food Tour
The Ultimate Chengdu Food Guide
Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Date: April 10th, 2018
Author: Trevor James
Chengdu has some of the best food in China! If you’re wondering what to eat in Chengdu, you’ve found the right page. Below are the best foods in Chengdu that you need to eat, with detailed addresses and directions. The best food is found both on the street and in Chengdu restaurants, so there is a mixture of both below.
For directions to these locations, I recommend installing Baidu maps on your smartphone and copying/pasting the addresses in. Or, you can install a VPN on your phone and use Google Maps. Otherwise, you can show the address to a taxi driver or show locals on the street the address as you walk around exploring. My favourite way is to rent a bike on the street in Chengdu, one of the MoBikes or the OFO bikes and explore around.
Dan Dan Noodles and Chili Oil Wontons
Any trip to Chengdu is incomplete without trying the famous dan dan noodles and hot chili oil wontons. This place featured here is without a doubt the BEST place to try dan dan noodle and hot chili oil wontons in Chengdu.
Pictured above is some of my favourite snack food in all of Chengdu. Going clockwise, in this photo we have:
Steamed egg and ground pork (zhēng dàn 蒸蛋)
Dan Dan Noodles (dàndàn miàn 担担面）
Cow Pea Noodles (Jiāngdòu miàn 豇豆面)
Hot chili oil wontons (Hóng yóu chāoshǒu 红油抄手)
You can also order up some yellow liangfen starch jelly noodles here, known as zhǔ liángfěn 煮凉粉.
After Dan Dan Noodles, the green bean noodles AKA Zajiangmian are a must try. I recommend getting a bowl from the famous joint featured in Enter Noodle Heaven 2 video. It’s located in the west of Chengdu, in Qingyang district. I found this place luckily one day while biking around Chengdu looking for a little noodle joint to eat at.
Order the 杂酱面 (Zá jiàng miàn) mixed sauce noodles with cowpeas . Noodles are served in sizes of liang in Chengdu, you can order either 1, 2, or 3, or sometimes even 4 liang. I usually order 3.
One liang 一两 (yī liǎng) small
Two liang 二两 (èr liǎng) normal sized bowl
Three liang 三两 (sān liǎng) big
Four liang 四两 (sì liǎng) huge
So for three liang of the za jiang noodles, you would say: 三两杂酱面 (sān liǎng zá jiàng miàn). If you want, you can also order it with blade sheared noodles instead, daoxiaomian (刀削面）.
Liào lǎo yāo zá jiàng miàn
金鹏街12号 (Jīnpéng jiē 12 hào)
Come for lunch
Sweet Water Noodles and Spicy Mung Bean Jelly Noodles
You’re going to love these! The sweet water noodles, AKA tianshuimian are sweet, spicy, chewy, and a little numbing at the same time. The texture of the noodles is quite firm and a little rough, so they soak up all the chili oil and make your mouth come alive! You can find them right across from the wenshuyuan monastery in central Chengdu.
Dòngzi wéi zhāng lǎo èr liángfěn
文殊院对面 -Directly across from Wenshu temple
Guokui Stuffed and Deep Fried Flatbread
The Guokui stuffed flatbread is a truly marvellous street food in Chengdu. It’s my go to snack if I’m craving that oily and crispy crunch on an empty stomach. One guokui can fill you up and leave you smiling. You will see this all over the street in Sichuan, but you have to go to the right place, because a bad guokui can set you off or even get you sick.
Dough is rolled out into long oblong strips and then a spiced meat paste is spread over top, almost like a Turkish lahmacun or pide. The meat paste is crucial. At a good guokui joint, they will add a generous amount of meat and it will also be spiced perfectly with salt, chilies, and Sichuan peppercorn.
Right beside the Wenshuyuan monastery exit K. 青羊区人民中路三段19号近地铁文殊院K出口 (qīngyáng qū rénmín zhōnglù sān duàn 19 hào jìn dìtiě wénshū yuàn K chūkǒu)
Sichuan style crepe AKA "dan honggao" 蛋烘糕
The dan honggao is a Sichuan style stuffed pancake that is fluffy and filling. You can find it all over the street from vendors pushing carts. There’s a variety of fillings to choose from, including cream, sesame, coconut, chocolate, many different spicy vegetables like radish, carrots, seaweed, minced meat, and more.
And enjoying it with a bowl of hongtang bingfen 红糖冰粉 super sweet Chinese soupy dessert. It’s really refreshing in the summer and cools you down immediately. The flavour is like a mixture between a slight Chinese medicine and brown sugar, and coca-cola.
It was a little hard for me to find the first time, but you will find it if you walk around the Gongrencun neighbourhood. You can also ask locals and show them this address and they will point you in the right direction, that’s how I found it the first time. The gongrencun 工人村neighbourhood is also a very good location for photographs and sampling other street foods along the way, there is a lot of selection! This is where I tried the pig blood soup and sweet sticky rice balls here.
Eat with locals in an old traditional Chinese neighbourhood and finish off with a cup of tea
This restaurant is one of the few places in Chengdu that I’ve found with a really traditional feel, something harder and harder to find in China as it’s developing so quickly. This place is an experience and a food destination. The first time I came, I was so excited to find it and couldn’t stop snapping photos of the area! Not too many tourists know about it at this point, except for the occasional Chinese tourist. The cuisine is delicious here too!
Located down an old road with traditional Chinese neighbourhood buildings with no traffic, this location has a really special feel to it.
The coolest part is how a lot of the food is self serve – there is no menu, it’s served by bike! The food is loaded onto the back of a bike and then run from the kitchen to the restaurant. If you are fast enough, you can grab it right from the bike, or you just walk into the open restaurant and see what is on the table fresh from the wok. You grab it yourself and then pay afterwards. Some notable items include:
Fried yak meat with ginger and fresh green chilies (牦牛肉 Máoniú ròu)
Extremely fatty steamed spicy pork and pumpkin with rice flour (粉蒸肉 fěnzhēngròu)
Pig brain + tofu (豆腐脑 dòufu nǎo)
Yellow or white liangfen jelly 黄凉粉 (huáng liángfěn) and 白凉粉 (bái liángfěn)
Spicy river fish in fermented broad bean paste (Dòubàn yú 豆瓣鱼). There is a lot of selection! Here are some of the grabs from one day I visited:
One of the best little secret gems of authenticity in the city. It’s within the third ring road in the north, a little far from the centre, but so worth it!
There is additional selection as well, you can grab whatever looks good, that’s part of the fun!
It’s in the neighbourhood near this middle school 成都洞子口职业高级中学校 ( chéngdū dòng zǐ kou zhíyè gāojí zhōngxuéxiào). If your driver doesn’t know where the original address is, then show him this one. Follow the little path as shown in the photo below to get into the neighbourhood!
After eating here, you can walk around the neighbourhood and enjoy a tea in any of the surrounding tea houses or play majiang. There are lots of spots to choose from!
Chén shì liángfěn
Eat Chuan Chuan Xiang 串串香 Skewers
The concept is simple, you grab skewers of uncooked meat and vegetables from a fridge, hand them to a server, who will cook them in an extremely spicy and mouth numbing broth/oil, and serve them to you in a big bowl of that same oil. You pay afterwards based on how many skewers you ate. The spice level varies from place to place, but in general, things are pretty hot!
Anywhere with the characters 串串香 will have it. For extreme spice and ambience, you can go to painful heat.
I usually order the two classics: beef douhua 牛肉豆花 (niúròu dòuhuā), and then douhua noodles 豆花面(dòuhuā miàn). You can also order a sweet version, hong tang douhua 红糖豆花 (hóngtáng dòuhuā). This place has almost all of the other small snacks mentioned in this blog post, but they are not as special as their douhua.
Out of all the experiences you can have in Chengdu, or even in China, I recommend coming to a morning market the most. If you find a good morning market, it gives you the best possible cultural experience in China and also allows you to try some fun food too!
I’ve searched and searched for good market experiences in Chengdu and have found many that are fun but only one that is a super fun experience. The others are smaller and have a less crazy feel to them. I have made 3 videos so far about this one market, you can check out part 1 here:
Maocai and Chuan Chuan are two famous meals to have in Sichuan. They are very similar, but both worth trying, especially if you go to the right places. The concept behind maocai is simple, you choose raw ingredients that they boil them for you in a spicy broth, after which they are covered in more spicy broth and garnished with fermented black beans and green onions!
There is always a lot of selection. Just point and order what looks good to you, but at my favourite spot here in Chengdu, I always order around 10 or 20 RMB worth of beef (牛肉片20 人民币 Niúròu piàn 20 rénmínbì) and some tofu skin (豆腐皮 Dòufu pí), and then whatever else I’m feeling in the mood for. You can point at what you want. The bill should be around 40- 60 RMB for two people if you want to feast.
The best place I usually go to is only open for lunch, it opens at 10:30 and closes at 2.
It’s a little hard to find because it’s in a small little backstreet and on the bottom floor of an apartment tower, but once you find it, you’ll know! It’s just a little hole in the wall, but the flavour is awesome!
If you loved this post, and if it has helped you find some good spots to eat in Chengdu, please leave me a comment below! Thanks
Chengdu has a ton of amazing hot pot restaurants. The best hot pot in Chengdu is found in both hole in the wall style hot pot restaurants and upper end (but still cheap!) eateries.
Ting and I are regulars at Bashudazhaimen hot pot. It is a chain restaurant and very successful because their hot pot is extremely flavourful and not overwhelmingly spicy if you order the mid-level one. Of course, you can also order extra spicy, but for your first time, go for mid level or even less spicy.
Street Food videos
INDIAN STREET FOOD
INDIAN STREET FOOD Tour DEEP in PUNJAB, INDIA | BEST STREET FOOD in INDIA and BEST CURRY HEAVEN!
Chinese Street Food
Chinese Street Food - DUCK EGG NOODLES and BBQ Pork Buns | HUGE Street Food Tour in Guangzhou, China
AMAZING Chinese Food in South China
AMAZING Chinese Food in South China | WHOLE Pig Cooking + Crispy Roast BBQ Whole Pig HOG!