Chengdu China - do you have any restaurant recommendations???... PLEASE
I am putting together a list of really great Chengdu restaurants for foodies who are going to be in the city for two weeks.
I have a few of my favorites but could use some additional input. If you have a place you've been with a special meal - please give me the
-dishes you recommend
- comments on your experience
- date you were last there... I find that places tend to close up unexpectedly so recent reports are appreciated.
I am happy to share my list with you when it is complete if you desire
The last time I was in Chengdu was so long ago and my memories of a drab, barren food scene are thankfully outdated. But today's New York times has an article that may help you. (Although the author, though he writes well, knows incredibly little about Sichuanese food.)
re: Brian S
I wondered about his comment that pine nuts were a fusion ingredient. I know they grow pine nuts in China, at least for export, and I 've had pine nuts in fish dishes in "authentic" Chinese places in the NY area...mainly in Shanghai restaurants, I think..
Are they used at all in Chinese cuisine, or specifically in Sichuan cooking or does their appearance mean "fusion?"
I must say that that article is making me think of a trip to that area! Thanks for the link, Brian.
re: Brian S
I thought the article was pretty well done actually. I hope you don't need to be a Sichuan food expert to enjoy eating here.
Zi Fei's location combined with the price tag puts it into a category of restaurant that I usually avoid, the kind of place where the point is to impress your guests with the amount of money you are spending. The presentation is often exaggerated at the expense of flavour and quality of ingredients. The guanxi that the author talks about also works against newcomers; I think it is highly unlikely that just anyone could walk in and have a very good meal. That said, I haven't eaten there and was happy to read someone else's impressions.
Dong Hu has a very good reputation locally. Wasn't really on my radar before, mainly due to its location, but no arguments with this rec.
The conclusion of the story, of course, is go eat at the fly restaurant - Yang Yang. My only complaint is the mildness of their dishes makes me suspect they automatically make things less spicy for obvious foreigners. I thought that the estimated cost of 150 yuan without drinks or tip (tip, seriously?) was way out of line. I have trouble spending more than 30 yuan per person there. If I had seen this query early enough to respond this would have been on my list.
Have no argument with the making of money, but really wish there were more serious foodies among the throngs who need to be wined and dined in the name of business and progress. High-end restaurants don't have to serve good food to be successful, unfortunately. Or perhaps they only serve good food to their important customers.
I am not sure what kind of Sichuan food you want to pit together. Last time when I visited Chengdu, my friend took me to Chun Hui Rd to try the Sichuan Dim Sum sets in one of the heritage Snack places, then onto Chong Qing hotpot fish, then one of those Chuan Chuan BBQ place (close to SiChuan U, chicken gut Yummm) The last stop before my flight took off was a river fish restaurant in Hua Yang town center where 3 of us had a big basin of fish fillet!
Of course we also did the tourist route of tea at Jin Li. But I find having tea at the flower farms was a more authentic Cheng du experience.
How can anyone have drab food in Chengdu is a bit beyond me - was it in the 1970s or 1980s?
re: Ting Ting
It was just after the Cultural Revolution. You could get passable food at the Furong Restaurant and Chengdu Restaurant, but the best Sichuan food in China was at the Sichuan Restaurant in Peking, and even that paled in comparison with what you can now get in Flushing, NYC.
Here is an article by a famous food blogger who spent a year in Chengdu in 1985.
And here are her articles about Chengdu today: