Hot pot, one of China’s signature dishes, has been a mainstay of Sichuan province for centuries, the dish style having over a thousand years of history behind it. In China, one of the most famous styles is Chongqing’s má là (麻辣), a mix of numbing flavours and hot spices. The sensations bring about an eating experience unfamiliar to most traditional western dishes, the cooling numbing flavour of the Hua jaio (花椒) balanced by the fiery hotness of the chili peppers. Inherently social, hot pot is rarely eaten alone, generally involving family and friends waiting in eager anticipation for the spice soaked pieces to be cooked in the communal pot.
With Chengdu having its own native style, we decided to try chuanchuan hot pot. Different from the more common Chongqing variety, chuanchuan can be identified through the use of skewers to cook the meat, the skewers resting along the edge of the pot as the meats and vegetables soak in the broth. For a couple of students, this was their first time eating hot pot. A few tepid skewers in to the meal, the pace picked up leaving a mound of wood in our wake, filling out hungry stomachs with an assortment of pork ribs, shrimps, tofu wraps, and a wide variety of vegetables. Eaten with a couple of cool beers, it was the perfect way to cap off a warm Chengdu evening!
Sichuan food is famous all over the world and also takes an important position in China.
If you’ve been to Chengdu, or any other part of Sichuan province, you probably will have heard a lot about Sichuan food, especially that it’s really spicy. This is not entirely true! We have a variety of food styles so there are options for all pallets, but if you are brave enough you can come with me and I will challenge you to try the real spicy dishes.
In ancient China, people called Sichuan “Kingdom of Paradise”, not only because of the food but also the culture. You may have heard of Beijing Opera… well, we also have Sichuan Opera.
Life in Chengdu is easy; we like to say that we really know how to enjoy life. You can just go to your local tea house, drink some tea, talk with your friends, and afterwards have a delicious Sichuan dinner. Let me recommend some dishes for you here which are definitely worth a try:
1. Kung Pao chicken（宫保鸡丁）
Very famous not only in China but throughout the world. Chicken in Shaoxing wine marinade, Sichuan peppercorns, and of course peanuts! A classic.
2. Pork lung in chilli sauce (夫妻肺片)
This is one of my favorites but it’s a little bit spicy, so tread carefully!
3. Steamed chicken with chilli sauce (口水鸡)
Local people call it “saliva chicken”, I have no idea why… I guess it must be so delicious that people can’t help but salivate at the mere thought of it.
If you want to try real Sichuan food, I can be your culinary guide! Come to Chengdu and I promise your pallet will never be the same… In the meantime, check out our Instagram feed where we regularly post photos of all the scrumptious dishes that only China can offer.
During Chinese New Year I moved from Qingdao to Chengdu and took with me: my cat Paula (big thanks to my colleagues who helped me through all the paperwork to take her on an airplane!) and my Chinese colleague Leo (also well-known as MacGyver amongst the InternChina community!).
Both arrived safely and helped me to feel like at home from the first day on. Our mission is to set up a new office for InternChina and to welcome as many students from all over the world as soon as possible. Chengdu is a fascinating city and offers plenty of opportunities for career seekers or those who just want to get a first idea of this enormously growing country and their economy. Also for those, who are culturally interested in China, Chengdu has a lot to offer: Daoist and Buddhist temples in and around Chengdu, religious mountains and multiple Chinese ethnicities living in the city make the exploration of Chengdu a big adventure.
Even though the last weeks were busy with finding a good office location and settling down, I tried to stroll around the city and discover places for you which might be interesting when you come to Chengdu the first time in your life.
So, I started my tour with strolling around in Jing Li Ancient Street. This is a place where you can find traditional Chinese architecture blending in with the modern world of consumption. A fascinating place where you can buy Chinese souvenirs for your friends and family at home or try different exotic Chinese snacks. Right next to this street, there is the more than 300 years old Wu Hou Temple, which is a huge area including a bonsai tree garden and the perfect place to escape the bustling city life. Entrance fee is 60 RMB, but worth to pay, if you like to hang out in a peaceful place and discover the beauty of Zen gardens. Not far from the temple you can find the Tibetan streets, where you can see typical restaurants and shops for all religious equipment (like incense sticks, incense vessels and holders as well as praying pillows) can be found. People are friendly here and speak English, so you can easily purchase some Buddhist goods or clothes.
After my tour through Wuhou district, I felt really hungry and as I love to cook at home, I wanted to try another supermarket than Carrefour to buy groceries. So, I went to Raffles City, which is a very new Shopping Center in Chengdu (see picture), where you can easily get lost within all the shops and even in the supermarket, which turned out to be a labyrinth. However, they offer very good fresh meat and fresh sea fish, which usually is not possible in a city so far away from the sea. Also, one of the 36 Starbucks in Chengdu can be found here, so if you are thirsty for a good coffee in Chengdu, there is always a place to go.
Finally, I also tried a few Western and Chinese restaurants in Chengdu and I easily can say you can get food from all over the world here: I already had potato salad as my grandma used to make it, original Spanish Tapas along with a cheesecake cream dessert, Tex-Mex and Indian food, as well as fried goose from Hongkong, steamed shrimps dumplings (Cantonese) and of course all different kinds of hotpots!
As you can see, Chengdu is a city which is easy to explore and of course, if you come here for an internship you could discover the city with our InternChina team together!