Friday, February 22, 2013

Chengdu Food - Part 1

Day 2 (23 October 2012)

I went out to look for breakfast before 7:30 a.m. There were street vendors around and I decided to try the stand near the side entrance of Xinnanmen Bus Station. This would be my first meal in Chengdu. The price for a cup was RMB8. Just as I was eating, the vendor started removing the table and chairs. I was puzzled until I saw the police car parked beside the stall. I hadn't paid for my noodle yet and I was not sure how to pay him with the police watching him. Fortunately for him, the policemen drove off and I was able to pay him before he moved away. He was apologetic for what had happened.

Although the food looked very spicy, that was not the case, at least not to a Malaysian. If I were to compare it to Malaysian Curry Mee (noodle), I would say the Curry Mee is spicier
The noodle might look tasty, but it fact its flavor is only slightly spicy and a bit salty
I exited People's Park at another entrance. Across the street from the entrance, I saw a stall selling snacks. I have seen this snack on TV and decided to give it a try as it looked really tempting.

It has no fillings. It was flaky and crispy with some numbing effect.
I strolled along the nearby streets. It was lunch time. Many shops were offering hot pot with bunches of skewered food.

I saw an old woman having something what looked like stewed belly pork. It looked really delicious. The canned stewed belly pork from China was one of my favorite foods and I could not resist ordering it for lunch. The pork was served on a bed of preserved vegetable. The price was RMB16.

I had hotpot dinner with Y, my Couchsurfing host. Now, this was the authentic stuff of Chengdu, not some pretentious hotpot elsewhere which has been modified to suit local taste or hotpot without the Chengdu condiments. This was real hotpot. Y's nephew said the little pot of chilly oil should be added with salt, msg, oyster sauce, spring onion and garlic. The food which has been cooked will be dipped in the flavored chilly oil before popping them into the mouth. This will be downed with tea, beer or other beverages. The food Y ordered for the hotpot were little Chengdu fresh water fish, eel, mini dumpling, tripe, beef, mutton, sea weed, vegetable, noodle (nien gao) and two to three other food which I had forgotten.

Is hotpot hot? For hotpot, I understand that there are different levels of hotness. For our order, Y told me it was "wei la" or medium hot. It is actually less spicy than KL Curry Mee (noodle). For most Malaysians, this is not considered hot.

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