Chengdu is not only the biggest city in Sichuan, but also one of the earliest cities and metropolises in China. Here are some keys words for Chengdu: hometown of giant pandas, the most leisurely city and best living city in china, the capital of gastronomy, the capital of teahouse. Chengdu has proved to be a perfect city to stay, relax and travel. If you pay a visit to China, Chengdu is definitely a place worth staying for 2 days.
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
Giant pandas are the trademark of Chengdu, every year millions of people are attracted by giant pandas to travel to Chengdu. The reason is that for people around the world, the charm of giant pandas can't be replaced by anything else. Of all the pandas in the world, eighty percent live in or around Chengdu.
Locating in mt. Futou, the northern suburb of Chengdu,30 minutes driving from the center of the city and most of the hotels in Chengdu, it is the best place to see giant pandas. Established in 1987, it offers living quarters in imitation of panda habitat for adult pandas, adolescent ones, newborn ones (from late June to early September), as well as red pandas. The ecological environment is fit for living and breeding giant pandas. Here bamboos, flowers and trees are luxuriant. In terms of captive-bred and raised giant pandas, the research base is the top choice.
Tips: giant pandas are quite active in the morning, especially during feeding time(8-10 am). Summer is a hard time for giant pandas who will spend most of their time in air-conditioning rooms. But summer is the only chance to see the cubs in the incubators.
Jinli Ancient Street
In New York, everyone knows Broadway, and in Chengdu, Jinli ancient street is a place must visit. Jinli was one of the oldest and most commercial streets in the history of Chengdu. Currently, this street is built in the style of a town typical of the Ming and Qing dynasties. If you fail to go, you will surely miss a chance to learn about the past and present of Chengdu and the unique and leisurely life there.
Walking into Jinli street, you will feel as if the wheel of time was turned back to the years past. Bungalows and gates with two or four-door leave quietly tell their own histories. The street is filled with antique flavors and packed with stores and handicrafts. People here are busy coming and going all the time. Folk customs are easily captured here, such as manor houses, inns, and stores. You will come upon Sichuan tea, Sichuan dishes, Sichuan liquors, Sichuan opera, famous snacks and handicrafts. You can feel as if you are in the midst of an ancient marketplace in Chengdu. While wandering on Jinli street, you could see a rickshaw passing by, and you could hear the singing of birds and smell the scent of tea.
Tips: the evening view of Jinli street will be wonderful when all the traditional Chinese red lanterns are turned on. Locating in the city Centre, it is convenient to call a taxi back to the hotel even after 10 pm.
Sichuan Cuisine Museum
It is said that cooking on earth started in Chengdu. The cooking methods of Sichuan cuisine had been almost fully developed, spicy and tongue-numbing, sweet and sour flavors, strange-flavored and many other flavors had flourished in Chengdu. Sichuan cuisine finally made a name all over china as a distinctive regional school of cooking.
Sichuan Cuisine Museum is the best place to learn Sichuan cuisine and enjoy Sichuan flavor. Located in the western suburb of Chengdu, this museum is combined with 3 parts: 1st part is the exhibition of Sichuan cuisine development history; 2nd part is the demonstrating yard of chili paste which is a unique source for local cooking, 3rd part is the cooking area where with the step by step help of a tutor, everyone can cook 3 local courses themselves. Normally the courses will be gongbao chicken, mapo doufu (spicy and tongue-numbing flavored doufu) and stemmed panda buns. In the end, tourists can eat the food cooked by themselves as well as a variety of local snacks offered by the museum.
Tips: the whole tour in the Sichuan cuisine museum takes roughly 3 hours, so half day tour is recommended.
Chengdu Tea House
"China has the best tea in the world, Chengdu has the best tea in China", over the last 200 years, the teahouses in Chengdu have been emerging like bamboo shoots. Teahouses can be easily found in street corners, by the riverside, in bamboo parks as well as in narrow alleys. Teahouse has become one of the characteristics of life and culture in Chengdu.
Traveling in the capital of tea, the best way to experience the local laidback life is to sit down in the teahouse and order a cup of "gaiwancha" (tea served in a cup with a lid and a saucer). The top teahouse is the Heming teahouse in the people's park in the center of Chengdu city. it is the most crowded teahouse with local Chengdu people all day long. Besides tea drinking, you will find local people will enjoy the ear-cleaning, performance of the tea ceremony as well as playing mahjong here. It's obviously the happiest and most relaxed place in the city. If you by chance visit the Wenshu temple in the northern city, do not miss the tea house in the backyard of the temple. This teahouse distinguishes itself by its low prices and Buddhist customers. Traditional services with a long-mouth copper teapot are common thing here. Wangjianglou park which means river viewing park is another recommendation for the teahouse. Located by the riverside and amid bamboo park, you could easily find inner peace.
So far Face changing show has been world-famous and has been performed on various platforms. Actually, face-changing is just part of Sichuan opera. Gongs and drums play a vital role in Sichuan opera. In Chengdu, Sichuan opera can be easily enjoyed in hotpot restaurants and teahouses every evening. But if you like the high-quality show, Shufengyayun teahouse in Qintai road definitely is the right choice. Shufengyayun teahouse offers Sichuan opera every evening from 8:00-9:30 pm with a variety of different performances, the highlight would be face changing show and hand shadow show. Sitting in a bamboo chair in a teahouse in a traditional Chinese yard and enjoying a performance will be something you can't miss.
Tips: if the time is limited for your travel plan, the teahouses in Jinli ancient street and in wide and narrow alleys offer opera shows in the daytime.
Best Food You Can Have a Try
Chengdu Hot Pot
Coming to Chengdu, hotpot is definitely something you should try. There is no difficulty that can't be solved by a meal of hotpot. For local people, hotpot is as important as giant pandas. What is a hotpot? As long as there is a pot over a fire, then a hot pot can be cooked. With boiling oil soup, various food cooking in the pot, and the tongue-numbing and hot taste, hotpot will bring you an unforgettable experience.
Where to eat hotpot? What's the best recommendation? Actually, there is no answer to that. There is at least one hotpot restaurant on every street, which means the low quality and low taste of hotpot can't survive in Chengdu. Instead of looking around, you can easily smell a hotpot restaurant at dinner time.
Tip: during the weekend hotpot restaurants are overcrowded, so better arrive there before 6 pm or after 8:30 pm.
As a gourmet city, just talking about hotpots is not supportive enough. Chengdu snacks are something that can't be missed and are easy to find, especially in some ancient streets, temple compounds and local teahouse parks. Chengdu snacks refer to dozens of small dishes with cheap prices but various flavors. Here listed some top favored Chengdu snacks:
Dandan noodles are a famous Chengdu snack made of flour. It serves boiled noodles with some stir-fried minced pork. Widespread in Sichuan, this snack is often used as part of dim sum at a banquet. The ingredients total more than ten, including dark soy sauce, melted lard, sesame oil, mashed garlic, chopped scallions, chili oil, Sichuan pepper powder, and vinegar.
The Zhong's dumplings:
It offers dumplings with chili oil and dumplings in light soup, which are famous for their thin wrappers, ingredients, tender fillings and fresh taste. The main difference between Zhong's dumplings and those in north china lies in the fact that the former is stuffed with minced pork and no vegetables. When they are served, certain boiled spiced oil is poured on them and they are slightly sweet, salty and hot-quite flavored.
Guokui: somewhat like scones or small pizza.
Zhengzhenggao: a cake made from corn flour plus some sugar, which is put into a very small bowl, steamed for less than half a minute and wrapped in a lotus leaf.
Niuroujiaobing: Chinese crispy bread with beef
Sandapao: a bunch of three pellets made with sounds from cooked glutinous rice paste
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