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Top 6 Famous Sichuan Food You Must Try

Visiting China Sichuan? Here are the Top 6 Famous Sichuan food you have to try.

Sichuan is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China, especially for foreigner tourists. Because there are so many things to see, from the cute panda in Chengdu, giant Buddha in Leshan, Mountain Emei, to the stunning Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve park. 

But more important, Sichuan is famous for it's special spicy cuisine with the numbing, tongue-tingling bite of Sichuan peppercorns. When you visit Sichuan, you will have chance to taste a lot snack dishes, such as famous Spicy Oil Wonton (红油抄手 Hóng yóu chāoshǒu), Dan Dan Noodles, Cold Mung Bean Jelly, Fuqi Feipian (literally "Married Couple’s Slices of Lung") and Lai Tangyuan (sweet rice balls). You can easily find these from Sichuan local street markets, basically eat on the go. 

If you go to the Sichuan local restaurants,  here are the Top 6 famous Sichuan food you absolutely have to try.  (You can find all of these foods and restaurants on the mobile App called Spoonhunt). 

 6. Mouthwatering Chicken (口水鸡 Kǒushuǐ jī)

Sichuan Chengdu Mouthwatering ChickenFamous Sichuan Food: Mouthwatering Chicken

First of the list is Mouthwatering, or Drool, Chicken. Appropriately named, this cold chicken dish will make your mouth water from the delicious taste and the spicy flavor. The chicken is poached ensure the meat is tender even when served in its cold state. After being cooked it's dunked in ice cold water to tighten the skin back up for it's signature texture. It sits in a bath of chili oil, peppercorn, vinegar, green onions and peanuts to ensure the numb and spicy flavor seeps into all portions of the chicken.

Like many other Chinese dishes, the chicken is served on the bone for freshness. Chinese people are experts at extracting the delicious and cold meat from the bone but it may take a few meals to learn the proper technique.

5. Twice Cooked Pork Belly (回锅肉 Huíguōròu)

Sichuan Twice Cooked Pork BellyFamous Sichuan Food: Twice Cooked Pork Belly

If you aren't a fan of the spicy Sichuan chili in your food, Twice Cooked Pork Belly is the perfect Sichuan dish for you. True to its name, the pork is first boiled in salty water before being stir-fried with leeks and soybeans. A few chilis are typically include but they aren't prevalent enough to make the dish spicy, but rather the crispiness of the meat with the other ingredients make it both sweet and salty.

Since the meat is pork belly, the boiling of it turns the fat in the meat tender like bacon, so it will melt in your mouth. When it gets stir-fried in the sauce, either Doubanjiang (Chinese chili bean paste), or Tianmianjiang (sweet bean paste), the meat caramelizes, making it sweet.

Want to know how Chinese cook this dish at home, check our site see the recipe for Twice Cooked Pork Belly.    

4. Boiled Fish (水煮鱼 Shuǐ zhǔ yú)

Sichuan Dish Boiled FishFamous Sichuan Food: Boiled Fish

One of the most famous boiled dishes in Sichuan cuisine is Boiled Fish in Chili Sauce. When boiling anything, the soup base is incredibly important to the taste of the meat. For Sichuan boiled fish, the soup base is Doubanjiang (chili bean paste), with dried chilies and peppercorn to give it a spicy base. The fish is typically carp, catfish or snake head as the meat needs to be soft and tender when boiled and is sliced into small pieces with the bones still attached.

3. Kungpao Chicken (宫保鸡丁 Gōngbǎo jīdīng)

Sichuan Kungpao ChickenFamous Sichuan Food: Kungpao Chicken

While Kungpao Chicken has made its way over to Western Chinese food, the original and authentic version comes from Sichuan. The basics of the dish include diced chicken, peanuts, vegetables and chili peppers. Even though it's from Sichuan, it doesn't carry the same level of spiciness as most of the cuisine. Instead the peanuts give the dish a sweeter, almost honey-like taste. The chicken should be tender and thoroughly coated in the Shaoxing wine and bean paste marinade.

Want to make this dis at home? see the Chinese home cooking recipe for Kungpao Chicken (with video) here.

2. Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐 Mápó dòufu)

Sichuan Chengdu Mapo TofuFamous Sichuan Food: Mapo Tofu

Talking about the Top 6 famous Sichuan food, one of the most recognized foods from Sichuan Chengdu, is Mapo Tofu. While it seems like every region in China has adopted mapo tofu as their own, putting their own twists on it, it really comes from Chengdu. The signature mapo tofu from Chengdu utilizes the famous Sichuan peppercorn powder and chili bean paset sauce that gets easily soaked up by the soft tofu and is served bubbling in a hot cast-iron pot. The tofu should be so soft that chopsticks slice right through it. In Chengdu, one of the most famous Mapo Tofu restaurants in the world is Chen Mapo Tofu.

The original version of this dish is very heavy tasted, hot, spicy and mouth-numbing.  If you are not comfortable with that, you can find a light version here, Chinese home cooking recipe for Mapo Tofu.  You can find more Chinese home cooking videos from this site's Youtube Channel.

1. Chongqing Hot Pot (重庆火锅 Chóngqìng huǒguō)

Sichuan Chongqing Hot PotFamous Sichuan Food: Chongqing Hot Pot

This is the most popular forms of hot pot in China and definitely needs to be included in the Top 6 famous Sichuan food. The specialty comes from the Sichuan peppers in the broth that will completely numb your mouth. Chongqing hot pot comes in a few different forms, such as Yuanyang (鸳鸯) hot pot and Qiaotou (桥头) hot pot, where the spicy broth and the mild broth for cooking the food are separated.

You can enjoy both spicy and plain broths which is perfect for a large group with different preferences. It’s a good way to clear the sinuses and make you sweat during the winter. The real experience and quality comes from the ingredients, typically sliced beef or lamb, seafood slide, mushrooms, tofu, pulled noodles, cilantro, lettuce and dipping sauce. Visit Sichuan, the Chongqing hot pot is definitely a must-try.

Additional Notes from Min:

Thanks to Adam Liu from Spoonhunt, who provided this post and all lovely food pictures. Spoonhunt is a brand new mobile app to find the best restaurants all around China with English menus, which is available from the iTunes and Google Play App Stores now. You can read Adam’s another post for the features of Spoonhunt, or go to www.spoonhunt.com for more details.

If you want to introduce your food/travel website or business in China via guest posting on my site (Alexa rank here), or want to find more about it, feel free to drop me a line via contact form. Thanks.   

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