MUST TRY: SPICY SICHUAN CUISINE IN CHENGDU
Sichuan food can be found anywhere in the world these days, but there’s really nothing like going straight to the source of the heat. That Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province, became a UNESCO City of Gastronomy in 2010 is all the more reason to put it on your list. Its flavorful, spicy cuisine owes itself to the Sichuan peppercorn, used in famous dishes like mapo tofu (stir-fried with minced beef, chili paste, chili oil and fermented soy beans), hotpot (meat and vegetables cooked in a spicy broth), dan dan noodles (which are topped with pork and various sauces), and rabbit head, a regional delicacy. The best way to sample these is by wandering the street markets. But for a sit-down experience, Ma Wang Xi, Chengdu Yinxiang, Yu’s Family Kitchen, and Li Xuan at The Ritz-Carlton are great options. Even vegetarians need not worry — Mi Xun Teahouse does a hotpot with black truffles.