Welcome to Chengdu, Sichuan Province. In the following three days, you will start your Chengdu food tour. During the tour, you can experience different scenery and taste various local delicacies. Firstly, you can have a feeling of enjoyment when having a chance to play with giant pandas in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. In the Giant Panda Museum, you can learn more information about giant pandas. In addition, with the help of the Chengdu food guide, you can enjoy the Sichuan special foods, such as Sichuan Hot Pot, green tea, and so on. I believe Chengdu food will feed your stomach with great joy. Additionally, you can enjoy the joy of local special culture and customs. For instance, you can feel the unique ancient Chinese culture when visiting Du Fu Thatched Cottage. When visiting People’s Park and Heming Tea House, you can get the enjoyment of local leisure life and special tea culture in Sichuan. Especially, you can go to Chuancais Museum to learn to cook Chuancai and go to Jinli Street for some local snacks. I believe all of these will amaze you. So, don’t hesitate and just join us as soon as you can.
After your arrival in Chengdu, the tour guide will wait for you at the airport and then escort you to the preserved hotel for a good rest. Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province, is located in central Sichuan and one of the three most populous western cities in China. It has a population of over 20 million in 2020, covering an area of 14,335 square kilometers. The surrounding Chengdu Plain is known as the “Country of Heaven” and the “Land of Abundance” for its abundant production and fertile soil. So, you can taste various delicious foods like Dandan noodles, Husband and wife lung slices, Wonton served in sweet chili oil, Pockmarked grandma’s tofu, and Boiled fish here after beginning our food tour. During the tour, I believe you will be astonished at such palatable foods and the magnificent scenery.
In the morning, we will first visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. The base is located just 10 kilometers away from downtown Chengdu. As one of the most attractive attractions in Chengdu, there are countless tourists coming here from all over the world. Besides, it is not only a place for breeding pandas but also providing interactive activities that teach people about pandas and their protection.
The best time to visit is in the morning because pandas are active during this period. And if lucky enough, you can see the cute guys are having breakfast. On a cool day, you also can see pandas playing outside. Or they will stay indoors, so you are suggested to go to the giant pandas’ enclosures and delivery houses to see giant pandas. Except for giant pandas, you may also see many other rare animals playing in the base, such as red pandas, black swans, peacocks, and so on.
In addition, you can go to the Giant Panda Museum to learn more about them. For instance, you can see giant panda fossils, giant panda specimens, and dissected pandas. The museum also houses many large true-to-life exhibits of giant pandas in their natural environment in ancient and present times. You can also know more about their evolutionary history. And you may figure out the vital meaning of establishing the breeding and research base and its educational meaning around the world.
Instead of taking photos with giant pandas, the best way to record your unforgettable trip experience is that you go to the Giant Post Office to buy some postcards as gifts or souvenirs. The postcard is stamped with a cute panda postmark. So, it must be a perfect gift to send your friends, family, or yourself.
After visiting, it is time for lunch now. Today, we will choose Sichuan Hot Pot as our special lunch. As one of the most representative kinds of Chinese hot pot, Sichuan Hot Pot is known for its unique flavor “Numb and Spicy” or mala in Chinese.
The Sichuan Hot Pot can trace back to the early 20th century. At the time, the port workers and fishermen worked and lived along the Yangtze River and could not afford to eat regular meat, so they found a way to cook cheap meat and offal by boiling them in a pot with very spicy soup. On the one hand, they could enjoy different kinds of meat at one time. On the other hand, they could keep themselves warm by having such spicy hot pot, especially in the winter. In addition, the use of spicy ingredients could disguise the taste of offal. After some modification and addition of fragrant ingredients, the pot meal became a popular dish in the Sichuan region.
After years of development, the Sichuan Hot Pot today is much more refined and much more popular among different walks of people. The modern hot pot has been shaped into a progressive meal that starts with sliced meat, offal, and seafood, followed by vegetables, and ends with noodles. So, you can’t have the enjoyment of traditional hot pot now. But you can still enjoy the eternal spicy and palatable taste of various foods in the hot pot.
In the afternoon, we will head for Du Fu Thatched Cottage, People’s Park, and Jinli Street for a visit. Du Fu Thatched Cottage, the former residence of the famous Tang Dynasty poet— Du Fu, is located at the side of the Flower Washing Brook in the western suburbs of Chengdu. In 759, Du Fu moved from Gansu to the outskirts of Chengdu with his family in order to take refuge from the political turmoil and civil war. In 760, with the help of his friends, Du Fu built a thatched hut at the side of Huanhua Brook (Flower Washing Brook). That is the origin of Du Fu Thatched Cottage.
During his stay of nearly 4 years, he composed 240 of his 1,400 surviving poems that reflected the misery of the people. At the cottage, you will see an impressive life-sized statue of the poet. Outside, across a small bridge and up some footsteps, you will come to Du Fu’s Memorial Hall. There are stone tablets, steles, and clay sculptures of the poet that were finished as early as the 14th century. In his study, there are more than 150 copies of various editions of his poems on display. There are also a collection of more than 2,700 booklets, biographies, and literary commentary on his life and his poems both in Chinese and other languages in the study. The humble and quaint cottage will make you feel a unique charm and the profoundness of Chinese traditional literary culture.
After that, we will head for People’s Park. Located in the center of Chengdu, People’s Park is the first public park of the city that combines local culture with entertainment. There are artful landscapes and gardens, tea houses, and a pond with boats and motorboats in the winding stream in the park. If on a sunny day, you will see lots of local people sitting under the green shade, drinking a cup of tea and chatting with some friends, or just reading a book or magazine or playing Mahjong with friends.
In addition, many locals, especially seniors will hold various kinds of activities in the park, such as singing, dancing, or playing chess with their friends. You can also sit down on the stone chair and chat with them, talking about the enjoyment of their life and feeling the slow-paced life of the local people. Therefore, People’s Park is not only a tourist attraction but also an epitome of local people’s life.
Drinking a cup of tea at a local tea house is an indispensable feature in Chengdu people’s life. So, we will go to Heming Tea House for a cup of tea and learn more about China’s tea culture. Heming Tea House is the most famous one in People’s Park. A wide range of tea is offered at a lower cost here. Tea is served with a refillable thermos containing hot water, so you can refill your tea as many times as you want. Sitting on a bamboo chair and sipping a hot cup of tea, you will see some tea-drinkers playing chess, some walking around the market, and some paying for an ear-cleaning service. Everything seems to go smoothly at a steady and orderly pace. Besides, with peaceful surroundings around it, the teahouse is an ideal place to experience the leisure of local people’s life.
Jinli Street is another place worth your visit. Located in the east of Wuhou Memorial Temple of Chengdu, which is the most famous Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 280) relic museum in China, Jinli Street was once one of the busiest commercial streets during the Shu Kingdom (221 - 263). In 2004, the present street was restored to re-create its prosperity. Cramming with countless tea houses, guesthouses, bars, and many other stores, Jinli Street has been under the sight of tourists from all over the world and local people.
Walking on the street, you will find that the whole street is paved with green flagstones, decorated with wooden steles, brick walls, and red lanterns, exhibiting an ancient charm. Maybe you just saw such a scene on TV before. But now you can experience it in person. If lucky enough, you may appreciate the classic Sichuan Opera on the Jinli Old Stage. Of course, there may be some other classic folk arts on the stage, such as sugar painting, clay figurine, paper-cut, shadow puppet performance, etc. You can experience the bustling scene of the ancient market here. So, what great fun it is!
It will be a great pity if you don’t taste local snacks at Jinli Street when traveling in Chengdu. At the end of Jinli Street, there is a segment of the road that sells all kinds of local snacks. And I believe you will find your favorite and enjoy yourselves. So, remember to empty your stomach before coming there.
If you are a fan of opera, you can never miss the local Sichuan Opera or Chuanju performance. Sichuan Opera is a type of local Chinese opera mainly prevailing in Sichuan Province, with a history of over 600 years. It was originated at the end of the Ming (1368-1644) and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1636 -1912). By the end of the Qing Dynasty, Sichuan Opera is gradually mature. The characteristics of Sichuan Opera are unique solos, refined acting, rich percussion, and talented comedians, which are unparalleled in the world. Especially, face changing is its highlight.
Among opera theaters, Shufeng Yayun is the best place to enjoy the performance. It is located at Chengdu Culture Park, 23 Qintai Road, Chengdu, Sichuan. Usually, the performance is between 18:00 and 19:30 or 20:00 and 21:30. So, buy your ticket in advance and enjoy the time.
After breakfast, we will come to Chuancais Museum. Chuancais Museum is the first museum to display a regional cooking culture in the world. And you can learn Sichuan cuisine culture by viewing antiques and relics as well as cooking Sichuan cuisine dishes on your own to feed your stomach.
Taking a visit to this museum, you can not only learn Sichuan cuisine culture by eyes and ears but also enjoy it by mouth and nose. During your visit, there are various interesting and meaningful special activities you can take part in. However, the most meaningful one should be the typical Sichuan dishes cooking under the guidance of professional chefs. So, you can join the Cooking Class to learn how to cook Sichuan dishes by following professional chefs.
Just as the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect”, so I think there is no better way to know more about cuisine than learning how to cook it yourself. By cooking on your own, you will have a better and deeper understanding of cooking skills and even some essence of Sichuan cuisine.
Now, just start your exploration from Chuancais Museum, enjoy different flavors of Sichuan cuisine, satisfy your taste buds, and experience all fun with us.
Now, your tour will come to an end. After experiencing three days of the gourmet tour, I believe all of you have picked up on the charm of Chengdu and each step you leave here will recall your unforgettable and wonderful memories. After packing up your luggage, our tour guide will transfer you to the airport according to your flight schedule.
Author: Hu Senjing
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We started with a few days in Beijing & ended in Shanghai, from where we visited the Forbidden City and Great Wall. In between we visited Terra Cotta Warriors Museum, Panda Base, Shanghai Disneyland.
We had a wonderful holiday in China which will remain long in the memory. China is a breathtakingly beautiful country full of splendid temples and palaces, mountains and rivers, peaceful rural scenes and bustling shopping streets.