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Nibbling Through China

Now that I’ve been in China for a week, it’s time to make note of a few culinary experiences! We are currently in CHENGDU, the capital city of the Sichuan Province. Its also the culinary hot pot of China and a UNESCO recognized world city of gastronomy!

Enjoying dumplings in Beijing!

We’ve been able to enjoy some amazing and authentic food, thanks to my daughter Kate & her fiancé Jim. They live in Beijing and have a good handle of the language and culture. We spent our first two nights in Beijing where on our first night we a enjoyed an authentic Peking duck – Kate even had to place an order for it that morning.

Carving the duck.

The next night we had a wonderful dinner at a Yunnan restaurant. Yunnan is the southwestern province bordering Viet Nam, Burma, Thailand and other countries – the food is like a fusion of Chinese and the cuisines of those places. We were with several of the kids’ friends, so we ordered many dishes, all so good! Kate has been learning Yunnan cooking from a friend from that province so she will teach a Yunnan class at the Cooking Cottage when she gets home.
Speaking of cooking classes, Kate & I took one at a place in Beijing called the Hutong – it was all about Dim Sum. Very imformative with delicious results – I’m anxious to give the recipes a try.

Kate & I with the Singapore Noodles we cooked up at The Hutong.

In Xi’an, our next stop, we wandered through the Chinese Muslim, or Hui, quarter. Xi’an was the former capital of China during the Silk Road days, and lies at the end of that famous trading route so the food has a Middle Eastern flair. We explored a street bazaar there, eating hot salty spiced walnuts and then sat down to a wonderful street food lunch of  “yang rou po mo,” a soup of braised lamb and shredded flat bread with vermicelli, garlic, wood ear mushrooms, ginger, green onions & cilantro. So delicious – even my non-mushroom and lamb eating husband loved it. The cost for lunch with drinks – about one third of what the four coffees we had at Starbucks an hour earlier cost!

Fruit for sale at night in Xi’an.

That evening we had an amazing hot pot dinner after cycling around the top of the wall that surrounds the city.  Hot pot is a traditional Chinese gastronomic experience that is both tasty and invigorating.  You sit around a table with a big boiling pot of spicy broth in the middle and you cook the raw ingredients in the pot yourself, it’s so spicy and yummy and lots of fun.. Of course cold beer helps!
In Chengdu we are enjoying the wonderful peppery noodles, the most famous are called dan dan mian, in tiny little restaurants you find tucked into lanes everywhere. Sometimes all the employees come out to get a good look at us – they don’t get too many western patrons. Our favorite here so far has been The Little Rain Drop – only 6 tables.

Dinner at the Little Raindrop in Chengdu.

Today we took a cab, several buses & a rickshaw to arrive at the dock in Leshan to board a boat to see The Leshan Buddha – literally carved into the side of a cliff, this magnificent Buddha is the largest in the world.

The Leshan Buddha.

We had lunch in a fly – so named because it’s a restaurant so small people literally fly in & out for their food. Also, the sanitary conditions leave much to be desired, though I didn’t actually see any flies! The noodles & dumplings were spicy and delicious and  the veggies were fresh and green! Also, you could throw your trash right on the floor!
We are headed back to Chengdu and…… It’s almost dinner time, so stay tuned!

Dried fruit for sale in Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter.


  1. Lee Mannion says:

    Simply amazing I hope you guys are having a great time. It must be exciting for you to see Kate and china while they are there. Website is great, I look forward to reading more delicious posts.

  2. Marion Bardman says:

    I’m so happy for you to have these wonderful experiences. I was in a couple of these same areas a few years ago but didn’t have a “Kate ” with me to help guide us. I’ll be anxious to talk to you when you return.

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