My First Days in Chengdu

Authors: Oliver Kimber Baumgarten

2017-07-14

Busy roads, spicy food and a totally different language make you feel that you are a long way away from home, but it is surely an extraordinary experience to arrive in Chengdu.
As a foreigner, it is surely an extraordinary experience to arrive in Chengdu. Busy roads, spicy food and a totally different language make you feel that you are a long way away from home. Even though I have done a lot of traveling before I have never seen anything quite like this city before. I have been to countries like South Africa, Ecuador and Malaysia but they do not compare to Chengdu.
Chengdu really gives you the experience of living in a big city. Chunxi Road is placed in the center of Chengdu and ranks the third most famous commercial street in China. On the main street people are shopping in large numbers while surrounded by tall buildings with colorful commercials on their facades. The metros going to the center of Chengdu always seem to be full of people. I have been told that the rush hour is around 6 pm., and as I have only taken the metro at other times I can only imagine how crowded the metro stations will be during the busiest hours.
Not being able to speak Mandarin can be a serious challenge. Fortunately, some restaurants in Chengdu are in possession of menu cards that has been translated into English.
The thing I was told most about Chengdu before I arrived was that the city is known for its Sichuan food which has a reputation of being the best food in China. In just two days I have already tasted a wide range of Sichuan dishes and the food in Chengdu is certainly interesting. The food here is so spicy as I have never tasted it before. Unlike other tourists, I do not find the food too hot, however I still have not gotten used to the varieties of flavors that are used in most dishes. Kung Pao Chicken ― a course consisting of chicken breast in a sour and sweet sauce, peanuts and cucumber ― is my favorite dish so far.
Chengdu also offers Western food as KFC and Starbucks but compared to the local food, these offers are expensive and, after all, Chinese food is a part of the experience when visiting China. Within the next weeks, I will investigate the food in Chengdu further as I still need to try specialties as chicken feet and rabbit head.
Kung Pao Chicken
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