Japanese Foodies’ Food Exploration Tour in Chengdu

Authors: Go Chengdu


A dozen of Sichuan food lovers from Japan, members of "MA LA REN MEI" (literally means Sichuan Spiciness Clan), came to Chengdu in March and set out on their good-food exploration in the City of Gastronomy.
The group arrived in Chengdu on March 18, and during their gastronomic trip they tried various local foods and also experienced local culture.
"Our purpose here is to taste good food as much as we can," said Mr. Nakagawa, the organizer of the group.
Nakagawa, from Shimane Prefecture of Japan, came to Chengdu to study Chinese in 2002. During his time in Chengdu, he discovered an abundance of delicious foods and then became a stalwart fan of Sichuan food.
Back to Japan, he has organized Sichuan food tasting activities that has attracted participation of a great number of spicy food lovers and started a website to promote Sichuan foods ― the only one of the kind in Japan.

Members of "MA LA REN MEI" have a sumptuous variety of Sichuan foods at Qinshanzhai Restaurant in downtown Chengdu.

The gourmet exploration kicked off with their breakfast at an old restaurants called "Xie Baozi" (Xie's Stuffed Buns), which sells buns with a fine skin and succulent meat paste inside. The breakfast proved a gratifying experience with the tasty buns, the warm cereal congee and local pickled vegetables.

Local noodles not daunting for the spicy food lovers from Japan.
The members of "MA LA REN MEI" then tried special pepper noodles at the "No.7 Noodle Restaurant". Chengdu noodles are noted for the variety and sophistication. The distinct piquancy and freshness of the hot noodles aroused people's appetite.
The lunch for group on the day was hotpot mainly consisting of nourishing herbs and other traditional Sichuan dishes at Qinshanzhai Restaurant. They ate with pleasure and praised the special and abundant ingredients of the nourishing hotpot.

The rabbit heads and duck tongues also not a problem.
To many, a look at the cooked rabbit heads may be intimidating, but the Rabbit Head, usually served in versions of Five-spices and Mala Sauce, is a famous snack in Chengdu. After an initial hesitataion, the Japanese foodies bravely tried a bite of the snack. "It is so yummy!" they declared with excitement, and continued eating. And soon the rabbit heads, duck tongues and wings were consumed all together.

"If you ask me what is my favorite food in Chengdu, I'm afraid that I could not give an answer. Because there are too many delicious foods. Every one of them is unique and distinctive. I can't pick out the best one," said one of the members, "I think the intestine noodles are perfect: sleek noodles with taste-lingering soup...all the other foods are delicious, though."
The group also visited Chengdu Shuijingfang Museum and learned the Chinese wine culture. "Japanese wine is low in alcohol, generally between 14 to 17 degrees, while Chinese Baijiu is far stronger. It kickes, but very thrilling," said Tanaka, one of the member.

"MA LA REN MEI" organizer Nakagawa tastes Baijiu (Chinese liquor) at Chengdu Shuijingfang Museum, Monday, March 20, 2017.
The Japanese foodies also went to a local tea house and everyone of them ordered one set of Gaiwan Tea (tea served in a bowl with a saucer and a cover). "The green tea and jasmine tea here is really fresh. We bought some yesterday," Tanaka said.
The culture of The Three Kingdoms has been very popular among Japanese and Korean tourists. After tasting foods in Jinli old street, the group also paid a visit to the Wuhou Shrine Museum, the most influential museum of the Three Kingdom culture in China.

Mr. Nakagawa remarked that the food culture has constantly been a link between Chinese and Japanese, "I love the food of Chengdu, and I would love to be an ambassador to promote the interactions between the Chinese and the Japanese culture, getting more people to know Chengdu and to love Sichuan food."

Members of "MA LA REN MEI" and staff from local website GoChengdu.cn show support to Sichuan food, Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

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