Chengdu is a famous culinary city in the western China. In the large city, visitors can find countless restaurants serving extremely delectable Chengdu street food. The most prominent flavor of this region is the spicy taste of Sichuan cuisine. The most popular dishes are noodles, dumplings, sweets, floating cakes, salads and soups. Diners have the opportunity to enjoy rich flavors in popular kiosks or luxury restaurants. Joining us to learn more about the most outstanding dishes in the city that you should try once when coming to Chengdu.
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So, what to eat in Chengdu? Let’s check out our top rated 19+ top Chengdu local food, best food in Chengdu and must eat in Chengdu including famous food in Chengdu (Chengdu famous food) as well as best Chengdu street food you should try when coming to the ancient city of Sichuan region!
Liángfěn noodles (Cold spicy jelly noodles) (# chengdu street food)
Liang Fen noodles are a popular Sichuan snack that is loved by many diners. In Chengdu, you can find many variations of it, from dishes that only include noodles and spicy red chili sauce to dishes that will be served with herbs like coriander to increase the taste.
Liángfěn noodles have noodles quite similar to the Vietnamese version of vermicelli. Each strand of noodles has a transparent color and is made from pea, sweet potato or green bean starch. Therefore, it has a soft and chewy texture, giving it an extremely pleasant chewing feeling. Coming to Chengdu, every noodle shop will have a signature sauce that creates its brand. However, what this dish has in common is the spicy red chili sauce that comes with chili powder and a amount of garlic salt.
In some places, diners can request to reduce and add more spices and sauces to suit their taste. Besides the signature spicy sauce, you can find other versions served with soy sauce. This dish often sells extremely well during summer days. Because this dish helps local people feel refreshed and easy to eat during the hot summer days.
Tian Shui Mian (Sweet Water Udon Noodles)
Noodles are a popular dish in Eastern cuisine from Vietnam, China, Korea to Japan. Noodles can be served hot or cold in liquid noodles, dry noodles, or noodles mixed with sauce. Most of these dishes have a savory flavor and are eaten as the main dish of the day. However, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a noodle dish with an extremely unique flavor in Chengdu. This dish is called Tianshui mian – Sweet Water Udon Noodles by Sichuan people.
Tianshu mian noodles in local cuisine are a popular breakfast dish. This sweet noodle dish includes fresh hand-made noodles, sugar, sauce and a little meat or topping to add flavor. When serving it in a bowl, the chef adds a little spicy red chili oil. The sweet and spicy flavor is one of the flavors that locals absolutely love.
The noodles in the tianshui mian bowl are made with white flour and a little salt. When kneaded to combine, the dough is flattened and cut into wide strips. The finished product after cooking will have a soft, chewy texture. The sauce in this dish is not as bright red as the dishes you often see in Sichuan cuisine. It is usually brown or black in color but the spicy taste is no joke.
It is the unique preparation method that creates the different color of this sauce. The chef uses soy sauce mixed with sesame oil, black pepper, brown sugar or white sugar to create flavor. Besides, they will add cinnamon powder and bay leaves to create a characteristic passionate and somewhat bitter flavor.
In each shop, you will see sellers quickly scooping noodles, toppings, sauces and chili oil into bowls to serve diners. You will see the trays full of ingredients quickly disappear with the continuous serving speed. There, the seller will let you choose (or encourage you) to choose sauces with different spiciness and different toppings to suit your taste.
Dandan noodles (dàndàn miàn) (# chengdu street food)
Another unique noodle dish that diners cannot miss when coming to Chengdu is Dandan noodles. In Chinese, people call this noodle dish 担担面 – dàndànmiàn /dan-dan-myen/.
Dandan noodles are the choice of many locals and tourists alike. People are fascinated by it because of the chewy texture of the noodles mixed with the irresistible rich sauce. Each strand of Dandan noodle is made from white flour and prepared fresh on the day. The chef will roll out the dough thinly and use a knife to cut it into long strips. When diners order, the dried noodle bundles are cooked in boiling water and then picked up in a large bowl. The toppings of this dish are extremely diverse from minced meat, chopped salted vegetables, chili oil, fresh chili, Sichuan pepper and green onions. Sometimes, diners can find some stores that add sesame sauce to their noodles.
The soft and chewy noodles served with a spicy and salty sauce, plus a bit of crunch from the pickled vegetables, are truly mouth-watering. The highlight of the dish is the salty and spicy taste, so ask the seller to reduce the sauce and chili to suit your taste.
Dumplings (# what to eat in chengdu)
When it comes to Chinese cuisine, dumplings are considered one of the most typical and popular dishes. Therefore, it will be more familiar to many familiar tourists than the two noodle dishes mentioned above.
There are many variations in the form and flavor of this beautiful little dumpling across China. In Chengdu city, local people like to prepare dumplings with typical spicy seasoning. This dumpling is sold in stalls along the streets. Visitors have two options to enjoy: regular dumplings and dumpling soup. The common point of these two dishes is the dumpling itself.
The dumplings are filled with ground pork mixed with traditional spices (such as pepper, soy sauce, green onions, ginger,…). The shell is a layer of soft, chewy wheat flour. For regular dumplings, each serving will include buns and accompanying dipping sauce. This sauce is a spicy and salty red chili oil made from chili oil, chili powder or whole cut chili peppers and maybe a little sesame oil.
When you eat, you will feel the characteristic spicy flavor mixed with the delicious dumplings. As for dumpling soup, this will be a lighter option for those who can’t eat a lot of hot and spicy foods. The broth poured over the cake has a sweet taste and is not spicy at all. Enjoying the soft, sweet meat cake and hot broth will make your body warmer and more comfortable.
Wonton (lóngchāoshǒu) (# famous food in chengdu)
Similar to the dumplings we mentioned above, wontons are a dish that is also very popular in Chengdu. This dish in Chinese is transliterated into lóngchāoshǒu – meaning dragon claw.
Sichuan people in this city have a delicious way of preparing wontons that you cannot miss. Looking at the neat batches of wontons, you would definitely think that it was made from a modern technology.
Bu, each wonton is handcrafted by expert craftsmen. They have experience and talented hands that can knead dough, roll out the dough and shape wonton better than any type of machine. The crust is made from premium white flour, so although it is fragile, it retains its firm and chewy texture even after being cooked. That texture is described by Sichuan people as “thin as paper and smooth as silk”.
The wonton has a filling that is a blend of minced pork with chopped-cabbage and spices. The wontons are cooked in a sweet broth made from bones (chicken, duck, pork) stewed for many hours. The starch from the crust makes the liquid thick and greasy. This dish tastes best when served hot. For many Chinese people, wontons are easy to eat and nutritious, so they are given priority to patients, young children or people in need of nourishment.
Mapo tofu (# chengdu best food)
Tofu is a popular and very familiar dish for Vietnamese and Eastern cuisine. This ingredient is healthy and can be processed into many delicious dishes. Each place and each different region has recipes with different flavors for dishes with tofu. In Chengdu in particular and China in general, the most delicious and famous dish is Mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐) – or people often call it /maa-por doh-foo/.
This dish is really famous among foreign tourists. Therefore, when they come to this city, they must once find and enjoy it. Mao tofu is a dish with a harmonious blend of tofu and creamy sauce. The tofu ingredients in this dish must be silken tofu with a smooth and fatty texture. To make a delicious sauce, the chef must use minced pork (or beef) cooked with jicama, onions, peas, wood ear mushrooms, soy sauce, chili powder,… All ingredients The ingredients are stir-fried until cooked evenly, then add water and tapioca starch to make the smooth sauce.
The flavor of this famous tofu dish is truly extremely delicious. The soft, smooth, fatty tofu will melt right in your mouth. Meanwhile, the rich, crunchy, spicy, aromatic sauce of the bean tubers makes the tofu pieces even more delicious. This dish is delicious just eaten on its own. However, this is also a very “rice consume” dish! Try it and see, you’ll knock out your bowl of rice without even realizing it.
Kung Pao Chicken (# best food in chengdu)
Chicken meatballs in Cantonese are called Kung Pao, while in Mandarin it is called Gongbao jiding – 宫保鸡丁. Literally, the name of this dish means chicken meatballs that protect the royal court.
To prepare this dish, the chef will have to cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes. Then, this meat is fried with dried chili, ginger and peanuts until golden and fragrant. When serving on a plate, they will sprinkle a little green onion to enhance the taste and make it more eye-catching. This dish will make your tongue tear when you eat its original taste. Therefore, if possible, please tell the chef to leave a little chili to suit your taste.
The flavor of this dish is characterized by tender chicken served with crunchy peanuts and fragrant spices. The chicken is cut into bite-sized cubes so you can put the whole piece in your mouth. When enjoying, remember to include peanuts. These two different textures and flavors combine well to create a delicious, mouth-watering whole.
Chinese steamed buns (# must eat in chengdu)
China in general and Chengdu in particular is a dumpling paradise. This traditional dish is enjoyed by people at all times of the day. In this city, diners have the opportunity to find and experience different flavors with shapes and sizes from big to small.
The common steamed buns will be quite similar to the preparation of the dumplings that we often eat in Vietnam. The outer dough is made from fermented white flour so it is fluffy and soft. The filling inside can be salty or sweet depending on the customer’s choice. With traditional spices such as chili powder, Sichuan pepper, ginger, soy sauce,… the steamed buns here will bring a different flavor to you.
Korean steamed dumplings (# chengdu local food)
Korean steamed dumplings in Chengdu? You heard right! This is a unique dish that you should try when coming to this city.
Korean steamed dumplings in Chengdu city have a quite long history. In 1914, chef Han Yulong was the first to bring this dish here. He serves it in the Yulong Park noodle shop at the south end of Golden Cow” (Jinniu) District. From then on, steamed buns became a familiar dish for local people. When Han Yulong passed away, his son – Han Wenhua continued and created new flavors to serve diners. Some of the most attractive and popular cakes are shrimp dumplings, bacon dumplings and meat dumplings.
The common thing of this type of dumpling is its excellent quality. The shell is made from premium white flour mixed with lard, sugar, and salt. The filling will depend on the flavor and include: fresh meat, pork fat, spices and sauce. After the process of kneading, tempering, and steaming, the round, white dumplings will come out of the oven looking like cute pigs. The dumplings is always moist and hot. The shell is soft and fragrant while the filling is rich and flavorful.
Different from traditional Chinese steamed dumplings, this dish has an outer shell like a har gow (shrimp dumpling). Therefore, you will feel like it is a giant version of Chinese dumplings.
The next dish is also steamed buns but prepared in a different way. That unique thing is the way people put filling and sauce into these vegetarian buns to make a delicious dish. The bun is cut in half to sandwich the filling and sauce inside. For many people, this method reminds us of burgers, tacos or even sandwiches. The soft, moist buns is served with a rich, spicy filling, making it very mouth-watering. Enjoying this dish will give you a feeling that is both strange and familiar and worth experiencing.
Sichuan Fuqi Feipian (Husband and Wife Lung Slices)
Sichuan cuisine has a popular preparation method that is to mix ingredients in a spicy chili sauce. Among them, sliced lung mixed with chili sauce is a famous specialty of Chengdu city. This dish is usually made from pig lungs (some people will use cow lungs) cut into bite-sized pieces. This part of the lung will be mixed with some spices and accompanying vegetables such as green onions, roasted peanuts, and coriander to create a delicious flavor.
The name of the very sentimental-sounding lung dish comes from a story in history. According to local legend: This dish came from a married family living in a small town near Chengdu city in the early years of the 20th century. The husband’s name was Zhao Hanhua and his wife make a living by selling food on a street cart. The dish they sell to people in the area is sliced cattle lungs mixed with spicy and sour vinegar sauce. That simple but attractive flavor has made the lung dish spread everywhere. That’s why people in the area call it Husband and Wife Lung Slices.
To this day, although we can no longer meet the couple from that day, diners still have the opportunity to enjoy it in restaurants in Chengdu. Although this dish is simple, it surprises many foreign guests because of its easy and savory taste. The piece of lung is processed cleanly so when you eat it you will feel it mixed with delicious spices. The texture of the dish is slightly crunchy, chewy of the lungs and nutty of the peanuts. Try this dish once and you will enjoy it very much.
Guo Kui (Chinese Meat-Stuffed Flat Bread)
A unique dish of local people that you should not miss when coming to this city is guokui. Its shape will remind you of popular pancakes or sandwiches. In Chengdu, they are sold in roadside stalls and are often enjoyed take-away style. Because, Guokui is a dish that is prepared quickly and can be easily taken with you and enjoyed.
Diners looking for Guokui can choose from two different types that prepared differently. The first type is crustless grilled meat pie. This dish is made from many different ingredients, in which red chili and black pepper are the spices that give the dish its basic spicy taste. The second type of Guokui is prepared like a sandwich and is more greasy. With this type, diners have two options: salty dishes and sweet dishes. Guokui of the second type have a bread crust and are filled with meat or sweet filling. After forming into cakes, Guokui is fried in an oil pan until golden and crispy on the outside.
Chinese cuisine cannot be complete without the salty and crunchy taste of pickled vegetables. People here often prepare this dish to preserve it through the cold winter. The flavor and texture of these ingredients will change significantly compared to when they were fresh. Preparation methods also vary depending on how they want the texture and flavor of the finished dish to be. The most common are pickling and vinegar.
Sichuan people have many ways to enjoy salted vegetables. The simple way to taste the pure flavor is to eat it directly. This way, you will enjoy the extremely delicious crunchy taste. Besides, people can prepare it into mixed dishes, stir-fried dishes, stews,… extremely diverse.
At stores specializing in selling pickled vegetables in the city, you will find dozens of dishes with rich colors and shapes. Ask around and start a conversation with the shop owner, they are extremely friendly and will probably let you enjoy a sample before deciding to buy the one you like.
Youtiao (Chinese Fried Dough)
Traditional snacks of Chengdu people are also extremely popular. Walking around the busy streets, you will find crispy quiche that is quite similar to your childhood cakes. This fired dough is made from flour that is molded into a rope shape, then fried and soaked in sugar. Although not too outstanding, this is also one of the dishes you should try when you come here.
Skewers (Chuan Chuan)
If you introduce cuisine in Chengdu and forget to mention skewers, it would be a big mistake. In Chinese culture, skewers with delicious food are extremely popular. On the street there are dozens of shops preparing many different styles from cold dishes, grilled dishes to dipped dishes. Ingredients are diverse from vegetables to meats. After eating the salty skewers, you can have dessert with cool and sweet fruit skewers right in the stall next door.
There are 2 types of Chuan Chuan: one is like hot pot, food on sticks that diners boil themselves in a small hot pot. The rest is cooked by the chef and customers can eat it directly as it is cut up on the table.
Of course, both allow customers to choose what they like, including meat and vegetables. Because a stick of food is not much in quantity, it is also affordable so that a diner can enjoy chuan chuan by himself.
At pastry shops in the city, visitors can easily find beautiful small milk cream tarts. This tart is compact in the palm of your hand, golden in color in an aluminum mold. In the local language, people call this dish “Dàn tǎ”. This tart will probably be quite familiar to you because it is similar to the cakes sold in KFC stores.
However, its taste will surprise you. The tart has a crispy, flaky crust like a layer cake. The tart’s filling is rich with eggy flavor and moderately sweet, making you ecstatic. We are sure that one cake will not satisfy your taste buds, so please buy a little to eat!
Sichuan Hot Pot is more than just a meal, it’s a journey and the soul of Sichuan cuisine. Imagine a bubbling pot of spicy broth, surrounded by an array of fresh ingredients like meat, vegetables and thinly sliced tofu.
The communal aspect of sharing and cooking your ingredients in a simmering broth makes it a social and flavorful event.
Pineapple sticky rice
Half a pineapple filled with sweet sticky rice, some pineapple and goji berries. Pandan sticky rice is served on a small plate and served with two small plastic spoons.
Sipping tea in Chengdu
Amidst the spicy dishes, Chengdu’s tea culture offers a refreshing contrast. Teahouses are a common sight, offering a peaceful environment in which to enjoy various types of tea while engaging in leisurely conversations.
Zhangcha Smoked Duck (tea-smoked duck)
Zhangcha duck is a smoked duck dish with tea and camfor, originating from Sichuan province. Preparing this meal is a 5-step process. First, it is marinated, then boiled, dried, smoked and finally fried.
The last dish on the list is probably the dish that brings many challenges to you. Stinky tofu is always famous among gourmets because of its unique and wonderful flavor. This dish is likened to durian or blue cheese because if someone is addicted, they will be very addicted, but once they cannot eat it, it is impossible to accept its smell. Even though it’s a long way away, you can already smell the smell of this dish being prepared in the store.
This dish is often deep fried and served with herbs and soy sauce. Besides, in Chengdu there is also a rather strange purple stinky tofu dish. This dish is served as a soup with a rich broth and generous amounts of chili, garlic and scallions. Ignore its unpleasant scent, try bravely putting it in your mouth! Who knows, you might be one of the people who likes this dish.
Chinese cuisine always has its own recognizable features. In Chengdu city, the dishes here often have the typical spicy flavor of Sichuan people. You will have the opportunity to experience countless new and extremely attractive things. Our list will be useful suggestions for your journey of discovery. However, try paying a little attention to find more delicious dishes!
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Chengdu you can refer to
- Dujiangyan Panda Base and Mount Qingcheng Tour from Chengdu
- Chengdu Gourmet Night Group Tour
- Chasing Dawa for 3 days and 2 nights (free Tibetan travel photography + Gedi Ram +
- Dawa Gengza + Shenmu Lei)
- Chengdu Radio and TV Tower Admission Ticket
- Essence of Chengdu City Private Day Tour
- Chengdu Downtown Private Car Charter
- Chengdu Panda Base Private Day Tour and Sichuan Cooking Class
- Dujiangyan Admission Ticket Chengdu
- Chengdu Food Day Tour with Chengdu Giant Panda Base Ticket
- Dufu’s Thatched Cottage Ticket Chengdu
- Classic Chengdu One Day City Tour
- Giant Buddha and Tea Terrace Town Day Tour from Chengdu
- Chengdu Private Day Tour (With Visit to Chengdu Panda Base and Hotpot Experience)