Rashanna Butler: How To Survive Sichuan Cuisine

Before going out to eat in China, you should familiarize yourself with Chinese etiquette. Listed below are several important things to remember:

  1. Never stick you chopsticks vertically into your food and let it rest there;
  2. It is acceptable to spit (bones) on the table;
  3. The person sitting nearest the door orders;
  4. Serve other before yourself;
  5. Receive and give things with both hands;

Even though you will not be condemned if you do not practice these customs, it is best to behave like a respectable guest and conform to foreign ways.

It is important to note that I am not a fan of spicy foods. Other than not having an affinity for things that make my eyes water and nose run, I’m open to trying new foods.  Sichuan food is known for spiciness.  UNESCO awarded Chengdu the city of gastronomy in 2011.

·         不辣(Bù là)    
The above vocabulary is extremely important for someone who does not like spicy food.

It has also come to my attention that the Chinese enjoy hot drinks… all the time. In 80 degree weather if you go out to eat, you will be served a glass of hot water. China has a very extensive tea culture; this may be the reason they enjoy warm drinks. I have also noticed that there are not many refrigerators in China, where more than half of the refrigerators you see are being used as storage and not plugged in. :-/

So now that you have in mind that most of Chengdu’s foods are spicy and the odds of getting a cold drink are far and few, I will give restaurant suggestions.

Western Restaurants: The Americanized restaurants all have their menus in English, so you can customize your order and expect a lengthy wait for your food.

  • Maan Coffee – FREE WIFI!, breakfast foods, desserts, and a variety of cold or hot drinks;
  • Grandma’s Kitchen – FREE WIFI!, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert foods…I recommend the Grandma Super Burger = egg and bacon on top of a burger;
  • Peter’s Tex Mex Grill- FREE WIFI!, lunch, dinner, and dessert food, Hispanic Cuisine, delicious smoothies, even better mozzarella sticks, and the most expensive of the Western Restaurants listed;
  • Mike’s Pizza- PIZZA!, I recommend ordering with a friend, monkey knots (cinnamon rolls), and donuts;

Asian Restaurants: These options are always the more economical choice; most of the food is prepared in front of you.

  • Muslim Noodle Spot – super friendly, quick service, no pork served;
  • Mom & Pop Shops – Build rapport, they become familiar with your preferences;
  • Food Carts – super fast service, you can hand pick your food;

I have found that a combination of Asian and Western Restaurants work for me. I have recently found myself craving certain Sichuan Cuisines…干炒牛河 sounds great right now. BRB

This entry was posted in g-MEO Student Blogs, Rashanna Butler: Spring 2015 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.