We landed in Chengdu a half-hour late at 10pm in 38degC weather with 95% humidity. The city was flat and bright with new buildings and new lights and the central avenue was long enough for our taxi driver to ask for and receive directions to our hotel without needing to deviate from his first guess.
Unpacking in our hotel room we heard a sudden burst of static all around. We opened a window. The hot night had cracked like an old wooden bucket and began to pour rain. A few minutes later it stopped like a faucet. The metallic hum of our room air conditioner settled back on our minds like a bird and we closed the windows.
The next day got our bearings, caught up on correspondence, napped in the gray overcast afternoon. At 4pm we were picked up to explore culinary Chengdu with our Guide Tom. First a local sauce stand (10 different chile sauces!), then a wet market (mainly seafood, but good quality dry goods as well), and then the Ghost Food market, now sanctioned and stuffed with teenagers in the last few hours of their summer vacation. Here is what we managed to eat from the long list of available street food dishes:
- Sliced Pork Lungs in Chile Sauce
- Spicy Dried Tofu
- Wheat Starch Noodles with Four Peppers
- Fish Tofu
- 8 Treasure Congee Porridge
- Chicken Skewers: Gizzard, Heart, Intestines
- Bamboo Rice
- Stinky Tofu
- Roast Rabbit Head
- Glutinous Wrapped Radish
- Dan Dan Noodles
Our Guide Tom was more sensible: he had a single bowl of noodles with vegetables. But he can eat in Chengdu almost every day. Total cost for our food: USD $15.
Yes, it’s a roasted rabbit’s head.