Among the food enthusiasts, Beijing is most well known for its crispy fruit-wood-roasted duck skin, paper-thin slices of baby lamb in a hotpot, and sweet and spicy whole deep-fried yellow fish among various other dishes. We stayed in Beijing for only three nights, hence the allure of Beijing's sophisticated flavors and exotic ingredients prompted us to fit the essential sights and flavors into our limited time and budget. The highlights of our food adventure included the Chongqing hot pot at a famous chain of restaurants called Haidilao and the Peking duck at Liqun, which is another restaurant popular with foreign tourists. It was interesting to watch the chef personally come to our table to carve the Peking duck in Liqun and the noodle show at Haidilao, where an energetic waiter pulled noodles right at our table.
The delicious hotpot dinner we had in Haidilao
The noodle show
Authentic technique of roasting a duck and the prepared Peking duck
After setting off from Beijing, we spent the next four days at Chengdu. Apart from being the panda hometown, Chengdu is known for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, which is one of the eight regional cuisines in China.
Grand lunch on arriving Chengdu
The range of classic Sichuanese dishes that we tried in Chengdu included the spicy Kung Pao chicken, Hongyou chaoshou (dumplings of minced pork meat), Dandan noodles, Mapo tofu, Chong Qing WanZhou (grilled fish), spicy pancakes and Fuqi Feipian (Sliced Beef Tripe in Chili Oil), among various others.
Different food items we tried at Chengdu
It was not hard for us to see why Chengdu was named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy in 2010.
A perfect last meal at Beijing
- Nimisha Roy