There are countless different styles of cooking spread throughout China, but Sichuan cuisine may be one of the most interesting and iconic. This cuisine is characterised by fiery flavours, melt-in-your-mouth meats and vegetables that help to add a little flair to each meal. Sit back and get ready to learn more about one of the most interesting styles of Asian cooking.
Eating in the Sichuan style
Typically, breakfast is one of the most important meals in Sichuan cuisine. These dishes are generally savoury. Each breakfast dish is served with a cup of fresh soy milk and generally consist of meaty rice porridge or plain porridge served with grilled beef or pork. You may even be able to find a steamed bun on the Sichuan breakfast table. Lunches are usually kept light. Locals in the region generally tuck into leftovers from breakfast or their evening meal. If this isn’t an option for you, head to your closest Sichuan street food vendor for some on-the-go snacks. Sichuan cuisine is rounded off by the evening meal. Usually, dinners are served family-style and offer an abundance of small dishes that usually include rice, noodles, stewed meats, soups and vegetables.
Interesting facts about food in Sichuan
Things you might not have known about this cuisine.
- All meals are served with rice and diners are expected to take a small amount of food from the communal dishes. This should be brought straight to the mouth.
- This is one of the most diverse styles of cooking in this part of China, which locals often refer to as the “heavenly country” due to the sheer abundance of food types and natural resources.
- The region is very hot and humid and refrigeration was not common in the past so food is often cured or preserved.
Sichuan dishes that never fail on taste
These dishes have gained popularity due to their ease of cooking and taste.
- Kung Pao Chicken: You may be surprised to learn that this dish, which is commonly served in Chinese restaurants, is from the Sichuan region. This marinated chicken dish is served with rice and stir-fried peanuts.
- Ma Po Tofu: Fried tofu served in a spicy sauce, this is a popular dinner option when visiting a Sichuan restaurant.
- Dandan Noodles: This is one of the most common street food dishes from this region. The noodles are generally boiled in salted water before being topped with a spicy ground meat sauce, chilli and peanuts. Once the sauce is added to the noodles, they turn a vibrant shade of red.
- Yú xiāng ròu sī: The English translation of this dish is fish flavoured pork. However, the surprising thing is that no seafood is included, although it makes use of several different spices to capture the essence of seafood.
Dishes you may never have heard of
Hidden food gems that deserve a spot on any foodie list.
- Chilli rabbit head: If you would like an authentic Sichuan cuisine experience, you need to try this dish. Rabbit heads are stewed in a chilli sauce before being roasted to perfection.
- Stewed duck stomachs: This dish is made by slicing duck stomachs as thinly as possible before slow cooking with a sweet and spicy sauce and fragrant onions.
- Roasted scorpions: Commonly found in street food markets, these edible insects are covered in Sichuan pepper before being roasted and served as a crunchy snack.
Be sure to try these dishes
You can experience Sichuan cuisine for yourself by visiting leading restaurants like Tianfu Restaurant and Mala Hot Pot, where you can try a variety of authentic dishes.