This sprawling, jumping-off point for viewing the pandas is the best place on earth to track animals like tea-smoked duck, kung pao chicken or the ubiquitously tangy fish-flavored shredded pork. This is also the birthplace of scrumptious mapo tofu, which like much else is topped with the locally famed anise-tinged peppercorns. In this city, red isn’t just the color of the flags but also of dumplings and fish fillets swimming in chili oil. Equally fiery Chengdu hot pots are so addictive, it’s rumored they are laced with opium. Block-long restaurants feed 5,000 in a most sizzling manner across a town that has lost much of its whitewashed architecture but remains an extravaganza for the tongue.
Piao Xiang — A high-end standard-bearer of consistent quality for the province said to have a new flavor for every day of the year, tel: (86-28) 8559 8899.
Yu Jia Chufang — The inventive kitchen of an autodidact whose buns are made to look like calligraphy brushes, tel: (86-28) 8542 2795.
Xiang Chuzi — A rustic upstairs eatery with some of the most traditional pork dishes anywhere, tel: (86-28) 8615 4825.
Next 2. Penang, Malaysia