Lisa and Georgie's Food Review: Chengdu & JiuZhaiGou

Unfortunately, again, this is quite a short one as we didn’t stumble across any streets that sold a lot of the local food. However we did try the best we could to eat Chengdu cuisine!

To give you an idea of what we mean by our ratings:

0 out of 10 – we will never eat again

5 out of 10 – average snack that we’d eat if it was the lesser of two evils

8 out of 10 – really good and delicious

10 out of 10 – “I’m just going to go ahead and buy five, that’s not crazy right?”


味道 – flavour

小吃 – it’s quality as a snack, is it a snack we’d have again?

外貌 – aesthetics (appearance)

菜 – it’s quality as a dish, would we have it for dinner again?

look away if you’re squeamish for the first one!!

兔头 – tutou

Yes. We challenged ourselves because we are crazy. I apologise to all vegetarians and people who think we are the cruelest in the world. It’s a marinated cold rabbit head that is boiled in its own juices. When you forget about what it is, it takes like any piece of meat on a bone. The meat is tender and well seasoned. The marinade is rather spicy (for Georgie) and has a soy sauce taste but has a good kick. As it is a head there isn’t much meat on it thus it is quite hard to eat. Although the tongue was the very delicious (says Lisa). Basically, it’s a weird but tasty snack if you close your eyes! Beware it has teeth and eyes…….

6 out of 10 小吃

7 out of 10 味道

3 out of 10 外貌 (hard to judge because it didn’t look appetising but it was well presented)

担担面 – dandanmian 

(香菇) Similar to noodles we’ve eaten called 杂酱面 but this time Lisa had the vegetarian option with mushrooms. The taste is complex and delicious, it’s a little salty with the right amount of spice. However the noodle to mixture ratio could be more even. It wasn’t aesthetically pleasing as it looked rather bland, thankfully the flavour made up for that! Overall, a good noodle dish!

8 out of 10 菜

9 out of 10 味道

6 out of 10 外貌

蛋烘糕 – danhonggao

This is a pancake. It is like the western version but is smaller and served folded over with a filling in between. You can choose between a savoury one with pork floss or a sweet one with sugar and sesame seeds. Having had lunch, we were in the mood for sweet. It was what one would expect but was a nice treat! It didn’t have much texture or interesting flavour which probably would’ve been more present should we have had the pork floss one. It is also pretty small comparing to the size of our palms, it’s only a little bigger. Nevertheless it was a nice snack. The major downside is it isn’t a Chinese snack…

2 out of 10 小吃

4 out of 10 味道

6 out of 10 外貌

冒菜 – maocai

This dish is basically a whole lot of raw ingredients boiled in a spicy broth. Like hotpot without the DIY aspect because it comes as a large pot with the cooked food inside. Also not as spicy as Chongqing hotpot! Ingredients included duck, tofu, mushrooms, bean sprouts, lotus roots and condiments. This method of cooking means that everything is cooked just right. We already asked for little spice, yet the dish still came flaming red with a layer of red chilli oil on the top! I found the dish very yummy especially with rice to soak up the soup. But the vegetables totally soaked up all the spices so they were really quiiiite spicy. We had to rescue all the food from the pot so that they wouldn’t keep on soaking in that spicy soup! 

7 out of 10 菜

(Lisa) 8 out of 10 味道

(Georgie) 6 out of 10 味道

6 out of 10 外貌

Lisa and I: A feast with 麻婆豆腐 (the red dish in the middle)
Lisa and I: A feast with 麻婆豆腐 (the red dish in the middle)

麻婆豆腐 – mapodofu

This is an iconic spicy dish that most people recognise from Chinese takeaways, in English it is called ‘Mapo Tofu’. Unlike what Lisa and I cooked for our group meal in Ningbo, the tofu in this dish retained its shape as little squares dotted about in the sauce. The texture was firmer but still slippery smooth. The sauce it came in was a good balance of black bean, chilli oil and garlic. We can admit that we didn’t have it with the normal amount of chilli due to the risk of Georgie’s tastebuds being killed off too soon on our travels… However it was obvious that the spice would only complement the flavours of the dish and make it even more delicious than it is. Again, it has the salty spice that adds another layer of flavour that is common in Sichuan province food. It looked fantastic when it was served; the glowing red of the oil against the clear white of the tofu. So all in all, it is a dish that should always been had whether you go to a Chinese restaurant or to China! Especially in Sichuan province!

8 out of 10 菜

8 out of 10 味道

8 out of 10 外貌

回锅肉 – huiguorou 

The English name for this dish is ‘Twice-Cooked Pork’. This dish consisted of a stir fry of pork belly strips and chives. The pork to chives ratio wasn’t the best, but the chives were tasty so that was ok. Sort of a salty chives taste – not very spicy. But debatable whether we tasted the traditional dish or just the tame version- because we asked the chef to not add spice, and one second later the dish came with no spice…anyhow, nice enough but not amazing. 

7 out of 10 菜

7 out of 10 味道

6 out of 10 外貌

That’s Chengdu and JiuZhaiGou folks!