This is the second post in a 2-part series about culture and food in Sichuan, China.

Regional Delicacies

Sichuan region is best known for spice and for hot pots. Most local spice is bearable, but one, the “numbing spice” (ma la), seriously tingles, then numbs your mouth, lips, and ultimately trachea. After my leg fell asleep, I learned that our sensation called “pins and needles” is the same word as this spice. Great, Sichuan. Your spice makes your body feel asleep and tingly. No one wants that.

Hot pot also provides a unique experience, certainly worth a try in Sichuan. This dish involves cooking all your ingredients in boiling oil at your table. These pots are usually ridiculously spicy– all of the ones I have tried have had oil that looked like boiling blood– yum.

What one dips in the hot pot is usually mystery meat, so it is best to leave the dictionary at home. What I first thought were tofu-like noodles turned out to be duck intestines. They were more palatable as tofu-noodles! Most interesting perhaps were their hot dogs, cut so that they bloomed in the oil. Odd– hot dogs that appear to bloom in bloody oil. Delicacies abound!

Hot Oil

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  • David Lee

    In late 2007, I quit my job and left the comfortable life in the USA for the open road with nothing but a 20-pound backpack, a …

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