Chongqing food is largely a hybrid of Sichuan cuisine and local specialty dishes. Compared with Chengdu's Sichuan Cuisine, Chongqing's has a stronger taste, spicier and more innovative. The dishes are rich in flavor and use almost 40 different cooking methods in their preparation. The city center is filled with restaurants and food stalls where you can pick up a cheap and filling meal for very little money. Different from many other Chinese cuisines, the dishes here come in small individual sized portions, so that you don't need an entire group to go together.
Featured Chongqing Cuisine
Hotpots are the most famous traditional dish in Sichuan, of which Chongqing hotpot is specially noted. Characterized by heavy flavors, diverse ingredients, and steaming aromas, hotpot is to the local culture what tea is to Chinese culture. As such, this is the first and best choice of tourists seeking a local specialty.
Hotpot restaurants can be found throughout the city. People gather around a small pot filled with a flavorful and nutritious soup. There are a great variety of hotpots, including Yuanyang (Double Tastes) hotpot, four tastes hotpot, tonic hotpot, sheep hotpot, etc. To suit customers of different preferences, salty, sweet, spicy, or sour flavors of hotpot are available. Generally you can choose your own ingredients (from a wide variety of cut meats and fresh vegetables) and cook them yourself at the table to your taste. Once it is ready, you can dip it in your favorite sauces.
Qianzhang (Beam Cream Skim)
Qianzhang is the cream skimmed from soy bean milk. In order to create this delicacy several steps must be followed carefully. First soybeans are soaked in water, grounded, strained, boiled, restrained several times, and spread over gauze until delicate snow-white cream is formed. Although the process is time-consuming, it is a tasty treat. It can also be hardened, cut into slivers and seasoned with sesame oil, garlic and chili oil. Some bake and fry it with bacon. The texture is soft and the fresh, sweet, flavor will leave you craving more.
Located along the Jialing River, the city offers freshwater fish. The Jiangtuan fish, also called big-head fish, is probably the best. Like most fish in China, this is steamed to keep it healthy and flavorful. Fish-lovers should definitely try some.
Sliced Meat with Crispy Rice
Sliced meat with crispy rice is another local favorite. The meat is soft and tender while the rice is crispy, forming a sharp contrast.
Pork leg cooked with rock candy
Pork leg cooked with rock candy is a common household dish of the Chongqing people. The finished dish, red in color and tender to taste, has a strong and sweet after-taste.