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Ten Must Try Foods in Sichuan 十大不容错过的四川美食

I feel like a little culinary anthropologist some days, trekking around China to all sorts of odd places, snapping photos of foods I’ve tasted and then trying to discover more about them.

Sichuan though, was relatively easy – everyone in Sichuan is an obsessed food fanatic and food is a constant topic of conversation, so I had my many questions happily answered.

Sichuan cuisine has been unfairly pegged in the Western world as consisting of nothing but mouth-numbing sichuan pepper (hua jiao) and paralytic amounts of chili. Not so – Sichuan cuisine is complex and diverse, using sour, sweet, salty, astringent and spicy flavours, and many dishes are – gasp – not spicy at all. As the locals say, it’s all about balance.

Again, this is not an exhaustive list of famous Sichuan dishes, although some on the list are very well known and can be found all over the province. It’s simply a list of ten foods I enjoyed so much I’m desperate to try them again, and I hope you enjoy them too.

有时候我觉得自己像一个烹饪专家,行走在中国各色稀奇古怪的场所,对着我品尝过的食物一通猛拍,试图发现更多的美味.

在西方,川菜被认为除了令人满嘴发麻的四川胡椒(花椒)和数量惊人的辣椒外,别无长处。但这不客观。必须说川菜是复杂而多样的。川菜用了酸、甜、咸、涩、辣和苦等各种调味料,很多菜肴不仅仅是辣味。就像当地人所说,达到了滋味的平衡。
此外,以下并不是一份详尽的川菜名菜谱,尽管这份菜单上的一些菜非常有名,可以在这个省的任何地方找到。它仅仅是一份只有十种食物的菜单,但是我非常喜欢,忍不住想再次尝尝。




1. Sichuan Hotpot 四川火锅

Like a rite of passage for every visitor to Sichuan, there is no way to ease yourself into Sichuan hotpot – you just have to go for it, boots and all and curse and sweat as your mouth goes numb, your eyes water and your nose runs. And still you can’t stop compulsively dipping more things into that pot to cook.

The pot arrives – the surface slick with red chili oil and hundreds of chilies bobbing up and down in the soup stock. (In our case we took the coward’s option and ordered a big pot of mild stock with a smaller portion of devil-red chili soup in the centre.) The pot goes on the burner in the centre of your table and when steam starts to rise from the surface you can dip in pieces of meat, vegetables and noodles to cook in the fiery soup.
Once cooked, your dipping sauce is an individual choice, concocted from sesame oil, finely chopped garlic, scallions and coriander.

All around you are pillars of steam rising from each table, red, sweating faces, loud conversations and gallons of beer being consumed to assuage the heat. It’s an experience not be missed.

对于到四川旅游的游客来说,四川火锅就像是一种仪式,是没有办法避免的。你只能努力争取,手脚并用,咒骂,大汗淋漓,与此同时,你的嘴会变麻,眼睛会潮湿,同时鼻涕横流。即便如此,你依然抑制不住将更多食物放到火锅中涮的冲动。
火锅里边,光滑的表面漂浮着一层红红的辣椒油,数以百计的辣椒在汤锅里上下翻腾。(我们这里做了比较胆小的选择,只要了一个清汤,在中间有一小部分是红色的辣椒汤)火锅放置在中间有火炉的桌子上,当汤表面有蒸汽升起时,你就可以将肉呀,菜呀,面条什么的泡到热汤里涮着吃了。
在吃涮锅的时候,每个人的蘸酱是不同的,蘸酱由香油,蒜末,葱花和香菜调制而成。
在你周围,有无数道蒸汽从每一张桌子升起,所有人都满脸通红满头大汗。大家大声交谈,畅饮沁爽的啤酒。绝对是令人难以忘怀的经历。





2. Braised Pepper Rabbit 烧椒兔
Rabbit is popular in Sichuan – braised, grilled, barbecued or in hotpot – and is just as tasty as could be because Sichuanese chefs have a way of transforming what can be a dry and tasteless meat into something tender and juicy.

This dish – shaojiao tu – of finely sliced braised tender rabbit with hot green chillies char-grilled until the edges blacken and they take on a sweet, smoky taste, is dressed with sesame oil, a hint of sichuan pepper and the barest touch of soy.

吃兔子在四川很流行,无论是炖、铁扒烤、烧烤还是下火锅煮都能体现出兔肉的美味。这是因为四川大厨在把干而无味的东西变得柔软而多汁上很有一套。
烧椒兔中的烧椒要把青辣椒烤到边缘变黑才能使它有种甜甜的烟熏的味道。炖得柔嫩的切片兔肉,加上烧椒,配上芝麻油、少量的四川胡椒粉和酱油,味道更出众。


3. Tea-smoked duck 樟茶 
Not all Sichuan food is spicy, and zhāngchá yā or tea-smoked duck is a great example. The duck is smoked until the skin is sweet and crispy, then finely sliced and served cold. The smoky taste is far from strong, just giving the meat a subtle richness.

并不是所有的四川食物都是辛辣的,樟茶鸭就是一个例外。鸭肉被烟熏到表皮甜而酥脆后再细心切片冷冻。菜中烟熏的味道并不强烈,仅仅使鸭肉增添一些淡淡的丰富味道。


4. La Rou 腊肉

La rou is preserved pork – salty, fatty, and smoky – a little but not quite like bacon and often a revelation for people who like to eat their meat completely lean.

Sliced wafer thin,Sichuan la rou is stir-fried until the fat becomes translucent and the edges crisp and curl, together with sweet fried scallions and smoky dried chilies, the fat lending a richness without being oily. It’s also used to season soups and braises, adding a strong, salty meat flavour. 

四川腊肉切薄片后油炸翻炒直到肥肉部分变称透明且边缘开始变得脆而卷曲,肥肉部分流出油脂。腊肉可以用于煲汤和炖菜,同样有种浓郁的咸肉的风味。

腊肉,虽然翻译成培根,却远不是我们所熟悉的培根,而是腌制的猪肉。这种很咸很油腻且带着烟熏味的腊肉适合一些不喜欢食用那些完全没有油脂的瘦肉的人。

5. Dou hua 豆花
A soft-set tofu made fresh daily, dou hua is a popular breakfast food in rural Sichuan where it offers a warm, savoury and filling start to the day, served with lajiao (chili paste) and scallions for extra taste.

Home-made tofu tastes nothing like the bought variety, with a soft smooth texture and a very comforting slightly nutty taste.

自家制作的豆腐吃起来不像那些各式的市售豆腐,而是有种柔软滑嫩的口感和非常令人着迷的淡淡的坚果的味道。

柔软凝固的豆腐每天都是新鲜制成的,而豆花是四川人最爱的早餐。豆花给四川人的每一天一个温暖可口而营养的开始,再加上辣椒和青葱味道就更特别了。


6. Fuqi Feipian 夫妻肺片
I’m not a fan of tripe. As a child my mother described in morbid detail the smell of tripe cooking in my Scottish grandmother’s house, the horrid texture and putrid taste, and ever since then I’ve thought tripe and all things intestinal best avoided. That is, until I came to Sichuan, where they make wafer thin slices of beef tripe and ox-tongue taste so extraordinarily rich and spicy, you might just eat a whole plate of the stuff without thinking about it, as I did.

Drowned in slippery chili oil and dressed with a refreshing mixture of chopped coriander, scallions, peanuts and ground green Sichuan pepper, this dish just seemed to finish itself.

我不是一个牛肚的爱好者。自从我小的时候妈妈在苏格兰的祖母家详细描述了烹饪牛肚的气味,可怕的纹理以及腐烂的味道后,我就觉得应该尽量避免牛肚以及所有肠之类的东西。但是,自从来到四川,在那儿人们把圆薄牛肚片和牛舌的味道做的如此丰富和辛辣,你很可能像我一样想都不想就把一整盘子都吃完了。
将材料浸在辣椒油中,并混合有切碎的香菜、葱、花生和四川绿地辣椒,这道菜差不多就大功告成了。




7. Dan Dan Noodles  担担面
Here’s a dish you’re likely to encounter in many overseas Chinese restaurants, but its origins are here in Sichuan. The name comes from the bamboo pole carried over the shoulder by noodle vendors, walking the streets with noodles on one side and sauces on the other.

Traditionally, fine wheat noodles are topped with finely diced pickled mustard tuber, spiced meat, and chili oil in a light broth.

I was served so many variations of dan dan mian in Sichuan I began to be unsure which version was correct. Some were served in broth, some served in noodle water, and some had no soup but were mixed with sesame paste and ground peanuts. Which ever way you prefer them, they all make a hugely satisfying snack.

传统的面条是,在肉汤里细面条上配上切成细丁的腌制榨菜,五香肉,和辣椒油。    在四川我吃了各种各样的担担面,都不知道哪一个才是正宗的。一些用的是肉汤,一些用的是面条水,还有一些根本没有汤,只是混了一些芝麻酱和花生。不管你喜欢哪种方式,他们都能做出令人满意的小吃。

你很可能在海外中国餐馆碰到这道菜,但是它起源于四川。这道菜的名字来自走在街上的面摊贩肩上挑的竹竿,竹竿挑的一端是面条,另一端是酱汁。


8. Sticky Rice Balls  糯米糍粑
Served three to a stick, these sticky rice balls (nuomi ciba 糯米糍粑) are flash-deep-fried then coated in syrup and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The outside has a pleasant crunch and the inside is smooth and chewy. A great food for eating as you walk. 每个棍儿上串着三个糯米球,这些糯米糍粑炸得油亮油亮的,并且涂上了糖浆,撒上了芝麻。外面一层很脆,里面滑腻耐嚼。适合边走边吃。














9. Sweet Jelly with Red Sugar Syrup 红糖米糕
This is the perfect cooling end to a meal filled with spice – a perfectly sized bowl of smooth, cool rice jelly topped with red sugar syrup.  

一顿辣味十足的正餐的完美收官之作,就是这道甜品——上面浇了红糖浆汁的米糕,柔滑又爽口!


10. Salt and Sichuan Pepper Butter Crisps 椒盐酥

There are times when you eat a food and instantly know you’ll spend the next five years trying to exactly recreate the same taste, texture and look, probably unsuccessfully.


The Gongting Bakery, near the Wenshu Temple in Chengdu, is busy from dawn until dusk because their cakes and biscuits are completely addictive.


Their Sichuan pepper and salt crisps – jiaoyan su – are tiny sweet butter biscuits flavoured with ground dark green Sichuan pepper and salt. One makes your lips tingle, and three is the limit before you stop tasting altogether.

The intensity of flavour no doubt comes from using absolutely freshly picked Sichuan pepper, and so my attempts to replicate these back in Australia will go like this:

1. Tries tested and true simple butter biscuit recipe with addition of Sichuan pepper bought in Chinatown. Not good enough. 
2. Has friend send over Sichuan pepper from China – almost good enough, but not quite.
3. Orders Sichuan pepper tree from specialty plant nursery at massive expense, and waits a whole year for the first pepper harvest – perfection at last.


有时你吃过一种你接触没多久的食物,接下来的5年你会不停尝试,只为了准确地再现那种味道,那种口感以及外形。

他们的椒盐酥是一种又小又甜的黄油饼干,上面会加一层深绿色的川椒和咸盐来提味,吃一块会让你的嘴唇有刺痛的感觉,你一次性最多只能吃三块    口感如此之重由于全因他们使用的是最新鲜的的川椒,所以在澳大利亚我尝试通过这种方式复制这些味道:

成都文殊庙附近的宫廷面包房从早忙到晚,我知道他们为什么那么忙,因为他们的蛋糕和饼干真的是太好吃了。

我试着将从中国城买的川椒添加到简单的黄油小饼中,但还是不够好。朋友从中国寄来的川椒,应该是是足够好了吧,但是还是不够。花大价钱从专门的植物园订购了川椒树,到第一次辣椒成熟等了整整一年——总算完美了。



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