Travel Guide: Chengdu, China

Where to eat, what to do, and where to stay when visiting Chengdu, China.

byMatt Gross| PUBLISHED Mar 20, 2013 10:30 PM
Travel Guide: Chengdu, China

For more information on visiting Chengdu, visit the City of Chengdu's website,, or


6 Jixiang Street, Qingyang District. Inexpensive. This nook is packed every morning with folks wolfing down owner Handsome Ma's yu xiang pai gu mian (fish-fragrant sparerib noodles) and wontons in chile oil.

** Ming Ting**
30 Yijiefang, Waicaojia Alley (86/28-8331-5978). Inexpensive. This so-called "five-star fly restaurant" made its name with pig's brain mapo tofu and other offal dishes but also makes a spicy heye jiang rou, bacon steamed in lotus leaves.

Shu Zi Xiang
Multiple locations ( Inexpensive. Chengdu people love hot pot—a boiling cauldron of spicy broth in which you dunk and cook a variety of meats and vegetables—and Shu Zi Xiang makes some of the most flavorful.

128 Farming Unit 1, Sansheng Township, Hongsha Village (86/28-8467-8067; Inexpensive. On weekends many residents of Chengdu head to the countryside for leisurely meals at nongjiale, or farmhouse restaurants. Orange is one of the best; try the suan ni bai rou, sliced pork belly dressed with garlic and chiles.

Tian Ci Liang Ji
Ma An Jie No. 68, Jin Niu Qu (86/28-8333-3288). Inexpensive. This popular restaurant is famous for its many chicken dishes, flavored with chiles and Sichuan peppercorns. In winter, be sure to try ren shen ji tang, a delicious chicken soup with ginseng and wolfberries.


Museum of Sichuan Cuisine
8 Ronghua North Alley, Gucheng Village, Pixian County (86/28-8791-8008; Admission: $3. A short drive from downtown Chengdu, this museum, a grand structure encompassing exhibitions as well as a decent restaurant, offers a serious look at the history of Sichuan food from ancient times to the modern era.

Wuhou Shrine
231 Wuhou Shrine Street (86/28-8555-9027, This shrine to a royal adviser is a beloved piece of Chengdu history—and Jinli Street, which leads up to the ancient sanctuary, has dozens of food vendors serving Chengdu-only snacks such as dou hua, soft tofu topped with chili oil, black vinegar, peanuts, and scallions.


Loft Design Hostel
4 Xiaotong Alley, Qingyang District (86/28-8626-5770; Rates: $10 for a shared room, $34 for a private room. A converted printing house, the Loft is filled with a lively mix of guests, from Chinese students to wandering foreigners. Bike rentals for hostel guests make it easy to explore the city center.

Hakka Homes
Kehua Beilu, South Chengdu (86/139-8190-9901; Rates: $28 for a two-bedroom apartment. A collection of short-term rental apartments—from studios to two-bedrooms, each with a kitchen—in a lively part of the city near Sichuan University.

Shangri-La Chengdu Hotel
9 Binjiang East Road, Jinjiang District (86/28-8888-9999; Rates: $200 for a double. This luxurious tower on the banks of the Jinjiang River is easily the nicest place to stay in Chengdu. The hotel's upscale restaurant, Shang Palace, features classic Sichuan dishes, including a richly flavored mapo tofu.