Southwest China is the home to stunning landscape and rich culture.
But in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, people really come here for a different experience.
CCTV’s Tao Yuan reports from the leisure capital, the Southwest City of Chengdu.
Exploring Chengdu through food tour - one bite at a timeSouthwest China is the home to stunning landscape and rich culture. But in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, people really come here for a different experience. CCTV’s Tao Yuan reports from the leisure capital, the Southwest City of Chengdu.
“Chengdu is a very relaxing city. Hotpot during the day, mahjong in the afternoon, catches a movie or goes on a date in the evening,” Chengdu local, Jiang Zhengfeng said.
The laid back atmosphere here makes people difficult to feel if you’re there for a short time. Especially for the city’s growing number of foreign tourists.
Canadian food writer and long-time Chengdu dweller Jordan Porter spotted an opportunity.
“Experiences around the table breaks down the barrier of traditional tourism,” Porter said.
Porter runs local food tours for foreign visitors. For today’s crowd, pot helmet bread to start off the morning. Start with some sweet water noodle in a hidden alleyway, and a midday drink later. The group was finally ready to sit down for a proper lunch.
“It’s about the drinking and conversing, and the interaction it takes to eat, as much it is about the flavor,” Porter said.
He may look like a pro gourmand now, but six years ago when Porter came to Chengdu, he was lost, like everybody else.
“I didn’t speak a work of Chinese. There was an intense motivation there even to eat,” Porter said.
An adventurer, he didn’t want to fall into a routine, same route to school and work, same places to eat.
“I wanted to continually try and find new things in the city. And obviously food is a big part of all activity in Chengdu,” Porter said.
The food exploration opens up more than just the culinary world to Porter.
And he wanted more people to experience the city’s subtle charm he’s come to love.
“I really love eating food and I think it’s really important to get to know people and sit in a restaurant and learn about the atmosphere,” Porter said. “The tour allowed me to eat really delicious food that I know about but didn’t necessarily know all the history behind. And I’m very full.”
Now years later, Porter said he still maintains a tourist’s mindset.
“Sometimes when you live in a place, you don’t want to be seen as a tourist. You go to New York City they don’t look up, or people will know you’re not from here. But I think you lose a lot of the wonder if you don’t do that,” Porter said.
Instead, he looks to small things, like pancakes and noodles for inspiration, one bite at a time.