Chengdu and her unique hot hot Sichuan food and Panda Bears

A planned trip to Taiwan was cancelled in March, but it resulted in an invitation to visit Chengdu instead from a friend who is with STPB stationed in Chengdu. So off we went, my Aussie university classmate  and I, on March 11th till March 16th 2017. As a first time to China for both of us, it was a great opportunity to see both the old and the new faces of China. We came away with solid memories of spicy sichuan food, peppers that left a sting on your tongue, nice in the 6 degree cold weather! Not all hot and spicy though! We also experienced delicate dishes, beautifully presented and so flavourful.

We were also amazed by the crazy traffic chaos, the way motor bikes and cars and human traffic criss crossed each other in a teeming city of 10 million with much less accidents than one would expect!

Even at a dinner at Shangrila Hotel, a spicy sichuan chilli fish dish. A hot pot, part spicy, part non-spicy.
   
A lunch dish with the inevitable sichuan chilli. Another beautifully presented array of delicate dishes.
   
Hot hot soup in the old town. Lunch in the old town, in a restaurant where orders are shouted to the chef!
   
Food Alley for lunch after Panda Reserve.
 

Culturally, there was much to see, from the tea houses, street vendors with all kinds of unusual snacks,  in the old sector, to the new and modern Chengdu with designer shops, restaurants built around a beautiful temple, Chengdu certainly is a city of contrasts.

A night at the Opera was most enjoyable and not what we expected! A must experience! So too was a visit to the 5-storey Chengdu Museum. And a visit to the Rice Wine making facility, which we learnt, had been bought over by Johnnie Walker!

And of course, the Panda Reserve, where despite sore legs from walking and climbing, seeing the gentle big bears in their playful infancy and the adults peeling and enjoying their special bamboo was a nice treat. We also had good views of the red pandas, that looked more like racoons than their black and white big “cousins”.

Panda peeling and enjoying bamboo meal. Two playful teen-age pandas.
   
Racoon or panda? Red Panda looking like racoon! Amongst our shopping, cute panda bears chopstick stands!