Sichuan cooking class and the streets of Chengdu

I had a Sichuan cooking class today, I started off by wandering through the open produce market just around the corner and then launching into cooking two different dishes under the guidance of an experienced chef with an English translator.

Close-up of a plate of food
Tofu, pork, ginger, garlic, spring onions and what I was told are garlic shoots?

We began by prepping ingredients. We tried a piece of Sichuan pepper each as well. This stuff is amazing! Never had anything like it before. It makes your mouth tingle and water uncontrollably although it isn’t ‘spicy’ like chilli is.

Bowls of food on a table
The finished results. A little underwhelming really…

I think the class was really valuable as far as the techniques learnt go (working with insanely hot pans on gas namely). The food itself really wasn’t my thing though – velvet tofu with no texture and really fatty pork are ingredients that just don’t appeal to me, no matter how they’re cooked.

A food street vendor with a number of dishes of hot food
A typical street food stall in Chengdu.

Dinner was nice, more street food of the noodle variety. Saw an insanely loaded down three wheeler motorbike thing, which was a laugh too. I’ve never seen one in Australia. Providing they’re not illegal (they probably are) I’d definitely like to get one! That was until I almost got flattened by one that was careening around a corner tipping up on to two wheels, anyway…

A small vehicle loaded with a huge number of boxes and bags
Looks very safe…

The main river looks beautiful at night. Having scouted the area out I got a nice loop for running figured out too, which is good – got to keep up the fitness while I’m on the road.

It’s amazing how nowhere here is small though. From talking with Chinese friends I’d been given the impression that Guilin and Chengdu would be small rural areas. They certainly have more trees and some impressive natural features, but I wouldn’t call them small – certainly when you think about how much bigger they are than the capital city of Tasmania, back in Australia.

Night view of a river with a lit up bridge
An aesthetically impressive bridge and also a good road crossing free running route.