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wow, delicious and sad at the same time, also we share similar hobbies, loving what china does to the chilli in paste that is an art in itself.


I've been to Chongqing twice this year, height of summer. I'm heading back in October and looking forward to mala in cooler weather.
Other than the food, the city doesn't appeal to me much, although I think if I had a way of getting around town without being stuck in traffic, I'd enjoy it a lot more. And I want to sail up?down? the Yangtze!


Darn-I was excited about finding this place! Sounds like Fuchsia Dunlops experiences in old Chengdu neighbourhoods.
I am appalled at what they have done to Qianmen Street in Beijing - tore down the huotongs and shops and created a phoney Las Vegas like Qing Dynasty street complete with designer shops. It's just too weird!


If you know the unofficial name for China is "Demolish that!" (in Chinese), then you should not be surprise for all these demolition. Who are we to feel sad about this? The entire nation, from the Great Leader to the humble worker, everyone is proud of all these development. More mall please!


Robyn, you could tell that this building would soon be demolished from the big red circled 拆 all over the wall. Look up and around, you will probably see this often now in Chengdu in areas where redevelopments are undertaking. Look for this and Dave can get shots of tomorrow’s ‘history’!

Also, EatingAsia ban may have been lifted in China – colleagues at China’s Universities, using China’s Education Network – obviously monitored by the authorities, could now view the site – although downloading very slow. And they cannot on FB or Twitter, along with many other sites. If the ban was about Taiwan, perhaps the 3000 Sichuan tourists a week or a month to Taiwan had made some difference! Perhaps with the ROC 100 celebration, EatingAsia will be on full blast next year! I am sure you will be so looking forward to more ‘challenges’ on the authenticity of your Chinese food knowledge and terminology from true locals! We all learn from ‘good intentions’, don't we! :-)


Hi Katy - I know well about 'zhai' from living in Shanghai in the mid-90s, when 1/2 the city (including the building 25 feet from our back door) was a construction site! We weren't looking for 'zhai' when we ambled down this street, but saw plenty of them (along with the red and yellow banners exhorting residents to 'support' the remaking of Chongqing and other such tripe) once we turned the corner.

Jodi -- I hope you meant that comment in jest. It is absolutely NOT true that the 'entire nation' is 'proud' of all this 'development' ... especially the residents of neighborhoods like this who are forcibly moved from their homes to wastelands of towering apartment blocks 1.5 hours from the center of the city. We spent 2 days talking to pple in this neighborhood. Most were resigned to moving, but we couldn't find any who were happy about it.

It is very weird Linda. But also very China.

Mila - we're contemplating returning to Chongqing next week for a couple of days. It's not a visually appealing city but I feel almost challenged by it -- to find something to really like (besides the food, which is great!).

eastingfeasting -- well put! Parsing chili pastes, sauces, and oils in China is an excellent hobby!


Jodi - I assume by 'Great Leader' in China you are referring to the dollar?


Erm..Perhaps you don't need any more 'challenges'?

Jodi -- what are the characters for 'Demolish that' - the unofficial name for China? do you mean 重整/重振?I didn't know about that one. I see what you mean about feeling sad (for whom?) -- I think people from the developed countries are 'sad' to see a China with its unique tradition and culture that once in their dream had gone. But I do see what you mean and I know Chinese are extremely proud of their achievements and they so rightly deserved it. And I wouldn't want to say if it comes from a fear/threat that China may soon dominate the world.


Katy - it's not a 'challenge' it's a conversation.

Feel free to disagree but until you've talked to pple forced to move from their homes to make way for apartments that will be purchased by primarily high-income individuals (not the laobaixing) you might reserve judgment. I saw enough yellow trucks in Shanghai forcibly removing pple and their belongings (and protests against it) to think I have an inkling of the 'other side' of development in Chinese cities. I could point you to probably hundreds of newspaper articles about forcible removals, beatings, inadequate compensation for homes, protests, etc. Shortly before our visit to Chengdu in Jan a woman set herself on fire to protest being forcibly removed AND watching her family being beaten by thugs hired by developers to clear the area. This is not uncommon at all. Perhaps you've heard of 'nail houses'? I'm sure Jodi has.

If being concerned for these individuals and their rights, and wanting to point out how they experience 'development' is being sentimental, then yes, I am being sentimental.

Chinese have a right to be proud of how far the country has come in a relatively short period of time. But there have been and continue to be human costs associated with growth.

It is possible to like (even love) a country (your own country even) and its people and its food and still see -- and discuss -- its warts. Unless one prefers to wear rose-colored glasses. I'd rather see both sides of the coin, thanks.


Jemaine --that is not nice, spiteful actually if I am honest. China well deserved the achievements they have today, they work so hard for it. No one is perfect and the same to wherever you come from.


Robyn, right. Your 'old woman' foreigner's point of views do not come for no reasons! Both sides of the coin - accepted.

Rita Reyes

Congratulations on making the top 50 food blogs!

Gluten Free

Gabriel Hummel

The post title directly describes my feelings towards this food.

Its like a magic trick, now you see it, now you don't.

Hopefully no bunnies were killed during the making of this post (just sheep)


This post was about a delicious lunch, a neighborhood in Chongqing, and changing China. Who knew it would engender so much emotion. It's all getting just a bit too heated and for the first time on Eating Asia I am closing comments. Discussion over, thanks for reading.

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