Friday, January 6, 2017

Pandas, spicy food shine in Chengdu

Panda papercut
A city I southwestern China is the only Chinese city to make one list of the best places to visit in 2017.

CNN picked Chengdu because of its tasty Sichuan food and the opportunity to get up close and personal with pandas, a symbol of the Middle Kingdom.

Chengdu is one of UNESCO's cities of gastronomy. If you like your food hot and spicy, you'll love the food here.  When I visited Chengdu many yars ago, I had the best gongbaojiding (chicken in a spicey peanut sauce) I've ever had. It was also the spiciest and I drank four bottles getting to the last bite.

No visit to Chengdu is complete without a visit to the Giant Panda Breeding Center. I visited there in the early morning, a time when they feed the pandas.  There were no babies at the time I was there, but thee are usually panda cubs there a lot, due to the success of breeding this endangered species.

Chengdu also has lots of other interesting things to see. Some of the places I visited during my week-long visit were Du Fu's thatched cottage (Du Fe was a famous poet); the Wenshu Monastery, the best preserved Buddhist temple in the city where worshippers burned red candles instead of incense whicks while "Happy Birthday" played in the background;  and the old town.

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