Chengdu Travel Diary | Jinli-04
The famous small bites alley – Jinli, Chengdu, Sichuan, China.
Being one of the major attraction in Chengdu, Jinli is always very very busy, so sometimes it is very hard to enjoy it’s beauty and it’s marvelous architectural design. But if you calm down, slowdown your anxiety, slowdown your heart rate, slowdown your breathing, block out all the noises and ignore all the tourist around you, you will find Jinli is actually a very beautiful and flavorful place.
To capture a photo that would seem calm and peaceful, the only thing I can do is to move my lens upward. This photo make this place look so calm isn’t it?
What happen if I move my lens down? Well, reality strikes! Look at all these people here, and this is consider slow for the locals!
There is not really a time when jinli is not busy, perhaps maybe after 2am in the morning or after a major rain. But they will return to busyness as soon as 8am hit and after the rain passed. All this busyness is good for business and good for the local economy I suppose, but it is not good for photography, because if your goal is the beautiful buildings and the ancient like street view here, too bad for you, because you will not have chance to take photo without people in it, doesn’t matter how long you waited.
Oh well, it’s not that bad to take photo of Jinli with all the people in, since the busyness of this place is an amazing sight in it self.
The people you see in this photo, most of them are not locals, they came from all over China and all over the world. That’s why the street of Jinli is always busy, especially around food strolls, because the main attraction in Chengdu is actually food, a lot of tourist come to Chengdu just for the food, just to eat. I would like to do that as well, flying to Chengdu just for the food, when I have finally make enough money to not care about the cost of air fair. What a dream, I know …
Chengdu is an eating haven, that’s for sure. Everywhere you go, you can find food. Not just so so food, but all very delicious food. Every restaurants, food strolls, cafes, tea houses, street vendors I have ate at, all tasted amazing.
I think the reason to this is very simple – in Chengdu, if the dishes you sell is not good, or just so so, you will find that you will be out of business very very fast. The locals here are so picky they will only eat the best tasting dishes the city have to offer. This forces vendors to sell only the best food here. Because everybody sell good food, and good food is really everywhere in the city, you simply can’t compete if you do not serve extraordinary taste.
So this kind of create a very healthy circle for the food lovers and consumer here. Not such a healthy circle for people who are in the food business, because this put them under high pressure to perform and maintain the highest quality at all time. They also have to keep the prices low to keep their client base even though cost of living keep rising. This also created a very tough entry level benchmark for people who wish to enter the food business in Chengdu.
By the way, did you notice the girl who eat and talk on her cell phone at the same time? She is not the only one who is doing it, apparently, everybody is doing it. That’s a good skill to have …
One of the “small-bite” here. This is call Heart Broken Jelly Noodle (direct translation). The white noodle like thing you see in the picture is call jelly (liang fen) around here and is made from green been powder. It’s very soft and by it self it does not offer much flavor. You eat it cold most of the time, quite refreshing if you handle the heat.
Now back to the name. So why is it call heart broken? Well, to answer this, you need to first answer another question: What do people do when they are heart broken? I am sure you can come up with a lot of funny, cool and smart answers, but the expected answer is: they shed tears and cry.
So here’s your answer to why this small-bite is call Heart Broken Jelly – because it is so spicy, people shed tears and cry when eating it! I know I almost shed a couple drop of tears when eating it, so I say the name make sense …
These are what’s left from all of the different “small-bites” we ate. That day, I have truly ate a lot. So much spice and so much oil on my first day in Chengdu, I know I will be in trouble later. Sure thing, my tummy started to tangle and scream later that day. I spent the next two three days with stomach paint and getting myself very familiar with all the restrooms in the area.
So I suggest to all of you who will visit Chengdu someday that, if you are not normally used to a lots of spice and oil to please take it easy and don’t be like me! You should eat a little on the first day, and then a little more on the second day, until your stomach is slowly use to the new food and spices, and you won’t be in the situation I am in, trust me, it’s not fun …
*Jinli is a popular tourist spot in Chengdu, Sichuan, China