With Ashley off exploring new restaurants hidden down Bangkok’s soi’s I decided it was time to have an adventure myself. To remind myself that there is still a lot to see and do in Chengdu I decided to go out of my way to find a new hole in the wall restaurant.
After walking around Yulin I eventually landed at Lao Chengdu Lan Chuan Chuan 老成都烂串串. The restaurant works on the same pick your stick method we wrote about after our Lijiang trip, but what made lao Chengdu unique, aside from the tiny stools that left you hovering barely a foot off the ground, was the lack of the boiling cauldron of oil in the middle of the table. I love hotpot and find myself experiencing withdraw when it has been longer than a month since my last indulgence, but the smell of hotpot does not need to come home with me. This restaurant has found the solution: cook the food in the back and bring it out after it is ready.
I went for the tried and true lamb, potatoes and 藕 (lotus root) as well as some new options like ribs, kongxincai (I normally avoid vegetables at hotpot) and a fantastic noodle soup pictured in the bottom left.
The staff found my presences amusing and I became the subject of a series of photos. Laowai, lao wai eating, lao wai with staff, lao wai with staff giving peace signs, lao wai with individual staff… you get the point. At first I was bored and slightly annoyed, but when I started taking pictures of them (unfortunately the pictures a bit dark), and the conversation moved beyond the normal peppering of questions foreigners get I actually found myself enjoying it all.
As the thunder got louder and the clouds threatened to open up I decided I had better make it back before the skies opened. The staff warned me the next time I showed up at their restaurant we would have to have to have beer (or two).