UN: Sustainable tourism in vibrant Chengdu

Updated: 2012-10-15 11:22
By Li Fusheng ( China Daily)

UN: Sustainable tourism in vibrant Chengdu

The nation's giant panda breeding research center is home to about 70 of the highly endangered species, which number fewer than 2,000 worldwide.

UN: Sustainable tourism in vibrant Chengdu
Scenic rural areas add to the allure of Chengdu.

Delicious cuisine

In addition to places of historical and natural interest, Sichuan's noted cuisine is a big part of the city's charm.

As the provincial capital, Chengdu is an obvious choice to try out authentic Sichuan cooking, one of eight major regional cuisines in China.

With a range spanning some 6,000 dishes, Sichuan cuisine features bold flavors, particularly spiciness from liberal use of garlic and chili peppers as well as the unique flavor of the Sichuan pepper.

One dish recommended by almost all is Sichuan hotpot.

As the metal pot starts to simmer, typical ingredients including thinly sliced meat, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, and seafood are added. The result is usually eaten with a dipping sauce.

Visitors to Chengdu can enjoy the dish at countless hotpot restaurants operating throughout the city.

Another signature dish of Sichuan cuisine is mapo tofu - soft bean curd served up with a fiery meat sauce.

In addition, Zongfu Road, Chunxi Road and Jinli Street are places to taste delicious local snacks in Chengdu.

Due to the sophistication of its cooking, UNESCO declared Chengdu to be a city of gastronomy in 2010, the first in Asia.

Local bar streets, including Jinli Street and Lan Kwai Fong, offer the chance to sample authentic nightlife.

Visitors can talk or play mahjong at local teahouses to help immerse themselves in the city's famous pastimes.

Intangible culture heritage

Chengdu is also renowned across China for its intangible cultural heritage.

With 17 items listed as national heritage - including Shu embroidery and Chengdu lacquer painting - Chengdu is the designated host city of the biennial International Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival, a cultural gala co-sponsored by UNESCO and the Chinese government.

Not only a tourist destination, Chengdu is also an ideal starting point to tour other cities in southwestern China, said local tourism officials.

"Go southward and you can visit the Emei Mountain and the Leshan Giant Buddha, go northward you can visit Jiuzhaigou, and go westward you can reach Tibet," one official said.

It is also convenient for visitors to begin their travels outside China from Chengdu, he added.

As the country's fourth largest airport hub, Chengdu has flights to 49 countries and regions worldwide.

It is also home to consulates from nine countries including the United States, Germany, France, Singapore and Sri Lanka, making it more convenient for local people to get visas.

UN: Sustainable tourism in vibrant Chengdu

The vast ancient Dujiangyan irrigation system was included on the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in 2000. Photos Provided to China Daily

Contact the writer at lifusheng@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 10/15/2012 page7)

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Panda Facts
  • Panda facts I

    In China, most giant pandas live in the mountains of Qinling, Minshan, Qionglai, Daxiangling and Xiaoxiangling.

  • Panda facts II

    By the end of 2011, the number of wild giant pandas in the world was about 1,590.

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