Sichuan province is famous for two reasons: the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in the capital, Chengdu, and the hot ’n’ spicy local cuisine -considered nationally to be the choice variant of culinary China. Famed for its bold, pungent, ‘tingly-numbing’ flavours, Sichuan style food is, of course, best enjoyed in Sichuan. At street stalls or sit-down restaurants, gorge yourself on platters of twice-cook pork, kung pao peanut chicken, or hotpot broths laden with garlic, chili, ginger, star anise, herbs, spices and huajiao, the Sichuan peppercorn. In Chengdu, you’ll have a lot less trouble finding a decent lip-licking, tongue-tingling meal than spotting a wild Panda. Try the wonderful Research Base for pandas instead!
The Giant Pandas at The Chengdu Breeding Research Base move around their naturalistic enclosures like big black and white teddy bears, munching on bamboo and wrestling one another. You’ll see them how they appear in the wild and, if you’re very lucky, get to hold a baby panda. Keep back from the big ones though –their furry ears are soft but their teeth and claws aren’t!