Someone asked me about the food here, so here goes.
Sichuan food is very spicy and oily. Almost every dish has some kind of ground, spicy pepper included in the sauce or sprinkled on the top. Some of my favorites have been the following:
Egg and Tomato dish; Fanqie Chao Dan
Egg, Tomato and noodle dish; Fanqie Ji Dan Mian
you can see a trend here...
Egg Fried Rice; Ji Dan Chao Fan
Eggplant something or other... very spicy and delicious; Yuxiang Qiezi
Tofu covered with tomato sauce; Cuipi Dofu
Fried Potato Slices; Tu Dou Si
There are about 30 relatively common dishes that I see frequently. Some of them include meat and I invariably forget the names. The thing to remember is that they are generally all delicious and very spicy.
When we were learning about how to discuss food in class we learned the big four: Sweet, Spicy, Bitter and Numbing. "Numbing?!" you might ask. I know I did. Maybe you didn't: maybe you know all about food which is numbing but I must confess that I had no idea. There is a spice that looks remarkable like a peppercorn which is used in the food. It actually makes your mouth mildly numb. If the dentist rubbed a little benzocaine on your hamburger you would understand what this is like (but it is more delicious). The food is typically referred to as "Ma La De" or "Numbing and Hot," although I have not eaten many numbing dishes.
The restaurants vary in quality and cuisine, but we prefer the cheaper restaurants along the street outside the University. Generally four of us can eat for under a dollar and be quite full. Nicer restaurants in the city charge about 5 dollars for a meal, which is outrageously expensive for us and a rare treat. We venture in when we want to eat bread. REAL bread. WARM, delicious bread dipped in hummus... YUM!
The GuiZhou group at a restaurant in the city:
Outside language class with Jonny: