Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest stone Buddha in the world and it is by far the tallest pre-modern statue in the world in Mount Emei, Sichuan, China

Pandas and Spicy Food

The province of Sichuan is located on the banks of the Yangtze River in Western China.  Its capital, Chengdu (translated “The Hibiscus City”) is home to nearly 8 million people. It is the 4th largest city in China.  Chengdu is known worldwide as the home of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Pandas and its 24 hour Panda Cam.  In addition to its efforts in Panda conservation and breeding, the park also houses a Panda Park which every visitor to Chengdu should see.

Anyone who has ever ordered Chinese food with the word “Sichuan” in the name, knows that the food is spicy.  At the center of much of Sichuan cuisine is the red chili oil.  Red chili oil is made by pouring hot oil over dried ground hot peppers which toasts the pepper and infuses the oil with its flavor.  The oil is used for cooking and also appears as a condiment on every table.  Depending on the recipe, the oil will also include Sichuan peppercorns which have an unmistakable mouth-numbing effect.

Other Things to See

If you don’t like spicy food you might need to find other options, but if you do, Chengdu is the place for you. While pandas and spicy food are synonymous with Chengdu, there is a lot more to see and do. For party goes, the city has well-known nightlife.  It is also home to magical face changing opera “变脸”, the Leshan giant Buddha, Mount Emei, and the Sanxingdui Archeological Site and Museum.  If you are planning a trip to China be sure to carry an ECARD.  China is increasingly becoming a cashless society and the smart wallet features of ECARD combined with its acceptance all over China will make things easy for you.