What Brian Ate In…LeShan, China

When most people visit LeShan, they are most likely there to see the giant 3000 year old buddah carved into a cliff face standing over 200 feet tall. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really impressive and definitely worth the trip. But of course, for me a place is always defined by it’s food. So here were my favorite eats in this small Chinese city.

1. Kao Ya, Roast Duck

This is the most famous food in LeShan and it’s certainly not hard to find. You see it everywhere, piled on street carts or hanging on hooks under light bulbs. No matter where you get it, it’s sure to be delicious. It’s sweet and crispy skin protects the juices in the meat which makes for a flavorful, moist and crispy bite all at the same time.

2. Yang Mei, Chinese-Style Cherry

This fruit is probably most similar to a typical cherry, hence the title I gave it. However, in China it’s just called Yang Mei and it’s a very moist and tasty fruit. If your lucky it’s sweet, and if you aren’t then it can be slightly sour. Despite what it looks like, you just pop the whole thing in your mouth and then spit out the pit.

3. Bao Zi, Bread-like Dumpling

I freakin love Bao Zi. It’s one of my favorite foods in China and I get it everywhere I go; this will not be the last time you see me write about it. Bao Zi is a dumpling, but it’s not made from your typical noodle-like casing. Instead, it’s a flour-based dough that is filled with goodness and then steamed. You can get them filled with any assortment of ingredients: savory, salty, sweet, meat, vegetables, eggs, you name it. Therefore, you need to order a lot of them.

4. Ji Xin, Chicken Hearts

In China, they use the entire animal. When walking down the street you’ll find food carts and shops full of all kinds of animal parts that you’ve never seen before…well, at least if you’re a foreigner. It’s not a bad thing, it just means that there is no waste and the internal organs and items can actually be quite good for you. I decided to grab something a bit more manageable than coagulated blood or a charred lung. I went for a skewer of chicken hearts. They were actually quite good and tasted, not surprisingly, like chicken!

5. Pastries

Just before my trip to LeShan, I visited the most famous Chinese pastry shop in the city of Chengdu. They probably have about 50 different sweets to choose from, with choices that include sweet custard, fried dough, or sweet green or red beans. To be honest, the assortment is far more comprehensive than your typical Western bakery and the flavors are far more diverse. The item pictured is layers of flaky pastry, sweet cream, dough, and raisins. Complex yet simply delicious.