Chengdu street food: Broken-hearted noodles

Last night I went out in search of the spiciest food I could find.

Ya, from Chongqing, recommended that I try the broken-hearted noodles, which get their name from being so spicy that they’ll make you cry. I got the name of the noodles written in Chinese on a piece of paper, along with a request for extra spicy ("spicy plus," it says in parenthesis). Note in hand, I visited Jinli Ancient Street (锦里古街), a famous Chengdu night-market with food stalls. The broken-hearted noodles ended up being the best street food that I ate in Chengdu. For dessert, I ate a brown-sugar cake, and also an egg cake filled with some sort of sugary sweet filling.

Later that night, Ya offered to teach me how to play mahjong, but we couldn't find a board.

At the entrance to Jinli Ancient Street; in parenthesis, the note requests noodles that are extra spicy ("spicy plus").

I finally found the right spot, after four or five different attempts, each of which ended with a Chinese person laughing, smiling, and encouraging me to walk farther down the aisle of food stalls, suggesting that the spiciness I sought was only a little farther. The noodles cost 7 RMB ($1.11) per bowl.

Finally, the first properly spicy food that I’ve had in China: Broken-hearted noodles.

This is what the broken-hearted noodles look like once you start to really get in there.

Ya (English name: Joya) is an English major; here we are doing our Western pose (i.e. no peace sign).

Ya and I doing are best Chinese pose; peace, Asia!