Dinner at Gingko (Yinxing) in Chengdu, China

After spending nearly six hours on buses to see the giant pandas in Ya’an, without much in the way of food besides peanuts, almonds, and fruit, I decided it was time to eat a proper Sichuan meal. I found a restaurant that came recommended, and only 332 meters along the Nanhe River from the bus station. I ordered what the waiter recommended: Kung Pao chicken with steamed rice, and an appetizer of dragon fruit, melon, and tomato. Contrary to what you might expect from Sichuan food, it was actually more sweet than spicy. I may return to sample the tofu, which my waiter told me is one of the spiciest dishes on the menu. After dinner, I drank some milk tea with pearls, my new favorite drink, and took a walk in the rain near the Xinhui Bridge.

Kung Pao chicken; Chengdu, Sichuan province, China.

Dessert of milk tea with pearls, my new favorite drink; it is a Taiwanese-style drink (also known as bubble tea) that mixes black tea with chewy tapioca balls.

I’m not sure whether if this sign is supposed to be about parking, or if it’s a customer-service sign soliciting requests if you happen to have any problems, because I can’t imagine the staff would think that I would have been driving in Chengdu: Chinese valet, or Chinese English?

After spending the better part of a week hiking, traveling long distances on buses, and going without a proper meal, I jumped at the chance to eat at a renowned restaurant that is walking distance from the bus station where I had just disembarked.