My favorite meal in Chengdu

My favorite Sichuan meal was not the traditional Sichuan hot pot, which was tasty but too oily for my taste; instead, my favorite meal in Chengdu was Sichuan noodles with beef slices, and Ceylon milk tea with pearls. Milk tea is a Taiwanese-style tea. The pearls are tapioca balls, chewy and mostly for texture. You drop them into the bottom of your tea, let them soak while you drink, and eat them at the end; or, if drinking with a wide straw, you can suck 'em up along the way.

A large bowl of noodles with beef was only 24 RMB ($3.77 USD), and the milk tea another 12 RMB, for a total bill of less than six bucks ($5.66 USD). I paid roughly the same price (34 RMB) for one vanilla latte at Starbucks about 45 minutes later, which I ordered because I never actually drank the milk tea on this visit to the restaurant, because after eating my meal but before drinking my tea, I discovered a couple of bugs floating on the surface. No thanks.

 Sichuan noodles with beef slices; Chengdu, China.

Ceylon milk with pearls; Chengdu, Sichuan province, China.

Starbucks in China doesn’t open until later, perhaps 9:00am.