★★ 钟水饺 (Zhong ShuiJiao) - Chengdu
Zhong ShuiJiao is the name of this noodles and dumplings chain restaurant in Chengdu China (ShuiJiao translates to water dumplings). I was walking along the popular shopping district of Chunxi street when I saw this restaurant crowded with local merchants during lunch time. They had five ramen dishes on their menu, this being my first time in Chengdu, I was anxious to try the famous Sichuan ramen: 担担面 (dan-dan noodles).
The Sauce - is a red chili oil sauce that was surprisingly not that spicy. There wasn't much flavor to the sauce, it just seems to be there to provide the spiciness. There were some 花椒粉 (Sichuan pepper) that supplied a bit of that numbing sensation famous in many Sichuan dishes, but it was just barely noticeable here.
The Noodles - were slightly thin, straight noodles cooked quite soft. The noodles were a little dissapointing as they didn't provide much texture to the dish.
The Toppings - were ground pork and some green onions. The ground pork was seasoned with 五香粉 (Chinese five spice) and was very delicious. The whole art of eating this dish was trying to evenly distribute the pork sauce with each bite of noodles.
Overall - I was slightly dissapointed with my first bowl of dan-dan noodles in Chengdu. The noodles were too soft, plus I was hoping for something spicier, though the pork sauce was good. Zhong ShuiJiao is really famous for its Zhong ShuiJiao dumplings and I should've tried that instead.
The Zhong ShuiJiao store that I visited was located on ChunXi street North section, in an alley near the McDonalds. Though there are a half dozen of these stores all over Chengdu.