Hot and numbing tripe, Ren Ming Shi Tang (People's Public Restaurant), Chengdu, China

Ren Min Shi Tang (People’s Public Restaurant), Chengdu, dinner

Menu from an à la carte dinner at a branch of Ren Min Shi Tang (People’s Public Restaurant), a cultural revolution era themed restaurant in Chengdu, China:

Dry roasted peanuts

Pan cooked bread

Steamed pumpkin

Autumn vegetable soup

Stir-fried water spinach

Hot and numbing tripe

Spicy frogs

Beef and chilli stir-fry

Chengdu has been all about the themed restaurants of late and this is one of the popular ones. And there’s a couple of them in the small chain around the city.

The idea is that the food is rustic and home cooked, it’s dialled back like those eaten during the impoverished cultural revolution period. In reality though, there’s probably more ingredients on the menu here than you’d find in those days gone by.

The food was surprisingly flavourful, especially the more spicy dishes like the hot and spicy tripe and the spicy frogs.

My favourite thing on the menu though was perhaps the pan-cooked bread. It’s almost cooked like pancake with a wet dough that’s allowed to run down the side of a wok and collect at the bottom. The result is that you have this really thin, crispy side and a more doughy part where the batter has collected.

Qin Xie

Qin Xie is a London based food, wine and travel journalist and trained chef.

When not infiltrating Michelin restaurants as a kitchen tourist, she writes about food, drink and travel. Her work has appeared on Yahoo, FT, The Times and CNN.

Her first cookbook, co-authored with YS Peng at Hunan Restaurant, is out March 2014.

According to friends, her watch is always set to UTC -- ready for the next big adventure. In reality, she is happiest at the dinner table or by the sea.

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