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
Autumn vegetable soup
Stir-fried water spinach
Hot and numbing tripe
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.