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Zhang Lao Wu Liang Fen
6:40am - 9:30pm
53 - 2, Section 2nd, 1 Ring Rd.
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Susan Johnson (more chengdu)
In Chengdu the name Zhang makes us think of liang fen – cool, tender noodles made from jellied bean starch that get tossed with seasonings and enjoyed in warm weather. There are several shops selling Zhang's Liang Fen in town, and though there is little family resemblance between some of them, this shop near the Chinese Traditional Medicine hospital is worth a visit. On the menu is a few kinds of white and yellow liang fen (凉粉) and thick chewy tian shui mian (甜水面). They also do a very respectable cold noodles (凉面) tossed with bean sprouts, shredded chicken, and spicy seasoning.

The cool noodles and bean starch make for good business when the weather starts to warm up, but this branch of Zhang's also offers dishes that are popular in winter months so it is hopping all year. California beef noodles (加州牛肉面), a dish that pops up often in China and is about as Californian as french fries are French, is a rich and spicy bowl of beef and noodles with strips of seaweed added. It works rather well together. They offer standard small dumplings in spicy sauce (红油水饺). They have very good chao shou in chicken soup (鸡汤抄手), and little crocks of a comforting chicken soup with white fungus and goji berries. Baskets of 'dragon eye' steamed buns (龙眼包子) were on about half the tables when we visited during lunch, and sold out when we came back and wanted to try them.

Zhang's is so popular that during rushes you need to have good crowd negotiation skills to order and to snag a chair; otherwise you can be standing in front of the till for several minutes while more assertive diners call out their orders over your shoulder and hand over their money under your arm. While the food is always good, we find it easier to enjoy the whole experience at Zhang's if we come during non-peak times. Zhang's remains one of the better places to catch some local flavour, especially for those on a budget. Snacks are around 5 yuan per order; noodles and dumplings between 7-10.

Zhang Lao Wu Liang Fen
Zhang Lao Wu Liang Fen Zhang Lao Wu Liang Fen