Chengdu is known for being a leisurely city and there is no shortage of activities to while away the hours. A sure sign of warmer weather is people outside enjoying leng dan bei (冷淡杯) in the afternoons or evenings - sitting and chatting over a couple small plates of cold food and a drink (usually beer). Leng dan bei is also eaten in place of or after dinner, and can stretch late into the evening. Restaurants that are open long hours often have simple cold dishes available continuously; things like cooked vegetables, seasoned tofu, mixed noodles, and stewed assorted meats or other animal parts served with a pile of hot pepper.
I walked into the tomato egg noodle place on Yulin before noon, hoping to try some of their steamed dishes. They told me I could order noodles but the regular menu wasn't available yet. I was starving so wandered over to the cold dish area, which had preserved eggs with onions, potato shreds, tiny seasoned potatoes, 'tiger skin' green peppers, bitter melon, marinated dry tofu, stewed ribs, rabbit heads, duck wing tips, and more. I asked for a plate of ya cai seasoned green beans and one of sliced fat pork to nibble on before my noodles came. I also asked for the beans to be heated up, which they did in a microwave. The pile of hot pepper/Sichuan pepper/salt/msg was needed to cut the richness of the pork. It was good, but after using the slices of pork to convey the hot pepper mixture to my mouth the noodles didn't seem to have much flavour. Best to eat your tomato egg noodles first.