Monday, April 6, 2009

Tazishan Park Barbecue

Tazishan Park is in the east of the city, and the only place that I know of within Chengdu where you can take your own food to barbecue. I've come here for barbecue a few times and have always had a great time even though it is smoky, crowded, and lacking in sink facilities. On this holiday Monday my friends and I arrived before ten to get a pit. It was a good thing we did because the place quickly filled up.

Outside the gate of the main barbecue area there is a window where you rent the grilling equipment of your choice - knives, pans, tongs, grills, rabbit racks, dishes, you name it. The Y100 item near the top is an electric lamb rack.

Charcoal is Y10 a bag inside. You can buy food to grill as well as seasoning - there's no such thing as barbecue sauce, but bags of hot pepper, Sichuan pepper, salt, cumin, and msg mixes. Most people bring their own food to grill though and I've always liked taking strolls around to spy on what they are cooking. Last time there were some Japanese students barbecuing 'pizza pockets' full of vegetables and mayonnaise. Today, one family of nine stood around a flameless pit making jiaozi dumplings.

One highlight of our spread was thick strips of pork belly, skin firmly attached, which had been packed in salt and Sichuan peppercorns. Beautiful, and numbing without being hot. Other friends grilled eggplants whole and then mixed the tender flesh with a Japanese ginger and soy dressing. We had the zucchini and mushrooms I'd bought at the market on skewers. There were chicken and duck wings, and some lean pork marinated in wine, sugar, and soy. Lettuce, onions, potatoes, and lotus root rounded out the vegetables.

A couple of fire experts in our group kept the heat and charcoal going and I got to sit by the grill with a set of tongs while the conversation floated around me. Perfect way to spend a long weekend Monday.

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