cangyingguan 苍蝇馆 or ‘fly restaurants’ are the lifeblood of Chengdu cuisine. In ancient times, street peddlers selling dumplings and snacks eventually upgraded into tiny stalls, what are literally hole in the walls, and set up shop with rickety stools and tables you can rest on while devouring afternoon snacks or morning tea.
Click here to read the essay I wrote last year on dumpling nostalgia growing up in Guanghan, Sichuan. It can give you a glimpse into the soul of a cangyingguan.
The cangying or ‘fly’ does not refer to the establishments’ size, or cleanliness factor. It is said that the word actually refers to the constant buzz of patrons, bustling in and out with mission and purpose to fulfill their cravings.
Here I take you to one of my favorites in Chengdu city. Opposite Wensuyuan, 张老儿凉粉 Zhanglaoerliangfen (I won’t bother translating that one) is a mile apart from the other restaurants around, …