Hidden in an alleyway just north of the Bright Chang’an Building, Chuanban is always packed. As Sichuan’s provincial office it’s the place to get cheap and authentic Sichuan dishes.
Highlights include pock-marked Chen bean curd, gongbao chicken and twice-cooked fatty pork. Start with the popular appetiser fuqi feipian (husband-and-wife meat slices), a mixture of lean beef and ox lung dressed in amazing Sichuan condiments, which warms up your palate for the hot dishes to come.
Chuanban doesn’t accept reservations, so it’s best to arrive either before 6pm or after 8pm. Otherwise, be prepared to wait for at least 25 minutes. The atmosphere is celebratory and raucous rather than romantic; expect loud talking, toasting and clinking of glasses.