or tofu. The platter is then handed over to the cook, who then cooks up everything the way you want it, with the seasoning you prefer.
This stir-fry special is a city favorite for lunch, dinner or late night supper. At the same stall, you can often find another interesting off-cut — deep-fried nuggets of brain.
The brain has to be carefully cleansed of any blood vessels. It is blanched to firm it up and then coated in a crispy seasoned batter before being cooked in hot oil. For those who dare, the result is a crisp crunch at first bite, followed by the custardlike texture of the brains.
Those with a taste for the even more exotic can try another Chengdu specialty, spicy rabbit heads.
These skeletal tidbits are a favorite street-side snack, although it is a bit disconcerting to see pretty Sichuan lasses munching happily on a rabbit skull spotted with chili flakes.
Compared with this, the next Chengdu dish is positively tame. Granny’s pig trotters are pig’s feet cooked till they are fall-apart tender. They come in a thick soup, but you eat them dipped into spicy chili oil — what else?