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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?

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