Sichuan province is "the spicy, sensualist heartland of all the things I love about China," said Anthony Bourdain. Spicy chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorns are two ingredients integral to its cuisine.
Bourdain and chef Eric Ripert attended cooking school in Chengdu to learn to prepare fish-fragrant pork slivers (Yu Xiang Rou Si). The result? Both chefs slightly overcooked it.
They traveled about two hours south of Chengdu to see the Giant Buddha in Leshan. Carving started in 713 A.D. on what is still the largest stone Buddha in the world.
The area around the statue, which is 71 meters high (233 feet), provides a sweeping look back on the city of Leshan.
During the excursion to see the Buddha, Ripert and Bourdain stopped for a local snack -- rabbit head.
Bourdain and Ripert also sampled the classic hot pot communal meal at Liang Lukou in Chengdu. Diners order a variety of meat, vegetables and fish and cook the ingredients in spicy, bubbling broth.