When people think of Chengdu, they immediately think of hotpot. Introduced from Chongqing, Chengdu hotpot has its own style ranging from simple spicy to moderate, three or four kinds of spices, as well as fish head hotpot, medical herbs hotpot, etc. If you're not into spicy food then you should avoid these restaurants like the plague. Me, I like spicy food so went to this one located along Renmin Beilu.
What they do in one of these places is bring along a choice of hot-pot - a very large bowl filled with cooking oil and tons of chillies plus a well section in the middle filled with water and other things. You then order different kinds of meat, veg and salad stuff and cook them in the hot-pot as there's a gas burner underneath it at your table. I ordered a "mandarin duck hot-pot" which came with absolutely tons of chillies and other spicy stuff. Now, I like spicy food - just ask my local Indian take-away, but this was beyond anything I had even eaten in India. I ordered some beef and salami like ham sausage and a waitress showed me what to do plus I went over and looked at what another couple were doing plus what they had ordered as I hadn't a clue as to what to do. I also ordered some cabbage, potatoes, spring onions and bean sprouts to go with the meat which were put in the middle section. The hot-pot seemed to take a long time to get heated up and all the waitresses were watching what I was doing from time-to-time. The meat started to cook and I tried to fish it out of the oil using a draining spoon but then it was really slippery to get hold off with chop-sticks, which I have fun with at the best of times. The veg was cooking quickly by this time and so when I tried to fish it out, it had all but disappeared and I was making a mess everywhere, including on myself! Can't really see the point of it instead of being a bit of fun but I suppose, for the locals, it's just a way of life. Plus it wasn't cheap either!