Lai Tang Yuan (赖汤元)
27 Zongfu Road, Chengdu, China
Lai Tang Yuan (赖汤元) Chengdu Reviews
Home of Lai's Glutinous Rice Balls Nov 26, 2014
Lai Tang Yuan (赖汤元) has been around since the 1930's and there a number of them in Chengdu today. Lai is the surname of the founder (Lai Yuanxin) and Tang Yuan means "rice balls in soup". They are golf ball sized and made of glutinous rice, with a sweet tasting black ground sesame paste filling. Glutinous rice is actually gluten free. The word “glutinous” comes from a Latin word meaning “sticky”. Cooked as they are and served in a clear broth, I didn't find them to be sticky, but more softly chewy. They are a kind of 'specialty of the house' you might say and famous all over China today. The story goes something like this:
"In 1894, a young man named Lai Yuanxin traveled from his native town to Chengdu, where he took up a place as an apprentice in a restaurant. Sadly, it wasn’t long before he fell out with his boss and lost his job. Stuck with no means to support himself, he borrowed money from a cousin, bought a bamboo shoulder pole and a few cooking utensils, and started selling glutinous rice dumplings on the streets. After making a living this way for many years, he was able to open a shop on Zongfu Street in the center of Chengdu."
Lai Tang Yuan is one of those long-standing and popular snack eateries in Chengdu, similar in status to Long Chao Shou (龙抄手). They serve all variety of traditional Sichuan style dishes that you would expect in a 'snack-style' restaurant like this. The prices are not expensive and the food is good. As it is a popular place, it can be crowded at peak dining times, but has a lower and upper level with ample seating. Only demerit is that service can be a little slow. It is located very near the Crowne Plaza Chengdu Hotel. Here's the address in Chinese: 锦江区总府路27号 (27 Zhong Fu Rd)
Part of the China - Shanghai, Xi'an, & Chengdu (Nov 14 - 30, 2014) travel blog
Part of the list China: Review List
12 / 12 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!