Kuan and Zhai Alley
Consisting of three parallel Chinese old-style alleys (Kuan Alley, Zhai Alley and Jing Alley), the Kuan and Zhai Alley is one of the three conservation districts of historic sites in Chengdu City as well as Wenshu Monastery and Daci Temples. In China, an alley is one of the classical traditional structures. Wandering around this square, however, you will find that it has the ambiance of both traditional Chinese and western fashion. Being the only model that contains the North China lane culture in South China, the Kuan Alley and Zhai Alley upholds a core idea of “being Chengduish" and that has been the way of life in the area. It is no exaggeration to say that typical traditional Chengdu life is well represented and has lasted there.
Separating into three cultural parts with different themes, the Kuan Alley and Zhai Alley focuses on providing people with leisurely experience, including boutique hotels, characteristically local snacks and cuisines, traditional teahouse, distinctive inns, relaxing SPAs and more. . .
Kuan Alley was called Xingren Alley in Qing Dynasty. Upon entering the Kuan Alley, Chengdu life can be easily felt. Now in the traditional courtyard houses, people can savour the classic private kitchen cuisines, walk into the teahouse and enjoy the leisure or the dramatic performance. As part of the tea-tasting, a cup of a particular Chuanxi bowl tea is available. At the sides of the street, the night snacks and barbecue under old trees at night make Chengdu people's night life accompanied with delicacies. Visiting the "Chengdu's Real-Life Experience Hall" is like taking a step back in time and visitors are made to feel like guests of a Chengdu family in 1935.
Zhai Alley was called Taiping Alley in Qing Dynasty. It is interesting that the Zhai Alley is in fact wider that the Kuan Alley. Its architecture combines Chinese and Western styles and marks the beginning of a western style introduced in Chengdu in the early 20th century. Western food, cafes, shops and themed salons can be found in the courtyard and the long alleys have been injected with German, Japanese, American, French and Indian fashion influences. There are other various beautiful scenes in the courtyard at Zhai Alley.
Sichuan handicraft products are often found in the street. Weidian Snack Town serves guests from different parts of the world with typical Sichuan snacks with the recipes for these having been handed down from generation to generation. A 400m long "Brick" culture wall has recorded a thousand years worth of Chengdu history and is the must-see attraction in China Lane for taking pictures. The bars of various kinds fully express the modernity of Jing Alley at night. The new favourite among urbanites and the youth is the Jing Alley Market which, at weekends, has become a gathering place for those who love creativity.
Walking along Kuan Alley and Zhai Alley, you will find it is hard to ignore the various local delicacies e.g. steamed bamboo leaves packed with beef, Dan Hong Gao (a kind of local roast cake), Zheng Zheng Gao (steamed rice cakes), Liang Gao (a kind of spicy glutinous rice cake), fried spring rolls, sweet bean curd jelly and Persian bonbons to name just a few. Upon the sight of these delicacies, resisting the temptation may just be too difficult.