San Da Pao: Snack of Shows and Sounds
By Chengdu Panda Asian Food Festival

San Da Pao (literally “three big-gun shoots”) may be the most special one among the hundreds of snacks in Chengdu, not only for its strange name, the sweet taste and the chewy tenderness, but also for its ostentatious making process.


San Da Pao (literally "three big-gun shoots") may be the most special one among the hundreds of snacks in Chengdu, not only for its strange name, the sweet taste and the chewy tenderness, but also for its ostentatious making process.

A famous local snack, "San Da Pao" is served as a bowl of glutinous rice balls coated with soybean powder and black sugar juice. The making of the snack involves an impressive show of body performances of the maker as he throws the rice balls, a loud clatter of tinsel saucers before the rice balls landing into a basket with soybean powder.
Jia Gang is a master of making San Da Pao and he told us that he had an experience of making the snack of over 20 years. "To make it taste good, we must prepare the steamed glutinous rice the night before, and we steam it twice," Jia explained, adding that the preparation is crucial to giving chewiness to the rice balls.
The name of "San Da Pao" comes from the three loud sounds when the snack is made at the selling stand, which is usually the most eye-catching spot — the performances of the maker and the constant clatters of the saucers would present a bewitching street show that attracts the attention of passersby. Previously, San Da Pao was sold at places near the teahouses, since many tea drinkers would came out to buy the snack.



Now you can find the stands selling San Da Pao in a number of places in Chengdu, especially at several tourist spots, such as Wenshufun, Jinli Street and Wide and Narrow Alleys.