Chengdu San Da Pao (Three Big Cannons)
English Name,Three Big Cannons
Chinese Name,三大炮 (Sān dàpào)
Place of Origin,Chengdu
In the kingdom of Chinese snacks, Chengdu’s “three big cannons” is considered the one that gives the greatest sense of hearing. In addition to its ability to attract people’s sense of smell, it also attracts people’s attention a lot.
Made from glutinous rice, “San Da Pao” is a famous Han snack in Sichuan and it’s most popular in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan province. It is usually served in groups of three and drenched in sweet syrup.
It has a distinctive flavor when eaten with “Eagle Tea” (Laoying Cha). This type of tea is also mostly taken by the Sichuan people.
The name of San Da Pao was coined from the loud sound produced during its preparation. Sweetened rice balls (prepared from glutinous rice) are thrown against a metal tray filled with soy/ sesame flour.
Just like the sound of a bullet fired from cannon, a loud “dang dang dang” noise is produced when the rice ball hits against the tray. This produces three different sounds; “Iron cannon, fire cannon and the gun cannon sounds.” These three distinctive sounds collectively give the name, “three big cannons.”
You can enjoy the snack in a number of places in Chengdu but due to the rapid development of the city, the traditional places for buying authentic San Da Pao keep declining. Currently, there are two main places that are well-known for selling authentic the cannons.
These are the: Wenshufang Street located in the center of Chengdu as well as the Jin Li Street. Other places where the snack is mostly sold include Cultural Park (Wenhua Gongyuan) and The People’s Park (Renmin Gongyuan).