Chengdu is one of the most underrated food cities on the planet. In 2010, the Sichuan capital was named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, one of only a handful of such cities in the world, based on the relationship between food and culture. And it’s really the abundance of wet markets that sets it above the rest. Head to the Qingyang district, where you’ll find tables of fish, pig brains and innards, buckets of frogs, and plenty of chile bean paste, pickled veggies and tofu—all mainstays in the city’s signature hot pot. Hawkers also dish out heaping portions of spicy noodles, crispy pancakes and barbecued rabbit. This food is so hot and spicy, it may blow your head off—it’s the type of heat the sets your mouth, then throat and eventually your lungs on fire.