West Lake Carp in Sweet and Sour Sauce is a traditional Hangzhou dish and should most definitely be on your list of things to try. Like the majority of Hangzhou’s dishes, West Lake Carp in Sweet and Sour Sauce is favored not only for its palatable taste but also for the story lying behind it.
The story is a famous legend and goes something like this… Near the West Lake lived two Song brothers who made a living by fishing. The elder brother had a beautiful wife, Sister Song, who attracted the likes of a local villain and the only way this villain could get close to Sister Song was by murdering her husband, the elder brother...
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Name in Chinese: 楼外楼
Address: No.30, Gushan Road, Hangzhou (杭州市孤山路30号)
There are plenty of rooms for large groups, and the occasional tour group traipses through to get to them. There’s even a boat that goes out on the lake. The staff is attentive and courteous, and the food comes in good time. The dining atmosphere isn’t the best, but the view from the front window is spectacular. As for the food, you’ll find no finer Hangzhou cuisine than here. The menu is beautifully and professionally done, and it even gives the stories behind the specialties.
This famous dish is named after Su Dongpo, a governor of ancient Hangzhou and a great poet, prose writer and calligrapher too. During his term, as governor, he started the thorough dredging of the West Lake, a project involving thousands of workers and which benefited the local people immensely.
It is no secret that Su Dongpo liked eating pork so, in order to express their gratitude, the local people, during Chinese New Year, presented Su Dongpo with a lot of pork and Shaoxing Wine (a type of cooking wine in Chinese cuisine)...
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Name in Chinese: 山外山菜馆
Address: No.8, Yuquan Road, Hangzhou (杭州市玉泉路8号)
This is one of the three Hangzhou biggies: Shan Wai Shan, Lou Wai Lou and Zhang Sheng Ji. They all serve up good Hangzhou cuisine. Many go for the Fish Head Soup at Shan Wai Shan, and there are many different sizes to choose from. The restaurant is located inside the Botanical Gardens main entrance, which means you have to pay ten Yuan a person at the gate, but they do give you two hours to eat and stroll around. It’s definitely a nice way to walk off a meal.
Combining succulent shelled shrimps with freshly picked Dragon Well tea leaves results in a much sought-after Hangzhounese dish, a local specialty both highly recommended and swimming in flavour.
To prepare this dish the Dragon Well Tea’s elegantly dark green leaves need to be picked around Tomb-Sweeping Day in early spring and the shrimps, selected from local rivers, need to be fresh and as white as snow. The two ingredients both distinct in colour and texture are then combined together to form a dish oozing in flavour and aroma...
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Name in Chinese: 杭州酒家
Address: First-third Floors, Yan’an Road, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou
Formerly called Gaochangxing Tavern, Hangzhou Restaurant was the first state-owned restaurant in Hangzhou. The state leaders such as Premier Zhou Enlai and Marshal He Long have visited here. It offers Hangzhou cuisines, which are colorful, aromatic and tasty. The special dish, which is well worth a try is Mensao Pumpkin – hollow toast is filled with pumpkin and covered with cheese. It’s both delicious and beautiful.
Fried Eel Slices has gained much fame in Hangzhou. As the name suggests, this dish is prepared out of eel slices. It applies the cooking method prevailing in the northern China by stir-frying eel slices with garlic, which is a typical example of “cooking ingredients of the southern China with the cooking method of the northern”. Eel slices cooked in this way combines the intoxicating fragrance of the garlic with the tender texture of eels, which is of unique flavor. In recent years, renowned chefs in Hangzhou has developed their own way to cook the dish, that is, to deep fry eel slices until partially cooked and then to braise the dish lightly to gain a soft “skin”. Hangzhou’s version of Fried Eel Slices features appetizing smell, sour and sweet flavor, and is crisp outside but tender inside, catering to every taste.
Where to Eat >
Name in Chinese: 王润兴酒楼
Address: No. 103 Hefang Street, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou
The predecessor of Wang Runxing Restaurant is Emperor Meal. It was founded in 1934. The traditional famous dish is Fish Head Braised with Tofu.
It is said that one time John Leighton Stuart, an “ old Hangzhou hand ” and the best American speaker of Hangzhou dialect, ordered at the Wang Run Xing Restaurant at Hefang Street: “ Make it thin, because fat messes up my stomach, you all. Gimme more spice in the beans, that’s how I likes it. Cook it up right…” his fluent use of the vernacular shocked the waiters.