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A Bite of Hangzhou

West Lake Carp in Sweet and Sour Sauce

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...

 

Dongpo Pork

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)...

 

Shelled Shrimps with Dragon Well Green Tea

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...

 

Fried Eel Slices

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.