Tantalising a number of international taste buds, Hangzhou cuisine is a key contributor to the development of the Han cooking culture. This remarkable cuisine is characterised by elaborate preparation and a variety of cooking methods such as steaming, roasting, stewing and frying. Hangzhounese dishes are widely recognised for their presentation, exquisite taste and seasonal flavours too.
West Lake Carp in Sweet and Sour Sauce(西湖醋鱼) Westlake vinegar fish is also known as “Shu Sao Chuan Zhen(叔嫂传珍) and to prepare this dish you need a moderately sized grass carp. Boil the carp in water before cooking and then serve with a sweet and sour sauce lightly poured on top. The finished dish is a bright red color and is both tender in texture and sweet and sour to taste.
Dongpo Pork(东坡肉) Dongpo pork, named after the Song dynasty poet, is one of Hangzhou’s most traditional dishes. To cook this dish braise the pork with liquor, vinegar, spring onion, ginger and sugar and seal it in a casserole pot over a slow heat. Dongpo Pork is both tender and visually appealing so will surely tantalise those taste buds.
Shelled Shrimps with Dragon Well GreenTea(龙井虾仁) Fresh shelled shrimp stewed with Hangzhou’s famous Dragon Well green tea is a healthy combination and one that will leave you thirsty for more.
Beggar's Chicken(叫化童鸡) Beggar’s Chicken is renowned throughout the world and is one of Hangzhou’s top 10 traditional dishes. Select a Yue chicken (越鸡), clean and then stuff with an assortment of ingredients, finally wrap with a lotus leaf and place in a mud pot filled with Shaoxing Wine(绍酒) and roast for 3-4 hours. This notorious dish will certainly leave you begging for more.
Sister Song’s Fish Broth(宋嫂鱼羹) To prepare Sister Song’s Fish Broth, you first need to steam its main ingredient, mandarin fish. After removing the skin and bones and using chicken soup as the stock, stew the fish with finely shredded ham, chopped mushrooms and bamboo shoots. This is a mouth-watering dish that will appeal to a number of senses.
Bean Curd with Eight Treasures(八宝豆腐) Bean Curd with Eight Treasures is formerly a famous imperial dish served during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1661—1722) of the Qing Dynasty (1633-1911). The dish was said to be highly praised by the emperor, who said it was more delicious than the famous bird’s nest soup. He also proclaimed, with healthy ingredients such as tofu, mushroom and chicken, it would prolong life . Fish Ball(斩鱼圆) Prevalent in south China, Fish ball is associated with an anecdote of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the founder of the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC). Obsessed with eating fish the Emperor however could not tolerate fish bone. As none of his cooks could satisfy him, he decided to kill as many innocent imperial cooks as he could. Thankfully one imperial cook took action and vented his outrage towards the Emperor onto the fish, chopping it fast and furiously. To his surprise he found all the fishbone had been removed, he then proceeded to mince fish into balls with leopard soup and serve to the emperor. The fish balls were so delicious that the cook was awarded by the emperor.
Fish Head with Bean Curd(鱼头豆腐汤) Fish Head with Bean Curd, once praised by Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799), is known for its health benefits and is said to prolong life. Rich in flavour, this dish is sure to suit a variety of tastes as well as a number of different ages.
Osmanthus Fragrans Chestnut Soup(桂花鲜栗羹) Osmanthus Fragrans Chestnut Soup is one of the top 10 traditional Hangzhounese dishes. The nuttiness of the chestnuts along with the sweetness of the osmanthus creates a soup oozing with flavor and fragrance.
Stewed Rhizome Shoots with Fragrant Grains(糟烩鞭笋) Stewed rhizome shoots with fragrant grains is a famous Hangzhounese dish. It is stir-fried and stewed with tender bamboo shoots and fragrant grains as well as an assortment of other ingredients. Deliciously fresh and a tasteful choice for vegetarians.
Where to eat: Lou Wai Lou Restaurant, Zhi Wei Guan Restauran, Kui Yuan Guan Restauran and so on
Praised as “the kidneys of the Earth”, wetlands are both valuable natural resources and important ecosystems. Recently, the second list of Wetlands of Provincial Importance was announced and in total there are 48 among which three are in Hangzhou.
Spring is here and so is the 2017 “Intoxicating Springtime” – Hangzhou Outdoor Leisure Season which, in the following three months, will provide the city with over 50 springtime outdoor experiences and tour itineraries. With six themes to choose from such as child-parent, flower viewing, games and sports, spring couldn’t be livelier.