Commuters usually don’t have enough time to sit down to a leisurely breakfast in the rush to get to work in the morning. Therefore, simple snacks served near their homes or on their way to work are welcome options.
And for people working shifts or who’ve been out on the town and want some yummy food to keep the midnight munchies at bay, roadside food stalls offering tasty snacks at low prices are ideal choices.
Many Chinese cities have their own distinctive fast-food options and Hangzhou is no exception. Shanghai Daily recommends three traditional Hangzhou snacks, which can be sampled at small restaurants and food stalls across the city.
Noodles with tasty broth and lots of added ingredients are not a convenient rush-hour breakfast option as the stock and ingredients need time to simmer to guarantee a tasty bowl of noodles.
But simple on-the-go noodle option cong you ban mian, featuring just shallots and oil, is popular among commuters. Shallots, lard, soy sauce, sugar and salt are added to lightly boiled noodles. Then the cook pours on sizzling oil and quickly stirs. The lard and shallots give off appetizing, mellow aroma and are the perfect accompaniment for smooth, al dente noodles.
In Hangzhou, an inconspicuous-looking noodle shop in Baochu Road is always packed in the mornings. Since the store is too small to accommodate all of them, many customers sit at the roadside to eat their noodles, ignoring strange looks from passers-by. The uncomfortable perch is made more palatable by the price — only 3.5 yuan (56 US cents) a bowl.
Where to eat Address: at the intersection of Baochu Road and Xixi Road Within the dim sum tradition of southern China, shaomai — steamed dumplings with rice and minced pork — are a standard dish. They have gain popularity across the country since originating from Inner Mongolian during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Fillings vary by region — usually minced meat in northern China and pork mixed with vegetables in southern parts.
In Hangzhou, shaomai are usually stuffed with pork, mushroom, onion, celery and bamboo shoots. Roadside eateries serve shaomai as their main business of the day in the morning, though they are a popular midnight snack option too.
In the city, the most popular shaomai outlets are usually tucked away in residential communities and down narrow lanes. However, locals with a taste for filled dumplings have long ago tracked them down.
Han Shaomai is a stall that appears around 8pm at the entrance to Yongjinmen residential community for a four-hour stint.
Some years ago, a diner posted a picture of Han Shaomai on the Sina microblog, praising its tasty food. Soon the humble food stall was attracting lots of new customers drawn by the rave review. Now Han Shaomai is busy every night and customers are advised to arrive early as they often sell out of dumplings.
Another famed shaomai outlet is Laoguanqiao Shaomai, located at the intersection of Zhongshan Road and Tiyuachang Road. So tasty are its wares that a Shanghai web user tweeted on weibo that he would drive the 160 kilometers from Shanghai to Hangzhou solely to sample Laoguanqiao shaomai.
What makes fans drive from another city to tuck into Laoguanqiao shaomai? Fans say it’s the flavor, of course. The signature version — minced pork and bamboo shoot shaomai — has an umami flavor, while the bamboo shoots take away the greasiness of the pork and offer a refreshing crispness.
Where to eat • Han Shaomai Address: at the entrance to Yongjinmen residential community • Laoguanqiao Shaomai Address: 518 Zhongshan Rd N. Tel: 189-0571-7058
If you asked Hangzhou locals to pick a breakfast snack that symbolizes the city, most would almost certainly say cong bao hui. This deep-fried pancake wrapped around scallion is considered the city’s specialty by both natives and outsiders.
Adding to its traditional appeal, cong bao hui comes with a story dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279), concerning famed General Yue Fei and notorious traitor Qin Hui. Although Yue and his army helped the court defeat invaders, the general was executed in 1142 on the orders of Qin, chancellor of the dynasty.
Historians consider the killing of the patriotic and loyal Yue one of the most infamous acts by a government minister during the dynasty. Yue’s death caused an outcry in Hangzhou and residents vented their hatred for the chancellor by making batter into a shape resembling Qin and then frying it.
In Chinese, cong bao means scallion wrap, while hui refers to Qin Hui. Today, cong bao hui is a popular snack at city food stalls. The ones made by Grandma Jiang in Desheng New Village Community are feted by fans as the most savory in the city.
Grandma Jiang has made cong bao hui for 23 years, every day placing a simple coal stove at the gate of the community and cooking her pancakes. Connoisseurs say Grandma Jiang’s cong bao hui combine crispy texture with the fragrance of scallion and homemade sweet sauce.
Where to eat • Grandma Jiang Cong Bao Hui Address: 99 Deyuan Rd
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In order to improve the high-speed railway connection system and promote the construction of scenic areas in the whole region, Qiandao Lake opened its direct tourist buses to rural scenic areas on July 1. That is to say, people who are at the Qiandao Lake High-Speed Railway Station can take these buses directly to such rural scenic areas as the Xiajiang Village Scenic Area, the Shilin Scenic Area and the Jiangjia Scenic Area. These three routes pass through Fengshuling Town, Lishang Township, Shilin Town, Jieshou Village and Jiangjia Town. It will be more convenient for tourists to reach these scenic areas.