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Taking a Sip or a Bite of Sunshine 2017-06-27
A light lunch or afternoon tea spent outside on a warm day in spring, surrounded by trees and flowers, can make you feel as if each sip and bite fills you with sunshine.

In the hills around Hangzhou and nearby its ponds and lakes, there’s plenty of options for a tea, coffee and a snack or light lunch accompanied by warming sunbeams and a spring breeze.

Shanghai Daily has discovered the best spots.

Connecting a bamboo grove, two gardens, a causeway and small bodies of water, Qu Yuan Feng He is the largest park around the West Lake, and an popular place for hikers, joggers and picnicking couples.

Most people know Qu Yuan Feng He for its pink lotus blossoms and green lotus leaves, but few know that it used to be the royal alcohol workshop in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).

 

Today, there’s a pond in front of the workshop where lotus flowers grow, and around the pond are corridors connecting Chinese pavilions and gardens. Slim, long bamboo, high camphor trees and Taihu stones, a type of limestone, dot the park.

The place has been listed as one of the West Lake Scenic Area’s top 10 views.

Although the lotus in the pond hasn’t budded yet, many locals come for a cup of tea, or a picnic on the grass.

There are several restaurants, cafes and teahouses in the park.


Lotus Hotel (莲遇): Set in a large garden with trees and tulips, Lotus Hotel offers local dishes, tea and coffee. Huge parasols provide shade if it gets too warm.

Hu Pan Ju (湖畔居): This traditional Chinese teahouse provides tea, Chinese snacks and local dishes on black tables and chairs under trees.

Also on the Yanggong Causeway, opposite to the east entrance of the park, Guo’s Villa (郭庄) features a teahouse with tables under blooming plum trees and in close proximity to the West Lake.

Maojiabu Village west of the West Lake is home to Longjing tea, one of the most famous and expensive of all Chinese green teas. Its history goes back 1,200 years.

 

After taking a bus to Maojiabu, keep walking north for around 2 kilometers until you reach China National Tea Museum.

It’s a scenic stroll because you pass tea bushes, weed groves and small streams.

The west side of the lake is much quieter, with fewer tourists venturing here, which makes the scenery of the tea farms even more enjoyable. From Maojiabu bus stop there are several restaurants, all with a garden or a glass room. From south to north, here are your recommendations.

Long Tang Li (弄堂里): As one of the leading local restaurant chains, Long Tang Li makes affordable local dishes. This branch is furnished with simple, dark wooden tables and benches, as well as lots of French windows.

Huabusa (花房): When you see a white house with a bird on the façade, it is Huabusa at 4 Longjing Road. The decor is mostly white, with lots of flowers, floral curtains and sofas. Local dishes as well as cakes and juices are on the menu.

Green Tea Restaurant (绿茶): Near the tea museum, the restaurant is known for its maximum use of glass for walls and ceilings, which allows sunlight to flood the rooms. It’s partially built over water, and so popular that there’s always a queue of people waiting for seats.


Green Tea Restaurant at Maojiabu

Hangzhou’s version of Shanghai’s Xintiandi is a leisure and entertainment block comprising cafes, club houses, restaurants, entertainment venues and shops. It’s located along the shore of the West Lake and adjacent to Nanshan Road.

Its style is based on the unique garden scenery and old gray-brick buildings. Restaurants and cafes here feature outdoor areas or glass rooms with a view.

Nearby the entrance, there’s a Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Czech restaurant Pilsen. Farther down, there’s a Secret Recipe and a Cosmic Love Tea and Wine Restaurant which serve local dishes in a huge glass room. Xiao Cheng Shan Fang (小城膳坊) boasts a garden next to the lake. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s a Haagen-Dazs and Ptime Dessert.

Source: HiCenter
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