Hangzhou Dishes are usually are slightly on the sweet side and less oily and salty. Some of the must-have dishes are Dongbo Rou or Dongbo Meat, Xihu Vinegar Fish or West Lake Vinegar Fish, Longjing Prawn, and Hangzhou Duck.
Dongpo Meat 东坡肉
Hangzhou is famous for its signature dish called Dongpo Meat which is one of the traditional famous dishes in Hangzhou, Zhejiang. According to legend, the poet-writer called Su Dongpo of the Northern Song came to Hangzhou to work as an official post. Su Dongpo invented the method of making this dish by first braised the pork, added in yellow wine to make the red braised pork, then slowly stewed it on low heat. The meat used is the pork belly and when it was served in front of our table, it was a whole chunk of meat that is not yet been cut. It looks super pretty before the cutting was done. The below picture is after cutting so it did not look as pretty.
Hangzhou Soy-sauce Duck 杭州卤鸭
In Beijing you have the roasted Beijing duck, in Hangzhou, you need to try the soy-sauce duck Hangzhou style. The duck used is less than one year old so it is usually tender. The sauce is the key and tastes little sweetness. Highly recommended.
Beggar’s chicken 叫花鸡
The name sounds interesting, right? When the chicken was served at our table, it was wrapped in big lotus leaves. When the lotus leaves were open up in front of us, we can smell the aroma from the lotus leaves. The process involves a whole spiced chicken in lotus leaves wrapped in mud and roasted in an open fire. When fully cooked, the mud forms a hard shell around the chicken and cracked open before revealing the chicken inside. This dish takes up to 6 hours to prepare so it is best if you can try it in the Hangzhou restaurants. In West Lake Hangzhou, you find lots of lotus leaves and this dish represents Hangzhou well.
Stir-Fried Shrimps with Longjing Tea 龙井虾仁
As you know Longjing tea is famous in West Lake Hangzhou and this is another famous dish that uses prawn. The main material as you can see is the prawn and Longjing tea. The Longjing tea leaves made the whole dish very special with the elegant fragrance from the Longjing tea.
Chinese baby cabbage with chicken sauce 鸡汁娃娃菜
This is a common dish in China, not a signature in Hangzhou. You can have this almost everywhere in China. We ordered this dish for some fiber intake and also the names sound cute. 娃娃 Wawa means a little small baby and we ordered just for the sake of the cute name. Tasted good as the vegetable is cooked with chicken essence and topping of ham.
Beef Tenderloin 杭椒牛柳
This is another Hangbang (Zhejiang province) cuisine, which has the main ingredients of beef and green pepper. The Hangzhou pepper is slightly spicy and goes well with beef. Hangbang cuisine usually tastes mainly salty and slightly sweet.
China KFC must-try dishes
KFC in China tastes different from our KFC back home. They also have a special menu here. One of my favorite to order is their chicken twist wrap, they adopted the Beijing roast duck sauce in this recipe. Tasted super awesome and I have ordered at least 3 times during my one week stay in China. I also order the chicken wings which were so crispy and well fried, you won’t find blood inside the meat and meat was tender and moist. The sauce is also worth to mention, which has a light glaze, enhancing the cripsy skin and giving a nice final touch. I know we also have the egg tarts here but the egg tarts in KFC China always serve hot to customers. You should also try their mangoes oolong tea.
KFC Dragon Twist
This taste super similar to Peking roast duck wrap which contains cucumbers, scallions, and duck sauce. I love it so much!
Enough of food and how about the nightlife in Hangzhou West Lake? Check out the coolest building in West Lake, the Apple store.
The glass building of Apple store in West Lake Hangzhou
The Apple store in West Lake is pretty impressive with design features a glass building that can see-through from the outside. During my visit, it was at night time but still the whole building was illuminated with custom made lighting panels. Super chic and fashionable building especially if you look from outside, you will notice a thin floor structure that gives an impression of a floating stage in the center of space, looks super modern. You should also try out the floating glass steps or stairs to go up to the second floor too. The apple store building is the center of attention in West Lake shopping street.
Plaza Dancing in West Lake
The street dancing or in China, they called it Plaza dancing is super popular and widely spread across China. I have seen it almost in every city in China, be it in Xinjiang, Urumqi, or Hangzhou West Lake. The people who usually dance in the square are retired people or people in their 40s to 70s. Dancing in the plaza square or park does not need a lot of money so this is great entertainment and exercise for many who has retired. During my visit to West Lake, I saw a few groups of shuffle dance and a social waltz dance. Super loud music and super cute to see them dancing freely in the public.
When you visit Hangzhou Zhejiang province, some of the must-have dishes to order are Hangzhou duck, Beggar’s chicken, Dongpo Meat, and Stir-fried prawn with Longjing tea. And if you get bored with Chinese cuisine then you can try out the KFC in China which has a different menu from our back home. Overall, my KFC experience was good and always serve hot and fresh. Dragon twist wrap is a must-eat food in KFC China.
Finally, don’t forget to stroll in West Lake shopping street at night to check out the night activities here, you will find the plaza dancing very interesting. Oh yes, the Apple store in Hangzhou is worth taking a look too as it really stands out and represents futuristic.