Known as one of ‘China’s Eight Regional Cuisines’, Zhejiang cuisine is divided into many branches and Hangzhou cuisine is the most refined sub-division. If Chengdu and Chongqing’s cuisines are too strong and spicy for international tourists, Hangzhou’s foods will satisfy you with its light, tender and fresh flavor. Fish and seafood are widely found in Hangzhou cuisine.

West Lake Fish in Vinegar

West Lake Fish in Vinegar is the most famous dish in Hangzhou. Fish dishes are the representative of Hangzhou cuisines and people often serve the whole fish to get lucky. West Lake is not only famous for bridges, tea houses, and gardens but also delicious fish. Enjoying mouth-watering West Lake Fish in Vinegar at scenic West Lake will be your unforgettable memory. There is a story behind this dish: During Song dynasty, there was a man who earned a living in West Lake. One day, he got sick and his sister-in-law cooked West Lake Fish in Vinegar for him. He rapidly recovered after finishing the dish. The underlying meaning of West Lake Fish in Vinegar is that life is sweet and sour, just like this dish is sweet and sour.

To keep the carp clean and fresh, the fish is kept alive in clean water for 1 or 2 days. Then, it is poached and served with a sweet-and-sour sauce made from vinegar and sugar. West Lake Fish has an appealing aroma and tender flavor.

Dongpo Pork

Dongpo Pork was named after an influential poet of ancient Hangzhou, Su Dongpo. According to the history, pork was given away to him since he had helped local people to build roads and bridges. Su Dongpo cooked all the pork and distributed to all people. This dish is made by pork belly which is cut thick and seasoned with vinegar, ginger, pepper, and sugar. After that, it is pan-fried then braised in several hours. This dish is fatty and succulent; you can feel like it melts in your mouth.

Fried Shrimps with Long Jing Tea (Dragon Well tea)

Fried Shrimps with Long Jing Tea is a delicious food you have to try when visiting a tea village in Hangzhou. The shrimps and tea leaves are carefully fried so that they will not be too oily or greasy. Being coated with egg whites and starch, the shrimps are of elegant jade color. This dish is tender, juicy and aromatic due to the sophisticated smell of tea leaves.

Jiaohua Chicken (Beggar’s Chicken)

Jiaohua Chicken is a delicious yet time-consuming dish – it usually takes 6 hours to prepare! The chicken is wrapped in a layer of lotus leaves and mud insider a clay pot. Then, it is roasted in an open fire and the clay pot will only be opened when it is served at your table. The elegant smell of lotus and the juicy taste make Beggar’s Chicken one of the most famous dishes in Hangzhou.

Most famous restaurants in Hangzhou

  • Lou Wai Lou Restaurant chain: with many restaurants around Hangzhou

– 30 Gushan Road, Xihu District

– Inside Hangzhou Botanical Garden, 1 Taoyuan Mountain

– 3 Hukou Road, Shangcheng District

  • Hyatt 28: Hyatt Hotel, 28 Hubin Road, Xihu District
  • Sawasdee Thai Restaurant: 2/F, Wyndham Grand Plaza Royale Hotel, 555 Fengqi Road, Xiachang District
  • Le Restaurant: Shenanbei Hotel, 108 Manjuelong Road, Hupao Road, Xihu District
  • Gui Yushan Room Fine Dining: 2-1 Manjuelong Road, Xihu District
  • Jin Sha: Four Seasons Hotel, 5 Lingyin Road, Xihu District
  • King Restaurant & Lounge: 1/F, Xinshiji Mansion, 17-19 Miduqiao Road, Gongshu District
  • Zhi Wei Guan: 83 Renhe Road, Shangcheng District
  • Da Wang Huo Lu: 2/F, 66 Dongpo Road, Shangcheng District
  • The Grandma’s: 3 Hubin Road, Shangcheng District