Lanzhou Dining -- Where to Eat
Tea drinking has long been a custom among the locals in Lanzhou, and sanpaotai is the most famous tea drink. Sanpaotai is made up of spring tea, longan, date, apricot, preserved fruits, wolfberry, walnut, sesame, dried raisins, etc. The tea is put into a unique tea bowl with a cover. The first time you taste it, you will enjoy the fragrance of the tea, the second time, the sweetness of the sugar, and on the third occasion you will notice the sweet taste of longan. It is not uncommon to linger over a bowl of tea for 5 to 6 hours.
Hui Dou Zi (Gray Bean) and Tian Pei Zi (Sweet Wine) are not seen in other parts of China except in Lanzhou. Boiled red bean and steamed barley are mixed with sweet wine for fermentation. This sweet, nutritious drink is good to have in hot weather.
Legend has it that Hot Boiled Pear (Re Dong Guo) was invented by Wei Zheng, a distinguished minister during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). His mother kept coughing but refused to take medicine due to its bitter taste. As her son, Wei Zheng knew his mother liked pears so he asked his servant to boil the pear juice with the powder of herbal medicines. It was sweet and tasty, and soon after, his mother recovered. Re Dong Guo is made of Dongguo Pear, a choice fruit in Lanzhou. This delicacy is sweet and helps curb coughing.
Steamed Lily is worth trying since the lily is one of the specialties of Lanzhou. Lily served with honeydew is refreshing and sweet.
As for fresh fruits, Bailan melon is the most widely known. Travelers should try this mellow and sweet fruit at least once. Peaches, Yellow River honeydew melons, and dongguo pears are all popular as well.
Most of the popular beef noodles restaurants in Lanzhou are crowded every day, and you may have to stand in line for the noodles. Only 20 Yuan will satisfy your hunger in such restaurants. Ma Zilu Beef Noodles Restaurant is usually closed at 14:00. So we suggest that take beef noodles as lunch.
Jinding Beef Noodles Restaurant: Pingliang Lu
Ma Zilu Beef Noodles Restaurant: Dazhong Xiang, Zhangye Lu (near the provincial government)
Located near the Guofang Baisheng Department Store, there is a Tangwang Restaurant which features mutton dishes. The average cost per person is about 40 Yuan. The branches near Lanzhou University and Xiao Xihu are also recommended.
Yuebin Lou (Beijing Cuisine and Seafood)
Location: 384, Jiuquan Lu
Lanzhou Hongjin Fang Restaurant
Location: No.534 Binhe Nan Lu, Chengguan District
This is the only luxury restaurant on a waterfront in Lanzhou.
Seventy Two Industries Folk Customs Restaurant (Qishier Hang Minsu Jiulou)
Location: 279, Jiuquan Lu (Xinsheng Dasha)
This restaurant features Sichuan and Hunan dishes.
Tianlong Meishi Cheng (Dunhuang Flavor)
Location: No. 921, Gannan Lu
Tianfu Renjia Jiayan Restaurant (specialized in Sichuan food)
Location: No.98 Minzhu Xi Lu, Chengguan District
Lanzhou Dazhamen Hotpot Restaurant (Chongqing Style)
Location: No. 262, Wudu Lu
Zhuyuan Cun Hotpot Restaurant
Location: No. 609 Binhe Dong Lu
Little Sheep Hotpot Restaurant (Xiao Fei Yang)
Little Sheep Hotpot featuring Inner Mongolia-style cooking is popular in most cities of China.
General Restaurant: No. 27, Xijin Xi Lu
Xilan Branch: 2/F, Xilan Hotel
Xigu Branch: No. 90, Shandan Jie
Western style food (usually buffet dinner) in the classic hotels is more authentic than the Western food in the cafes in the streets. A simple set menu in a café usually costs about 30 to 50 Yuan.
Location: No. 472, Qingyang Lu
This chain cafe is seen in many cities in China. It provides good coffee and simple western food, in a casual and cozy environment.
Location: Xiguan crossing
In addition to these restaurants, the 'restaurant row' streets such as Nongmin Xiang, Hezheng Lu, Tielu Xincun Market, Xiguan Shizi (cross) and Xiao Xihu are good places to eat, since this is where the locals go.