Suzhou Dining

Suzhou has been called the 'land of milk and honey' since ancient times and Jiangsu cuisine, of which Suzhou cuisine makes up one important part, is one of the eight famous culinary arts in China. Suzhou dishes are praised highly by food connoisseurs from both home and abroad. Derived from local time-honored culinary skills, the cuisine attains its unique sweet flavor from strictly selected materials, an elaborate way of cooking, and a unique color, aroma and shape. Nearby Taihu Lake (Tai Lake) supplies abundant fresh sea food that adds more color to the table culture of Suzhou. At the same time, more consummate culinary skills are mastered by the locals.

It is an important custom for locals to eat specific dishes according to the changing seasons. For example, Biluo Xiaren (quick-fried shrimp with biluochun tea) is sampled in spring and Xigua Ji (young chicken wrapped in watermelon rind and steamed) is well tasted in summer. Maybe, autumn is the time most yearned for by the population, because it is time to enjoy the delicious steamed crabs and nutritious Bafei Soup (barbel soup). As well as these famous dishes, Songshu Guiyu (mandarin fish, stewed and fried), which was praised by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) is considered to be the ultimate Suzhou dish, and it is highly recommended that you try it during your visit. Following are two recommended century-old establishments where you will be able to sample these famous dishes:

Old Brand Restaurants

Song He Lou (Pine and Crane Restaurant)
Having more than 200 years' history, good and authentic Suzhou cuisine here is noted world wide. The Songshu Guiyu cooked here is highly recommended.
Recommended dishes: Songshu Guiyu, Qingchao Xiaren (fried shrimp meat), Gusu Luya (spicy marinated duck), Yinyu Chuncai Tang (silver fish and water shield soup), Xiehuang Doufu (bean curd with crab roe), Xiangyou Shanhu (stir-fried mud eel)
Guanqian Branch:
Address: No. 72, Taijian Nong, Pingjiang District
Bus route: Buses No.1, 202, 8, 9, 32, 38, 68, 102, 103 and No.4 tourist special route will take you.
Opening hours: 11:00~13:30   17:00~20:30
Average cost: CNY100~120 per person
Changxulu Branch:
Address: the 5th floor of Molihua Holiday Inn, No.345, Changxu Lu, Jinchang District
Average cost: CNY155 per person
Shantangjie Branch
Address: No.198, Shantang Jie, Jinchang District
Average cost: CNY95 per person

De Yue Lou (Deyue Restaurant)
Resulting from four hundred years of culinary experience, De Yue Lou serves dozens of famous and authentic dishes to visitors both from home and abroad.
Recommended dishes: Songshu Guiyu, Deyue Tongziji (deyue spring chicken), Qingchao Xiaren, Xiefen Doufu (braised crab meat with bean curd)
Address: There are two restaurants located on Taijian Nong. One is at No.43 and the other one is at No.8.
Bus route: Tourist special route No.4 and regular buses No.1, 2, 8, 9, 32, 38, 68, 102 and 103 can get you there.
Opening hours: 11:00~14:00   17:00~21:00
Average cost: CNY100 per person

Xie He Cai Guan (Xiehe Restaurant)
It is very traditional, serving Suzhou Cuisine with reasonable price.
Recommended dishes: Qingchao Xiaren, Xiangyou Shanhu, Jiang Fang (braised pork), Xiefen Doufu
Address: No.15, Fenghuang Jie, Canglang District
Bus routes: You 2
Opening hours: 10:30~21:00
Average cost: CNY 50~CNY55 per person

Shijia
It has more than 200 years' history, especially famous for its Bafei Tang..
Main restaurant:
Address: No.18, Zhongshi Street, Mudu Town
Bus route: Buses No.502 and 69 and the tourist special route No.4 can take you there.
Opening hours: 11:00~14:00   17:00~21:00
Average cost: CNY50~CNY70
Second location:
Address: No.15-1, Jinshan Road, Mudu Town
Bus route: Buses No.502 and 69 and the tourist special route No.4 go there.
Opening hours: 11:00~14:00   17:00~21:00
Average cost: CNY60

Wumen Renjia
Recommendation: Xiangyou Shanhu, Qingchao Xiaren, Tangzhou (sweet gruel), Babao Ya (duck stuffed with the eight treasures)
Address: No.31, Panru Xiang, Pingjiang District
Average cost: CNY50~CNY70 per person

Xiang Xue Hai (Donghuan Branch)
Address: No.930, Donghuan Lu, Suzhou Industrial Park
Bus route: No.18, 118
Opening hours: 09:00~20:30
Average cost: CNY55 per person

Beimen (Industrial Park Branch)
Address: No.78, Suhui Lu, Suzhou Industrial Park
Average cost: CNY70~CNY80

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