Top 10 Suzhou Foods You Should Try

Next to Taihu Lake in the Yangtze River Delta, Suzhou has been called the “land of milk and honey” since ancient times for it is rich in various food ingredients. This contributes to the diversity of Suzhou food. In addition to the rich ingredients, Suzhou dishes, as an important part of famed Jiangsu cuisine, are praised highly by food connoisseurs for skilled culinary skills, unique sweet, sour and light flavor and elaborate color, aroma and shape. Here are the top 10 Suzhou food you should try:

1. Pan-Fried Bun

 Chinese Name: 生煎包 shēng jiān bāo
 Flavor: salty
 Cooking Method: pan-frying
Pan-Fried Bun is a traditional Suzhou food stuffed with multiple fillings, such as minced pork, corns and shepherd's purse, meeting different people’s taste respectively. The top of Pan-Fried Bun is soft and palatable with chopped shallots and sesame seeds, and the bottom is crispy after being fried into a golden color. The freshly cooked ones are the best.

2. Sweet and Sour Mandarin Fish

 Chinese Name: 松鼠桂鱼 sōng shǔ guì yú
 Flavor: sweet and sour
 Cooking Method: deep-frying, braising
Sweet and Sour Mandarin Fish is a famous Suzhou food throughout China. It is said the dish was highly praised by Qianlong emperor of Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 AD) when he traveled to Suzhou, since when the dish became extremely popular. The deep-fried mandarin fish is shaped as a squirrel, then topped with hot sweet and sour sauce, thus the dish is called Sweet and Sour Mandarin Fish.

3. Taihu Lake Three Whites

 Chinese Name: 太湖三白 tài hú sān bái
 Flavor: light, umami
 Cooking Method: steaming
The dish is the representative Suzhou food benefiting from its location by the Taihu Lake. The Three Whites refer to white fish, white shrimps and whitebaits, all of which are well-known specialties in Taihu Lake. Three Whites are usually steamed or scalded, and served together as a dish. It has been a must in the old boat banquet that prevailed in Suzhou and Yangzhou.

4. Noodles with Red Soup

 Chinese Name: 红汤面 hóng tāng miàn
 Flavor: salty, aromatic
 Cooking Method: boiling
Noodles with Red Soup is the traditional wheaten food in Suzhou, taken as breakfast by the locals. In the dish, the soup is the essence, even more important than the noodles. Topped with egg and chopped garlic bolts, and seasoned with soy sauce, lard, etc., the red soup is light and not greasy. The noodles is tasty. You cannot miss it in Suzhou.

5. Gorgon Fruit with Sweet Osmanthus

 Chinese Name: 桂花鸡头米 guì huā jī tóu mǐ
 Flavor: sweet
 Cooking Method: boiling
If you like sweet Suzhou food, you must try the Gorgon Fruit with Sweet Osmanthus. It is an old notable dessert in Suzhou. It is easily made by boiling gorgon fruit, white sugar and osmanthus together. Gorgon fruit is a food material as well as a Chinese medicine, helping to nourish the spleen. In the past, gorgon fruit could only be picked and cooked in autumn, but now, there are dry ones available in all seasons.

6. Cherry-shaped Pork

 Chinese Name: 樱桃肉 yīng táo ròu
 Flavor: sweet and sour
 Cooking Method: steam stewing or frying
Cherry-shaped Pork is a good-looking Suzhou food that has been popular since ancient times. The streaky pork is cut into dices the same size as cherries, and fried or steam stewed with red sweet and sour sauce. The well-done dish looks just like a plate of fresh cherry. Sometimes, the chefs will place cooked pea seedlings around the pork as well. It tastes sweet and sour, and a little salty. The pork is so tender that it melts in the mouth.

7. Fermented Rice Wine Cake

 Chinese Name: 酒酿饼 jiǔ niàng bing
 Flavor: sweet
 Cooking Method: baking
Fermented Rice Wine Cake is the favorite pastry of Suzhou people. The crust is fermented with rice wine, hence the name. For climatic reason, the best time to taste it is around Qingming Festival in spring. There are meat and vegetarian Fermented Rice Wine Cake. The popular stuffings include rose, red bean paste, sesame and mint. It looks like mooncake and is tender. The hot ones are the best. If you come to Suzhou in spring, you’d better take the chance to taste freshly made Fermented Rice Wine Cake.

8. Quick-fried Shrimps with Biluochun Tea

 Chinese Name: 碧螺虾仁 bì luó xiā rén
 Flavor: light, a little sweet
 Cooking Method: quick-frying
Bilunchun Tea, the specialty of Suzhou, is a little sweet with light aroma. When the shrimps are fried with the tea soup, they will have the original flavor of shrimps, as well as the light tea flavor. And the white shrimps look exquisite like pieces of white jade. It is a surprising Suzhou food tender and refreshing. You may fall in love with it as long as you taste it.

9. Wonton

 Chinese Name: 馄饨 hún tún
 Flavor: salty
 Cooking Method: boiling
Suzhou people like eating Wonton very much. According to a widespread legend, Wonton was invented in the capital of Wu State in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), which is today’s Suzhou. The wrapper of Wonton is so thin that you can see the meat stuffing hazily through it. Wonton is served in light soup with chopped shallots, fried egg shreds, dry shrimps and a little seaweed.

 Read more: Recipe - How to Make Wonton

10. Hairy Crab

 Chinese Name: 大闸蟹 dà zhá xiè
 Flavor: the original flavor of crab
 Cooking Method: steaming
Hairy Crab from Taihu Lake is the best-known all over China, for hairy crabs there are the fattest ones with best taste. Especially in autumn around Mid-Autumn Festival, the hairy crabs are in their fattest time and taste the best. They are generally steamed, and eaten with dipping sauce that seasoned on your own preferences. Hairy Crab is a must dish in the tea houses in Suzhou, and people would like to eat crab roe as the morning tea. Come and have a try quickly!

Read More:
List of Top 10 Suzhou Restaurants      

5 Best Indian Restaurants in Suzhou

- Last updated on Jun. 01, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Top 10 Suzhou Foods You Should Try
Asked by Saad Shaaban from EGYPT | Jul. 20, 2016 08:52Reply
Is there Muslim Restaurants in Suzhou ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Linda from UNITED KINGDOM | Jul. 20, 2016 22:25

Yes, there are many Muslim restaurants in this city. Among them, Beijiang Restaurant and Huixianglou Restaurant win high popularity among local peoples and tourists. You can find authentic halal foods there. And they usually have reasonable prices. Hereunder is the detailed information:
Beijiang Restaurant: Building No.1, Block B, No.158, Suhui Road.
Huixianglou Restaurant: No.2, Lane 2, South Gate of Renmin Department Store.
Hope you like.
Asked by putri from INDONESIA | Feb. 17, 2016 00:35Reply
Please info Muslim restaurant in Suzhou (JiangSu) Gu Su District with affordable price.
Answers (3)
Answered by Bob from CANADA | Feb. 17, 2016 03:45

You may go to Hui Xiang Lou Muslim Restaurant near the south gate of People's Mall, Canglang District. Take metro line 1 to Leqiao Station, Exit 6. Then, walk east along East Ganjiang Road for about 150 yards, and turn left. After that, walk north along Shaomozhen Alley for about 300 yards to the restaurant. The food is quite delicious. Have a try! :)
Answered by putri from INDONESIA | Feb. 17, 2016 19:12

Thanks for info. How about Guanqian street? Any recommendation muslim food in there?
Answered by Bob | Feb. 17, 2016 19:49

Well, there is no muslim restaurant on the Guanqian Street. But the Hui Xiang Lou Muslim Restaurant is very close to the street. Just walk south along Shaomozhen Alley for about 200 yards, and you can find it. The food is quite delicious! :)
Asked by Otto from NORWAY | Jan. 20, 2015 18:04Reply
I am trying to find a chinese cooking classes or course or school here in Suzhou.
I am interested in learning chinese culinary in the afternoon or early evening. I have started to learn mandarin but still a new beginner at it. Now I want to improve my chinese knowledge in cooking.
I would preffer it in the SIP.
A Course would be best. I will be here until april so I have time. A long time teaching would be great.
Any suggestions?
Answers (2)
Answered by Andy from DENMARK | Jan. 21, 2015 01:16

I know several training schools, but all of them teaching in Chinese. Would you mind it?
1. SZ Culinary Training School: no. 4, Shanmen Lane, Pingjiang District.
2. SZ Tourism Finance Economics Training School: no. 101, Zhineng Avenue, Wuzhong District.
Answered by Otto from NORWAY | Jan. 21, 2015 05:24

Thank you Andy,
I will try to find them. Do you, by chance, have their phone number or web address?
I don't mind if it is in chinese as long as I can find out what the ingredients are, one way or another. Language is not a problem
Asked by Habib from SOUTH AFRICA | Jan. 19, 2015 07:30Reply
Any Indian Halal Restuarant in Jiangsu , Suzhou
Hi Can anyone recommend any halal (muslim) restaurant near Horward Johnstone All suites Hotel .

Kind Regards
Answers (1)
Answered by Justin from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 19, 2015 21:11

Oh, you must refer to Howard Johnson All Suites Hotel.
You can go to Namaste Indian Restaurant. It has authentic indian food and good service. The distance is about 0.5 miles. You can go and see.
The address is no.1912, Ligongdi Road, Industrial District.
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