Xuzhou is also called 'Pengcheng' because over 4,000 years ago, Pengzu, the father of Chinese cuisine, once lived there. At the same time, as the second political center of the Han Dynasty (260BC-220), the city was greatly influenced by the Han culture. The profound cultures epitomize the city's particular dinning customs. Nearly every dish has a legend or a historic story linked to it.
Famous Traditional Dishes
Yang Fang Cang Yu (Fish Stewed in Mutton)
This dish originated over 4,000 years ago, and is honored to be the first kind of food although improved by chefs in every following dynasty. The chefs usually cut open the belly of a sheep; put fish in it, add various seasonings and stew them together. The dish is not only tasty but also nourishing. Legend has it that the son of Pengzu liked fishing very much. But Pengzu didn't allow him to fish in case he fell in and drowned. One day, he stealthily went to fish without his father's knowledge. When he returned he asked his mother to put the fish into the belly of the mutton to be boiled in order that his father would not discover it. Unluckily, Pengzu discovered this secret but he felt the dish was so fresh and delicious that he decided to improve it. Gradually, the dish became popular among the local people and still remains so.
Bawang Bie Ji
This is a special dish connected with a moving story in Chinese history. Bawang means overlord that refers to a hero named Xiang Yu (232BC-202BC), who once fought for the throne with Liu Bang. Ji refers to his wife Yu Ji who kept accompanying him during all the wars. Bie just means to depart. When Xiang Yu was defeated by Liu Bang in Xuzhou, Yu Ji killed herself in order not to witness her husband's miserable situation. Xiang Yu was so sad about his wife's death that he also killed himself. This moving story is widely known among the Chinese and this dish is created by Xuzhou people to commemorate them. The dish is made by steaming turtle and chicken in a pottery pot with fresh soup, wine, shallots, hams, mushrooms and other ingredients. It is famous for the crisp meat, mellow and fresh soup as well as its novel appearance.
Dongpo Hui Zeng Rou (Meat given back to the citizens by Dongpo)
Hearing the name, you may guess that this dish also has an interesting story. Dongpo refers to Su Shi (1037-1101), a famous literate in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). When he was the official of Xuzhou, storms and flood disasters occurred. Regardless of his own safety, Dongpo personally led his people to fight against the disasters bravely and they eventually succeeded. To express their appreciation to Dongpo, people gave lots of meat to their official as presents. Dongpo accepted the meat but he ordered his chefs to cook it and then gave it back to his people, hence the name of the dish. Now, the method of cooking the dish has been well developed. The chefs usually select the meat from the ribs of streaky pork; cut it into big pieces and then stew it with many seasonings in fresh soup. The cooked meat tastes crisp and full-bodied, leaving your palate with wonderful flavors.
Xuzhou Hotel: No.201 East Huaihai Road
Pengcheng Restaurant: No.40 East Huaihai Road
Representative Local Snacks
Sha Soup was granted as 'the First Soup under the Heaven' by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is said to be created by Pengzu with the original name of Pheasant Soup. It is made by boiling pheasant meat, pigs' bones and pork together with shallots, gingers and other seasonings and cooked in a low oven. The soup is often eaten together with some thin cakes and this has become one of the most popular breakfasts for Xuzhou people.
Mashi Jie Sha Soup: No.7 Suyuan Community, South Jiefang Road
La Tang (Pepper Soup) is another peculiar snack that you can only find in Xuzhou. The condensed soup is a mixture of gluten and chicken soup. When the mixture is boiled, put some stewed chicken that has been cut into shreds as well as some other ingredients like gingers, shallots and pepper powder. You may certainly be surprised at its strange but delicious taste.
Liang Feng Lai Restaurant:
No.266 South Minzhu Road
No. 12 Daqing Road
No.38 Dongyuan Commercial Street, East Sanhuan Road
No.14 Dibei Road
In fact, there are many other snacks also popular among both the local people and the tourists, such as Diguo, Zhuangmo, Laomo and Wowo. If you want to know what they are, why not go there to have a taste yourself? You can go to the South Jiefang Road or the South Fuxing Road that are the two famous streets in Xuzhou providing delicious food.
Restaurant for Vegetarians:
Western Fast Food Restaurants:
No.1 South Zhongshan Road
No.252 West Huaihai Road
McDonald's: No.12 - 16 West Huaihai Road
UBC Coffee: No.93 Pengcheng Road
No.80 South Zhongshan Road
No.146 East Huaihai Road
BBS Coffee: No.45 South Zhongshan Road