Notable Hangzhou Dishes

There are several dishes that visitors won't want to miss, they are West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy, Dongpo Pork, Beggar's Chicken and Fried Shrimps with Long Jing Tea Leaves. They are the representation of Hangzhou cuisine.

 West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy (Xi Hu Cu Yu)
 West Lake Fish in Vinegar GravyWest Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy is a traditional dish of this city, it is said that it is originated from Song's younger brother and wife.
Song and his younger brother are pretty knowledgeable, they lived a secluded life away from society. However, one day the villain Zhao met Song's wife and was attracted by her beauty. He killed Song by intrigues when he knew that the beauty was Song's wife. Song's wife and his younger brother were very indignant and they accused Zhao of committing crimes. But the local authorities were on the side of the villain, they were failed and swept out of the government. After getting home, Song's wife ordered the younger brother to escape from Hangzhou in case of reprisals. Before Song's brother gone, his sister in law made him a dish that is made of fish with sugar and vinegar. Song's brother was surprised and asked why the fish was cooked so strangely. His sister in law said: you will taste sweet and sour in this dish, I want you to remember how your brother died and remember to pay the revenge years later. The younger brother was deeply moved and he left home with his sister in law's request.

Several years later, Song's younger brother became an authority and put the villain to law. However, his sister in law was hidden and he couldn't find her. One day, the younger brother attended a banquet and he ate a dish that has the same taste as the one his sister in law had made. He asked the host and found that it was his sister in law who had become a maid to escape from reprisal. The younger brother was very happy and he resigned his title and lived a secluded life again at the lakeside with his sister in law.

West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy is a famous dish with traditional flavor. It is cooked with live grass carp. The fish needs to be put in a tank to starve it for two or three days, to let go the trash in its bowels and the smell of soil. The fire need to be strictly controlled when cooking it. In the 1950s, the best West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy was at Lou Wai Lou, Prime Minister Zhou has come here several times with foreign friends.
Best West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy Restaurants in the city are Lou Wai Lou, Zhi Wei Guan, Huang Fan Er and Wai Po Jia.

Braised Dongpo Pork Braised Dongpo Pork (Dong Po Rou)
It is said that Braised Dong Po Pork was first made by the great litterateur Su Dongpo (Su Shi), he helped people in the flood in Xuzhou when he was the governor. In order to thank him, citizens send him plentiful pork when knowing that he was fond of that. Su Dongpo accepted the gifts and cooked them in his special way. He sent the cooked pork to the citizens, they were deeply moved by Su Dongpo. This tasty dish was then called Braised Dong Po Pork.
Braised Dong Po Pork Restaurants are Lou Wai Lou, Zhi Wei Guan, Huang Fan Er and Wai Po Jia.

 Beggar's Chicken (an entire chicken cooked in a ball of clay) - Jiao Hua Ji
It is said that this dish was first made by a beggar. One day, the beggar got a chicken but he couldn't cook it since he had neither cooking equipment nor seasonings. Finally he wrapped the chicken in clay and baked it. To his surprise, the chicken was very tasty with his cooking method. A restaurant heard this and made some improvement to this dish, the dish was thus named. Several hundred years have passed, the cooking process was well developed and this dish has then become one of the most famous local cuisines.
Beggar's Chicken Restaurants are Lou Wai Lou, Zhi Wei Guan and Tian Wai Tian.

 Fried Shrimps with Long Jing Tea Leaves (Long Jing Xia Ren)
Fried Shrimps with Long Jing Tea LeavesThis dish originated from the Imperial Palace. It is said that Emperor Qian Long got some best Long Jing tea when he was on the royal visit. He brought the tea back to the Palace and the imperial cook made a dish with Long Jing tea and shrimps. When tasting the dish, Emperor Qian Long was very happy and he rewarded the cook. Later, there was a dish called Fried Shrimps with Long Jing Tea Leaves in Hangzhou Tian Wai Tian Restaurant. The dish is fragrant with both smell of Long Jing tea and shrimps, it had been one of the best local cuisines from then on. 
Best Fried Shrimps with Long Jing Tea Leaves Restaurants are Lou Wai Lou, Tian Wai Tian, Shan Wai Shan and Huang Fan Er.

- Last updated on Apr. 16, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on Notable Hangzhou Dishes
Asked by mohamed from EGYPT | Mar. 12, 2019 14:56Reply
Is there any Islamic restaurant food in Hangzhou?
Answers (1)
Answered by Indie from CANADA | Mar. 13, 2019 01:05

There are many Islamic restaurants in the city. I know some, such as Qingyazhai Restaurant, Xibei Renjia Restaurant. :)
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