Tuesday, May 11, 2010

If it's just a day in Hangzhou

It's not a If for me..I really did only allocated a day in Hangzhou when I was in China early this year. But when I reached Hangzhou, I regretted my decision....Hangzhou definitely needed more than a day, with it's breathtaking scenery and fantastic food.
And with only a day in Hangzhou, I've only got 2 main meals to spare :(..so I had to seek the more popular and raved about eateries in Hangzhou.
In between exploring the humongous Linyin Temple, to the majestic Feiyang Pagoda, the tranquil Westlake and the boisterous QingHefang street reminiscence of streets during the Song Dynasty, I had to ensure I had time to enjoy my meals too :p
After googling and reading reviews, I decided to try Grandma's Kitchen and Lou Wai Lou in Hangzhou.
We decided to have lunch at Grandma's Kitchen..Although we reached really late for lunch (after 2pm), it was still a crowd and everything smells so good (ok, I was darn hungry).
Everything looked delicious and we finally settled for 4 dishes.
Since Dong Po pork originated from Hangzhou, that was an obvious choice.
Grandma kitchen's version was amazingly scrumptious. This, to me, was the best dongpo pork I've ever tasted. We got individual servings, each square of pork was cooked to perfection- the top skin was springy, the mid fat was melting while the meat held it's shape but once we bit into it, the meat breaks and blends with the fat. The sauce was unforgettable too, different from Msia's version, the heady chinese wine mixed with the fatty gelatin left me craving for more.

Since Hangzhou is very near to Longjin, we decided to try the chicken cooked in Longjin tealeaves..Although the chicken looked dry, it was actually extremely succulent. The texture as somewhat like salt baked chicken, except that it's not salty, but had light flavours of longjin tea and herbs. The skin was crisps and thin. A tasty dish, but it was very oily at the base of the claypot.

Fresh doumiao to balance all the meat that we had..Nice and sweet.

The lotus stuffed with glutinous rice was a sweet dish that used to be a royalty dish..

We thought this looked really pretty, the soft steamed lotus roots drenched with osmanthus syrup. Too sweet for my liking.

The table next to ours had this dessert/ cake that looked interesting, so we ordered too.

It's green tea yam cake and it was delectable. The sesame seeds were deep fried until crackling and emanated such lovely aroma that paired perfectly with the slightly sweetish yam paste.

For dinner, we went to Lou Wai Lou, the oldest restaurant in Hangzhou. Overlooking the Westlake, this was a grand restaurant where, well, most local businessmen brings their guest to impress and tourists throngs in by the dozen. Though it was crowded, we could still walk in without making prior reservations.It was rather tough to order mains here as the portion was large and there's only 2 of us..

Tried some cold dishes- smoked fish and smoked duck..

Both was quite tasty- the meat was real cold and solid- so i like to slowly nibble and let the flavour seep in. WF didnt like the smoked fish though.

We were told to try the fish soup..And so we did. Almost like sharksfins soup, the broth was thick, brimmed with fish slices and slightly vinegary. Definitely whets the appetite.
Again, we tried Dongpo pork..Lou Wai Lou's version was good too. Nice tender pork with melting fat.But I still preferred Grandma's as they won my heart with that beautiful sauce. Lou Wai Lou however, does vacuum packed their dongpo pork and we can buy back to Msia. Very touristy but convenient.

We could only fit in one main dish and decided to try the westlake fish with vinegar sauce..

Looks unappetising and I didnt like this dish at all. The vinegar sauce was too strong, overpowering the fish flavours. And since this was a fresh water fish, some parts very rather 'muddy' in taste. We could not finish this at all.

Though Grandma's Kitchen was just a simple restaurant and didnt have a rich history compared to Lou Wai Lou, I preferred the food in Grandma's. Think LWL is overrated.

Grandma's Kitchen is located at Macheng Road, Hangzhou. They have a few branches in Hangzhou.

Lou Wai Lou is located at 30, Gushan Road, Hangzhou.

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Blogger minchow said...

Dong Po pork!! Luscious! Since I'm not going to be making my way to Hangzhou anytime soon, any tip on where I can get the next best thing?

12 May, 2010  
Blogger J said...

Evil. Hang zhou is so far away and I want to eat that dong po pork now. :*(

12 May, 2010  
Blogger "Joe" who is constantly craving said...

thats alot of pork in a day..phew..

12 May, 2010  
Blogger mimid3vils said...

The gravy for the fish was too starchy huh...

12 May, 2010  
Blogger sc said...

minchow: it's really good..sigh..i miss it. i cant think of any place that serves good DP pork here though..readers, any recommendations?

J: hehehe.. plan a trip to Hangzhou and eat all the DP pork you can there! i do plan to revisit, the place's nice :)

Joe: you, lotsa lotsa pork for a day. yum yum yum!

mimid3vils: grossly overly starchy and so sour (from the vinegar)..not my cuppa tea for sure.

12 May, 2010  
Blogger FoOd PaRaDiSe said...

I have tried Grandma's kitchen too! And the one I try is in Wuxi. The interior decor is very nice. And price wise is cheap too! We try the green tea cake. And loves it very much. The dongpo pork. Still can remember the tastes.... so yummy!

14 May, 2010  
Anonymous jason said...

Now I know where to eat if I go to Hangzhou. The Dongpo pork looks absolutely scrumptious!

20 May, 2010  

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