Recognized as one of the eight major schools of cuisine in China, Hangzhou food is characterized by its light flavors, enjoyable presentation and delicate cooking methods. Hangzhou cuisine makes crisp, tender, light and fresh dishes. The most famous dishes include West Lake Fish in Sweet and Sour Sauce, Shelled Shrimp with Dragon Well Tea, West Lake Water Shield Soup and Dongpo Pork.
Shelled Shrimp with Dragon Well Tea 龙井虾仁
This dish is prepared with shelled fresh water shrimps and the well-known Dragon Well (Longjing) green tea leaves. It is beautiful in color and has a special taste.
It is cooked by braising thin pieces of fat streaky bacon with famous Shaoxing wine in a sealed pot. When the dish is ready, the pork will be moist and red, and the sauce will be thick and tasty. It tastes savory, sweet and full of body, but not greasy.
Deep-fried Bean Curd Rolls Stuffed with Minced Tenderloin 炸春卷
Bean curd rolls are cut into small segments, then deep fried. The bean curd rolls are golden and taste crispy with a faint scent of soybean.
Qing Tuan 青团
Qing Tuan (The sweet green rice ball) is a must-have offering in spring times. The custom of making sweet green rice balls dates back to the Zhou Dynasty over 2,000 years ago. One or two days before the Qingming Festival were designated as “cold food days”, during which hot cooking is banned. Sweet green rice balls are jade-green in color, glutinous in taste and sweet in aroma. What’s best about the snack is its sweet-but-not-cloying and fatty-but-not-greasy taste.
Jiaohua Chicken 叫花鸡
The chicken is stuffed with fried pork and wrapped with lotus leaves. It is soaked in Shaoxing wine and coated with a layer of mud. When the mud is baked dry, it cracks and the clay is broken off and removed. This dish is tender, fresh, juicy, crisp, tasty and full of the fragrance of lotus.
West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy 西湖醋鱼
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 needs 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.
Victory Cake 定胜糕
Dingsheng Gao, originated from Song Dynasty, has been endeared by Hangzhou citizens. Such cake is made with delicate and steady glutinous rice flour as its cover, and bean paste filling with some white sugar and osmanthus flours as its stuffing. It is in pink indicating victory.
The taste of Victory Cake is fragrantly and deliciously glutinous, sweet but not greasy. What’s more, it is very cheap with only one Yuan for a part. It is widely accepted to be special snack of good quality products at good values. The cake is formed in lobed shape, pink color, delicate moisture, waxy and sticky crunchiness, very sweet and delicious taste. It can be seen everywhere in Jiangnan Area. Not only for its delicious taste, is the Victory Cake also loved by the public for its symbolization of “victory”. It has become an ideal festival season gift around Jiangnan Area.
Longjing tea 龙井茶
Longjing tea, sometimes called by its literal translated name Dragon Well tea, is a variety of pan-roasted green tea from the area of Longjing Village near Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, China. It is produced mostly by hand and renowned for its high quality, earning it the China Famous Tea title.