Jim, I just caught your report.
The differences that you're seeing between Hangzhou cuisine and what you've experienced as Shanghai food, may be more a function of banquet food versus home-style or street snacks served by restaurants here. High-toned Shanghai cuisine restaurants in Hong Kong and Taipei offer a more refined repetoire.
From your description of lily bulbs as chunky and reminescent of chestnuts, I'm wondering whether these might be fresh lotus roots. I noticed these were available in NY Chinatown markets when I visited last month. These are the tuberous roots of Asian water lilies. The freshest ones cooked ever so slightly will be crunchy, and become chewier and more starchy when older and cooked more thoroughly.
The rice dessert sounds like what's often called 8 treasures rice. It should have some chunks of firm almost crunchy ham fat in it.
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