Restaurants & Bars

East China Notes

Michael Rodriguez | Nov 24, 2005 08:09 AM

My wife and I recently returned from a few weeks of eating in east China. Here are some notes:

In Guangzhou: Don’t miss dim sum at Panxi. Don’t miss their exemplary tea service. Don’t miss walking around the Li Wan Hu park after eating. On Shamian island Lan Gui Fang, near the tennis courts, serves terrific pigeon dishes. I didn’t try the frog dishes served in green frog-shaped casseroles. I’d love to hear about them.

In Hong Kong: Yong Kee (Wellington Street) serves excellent roast goose in the Cantonese roast meat tradition. Nan Xiao Guo (several locations; I visited the place on Pottinger Street) presents wonderful Shanghainese dishes. Maxim (in the old City Hall Building) is very good both for dim sum in the morning and dinner. And the room has great views of the harbor.

Gulangyu (across the water from Shamen) offers marvelous fresh seafood places. Point and eat. We loved a dish of octopus and green peppers.

In Quanzhou we had several excellent meals at the dining room in the Quanzhou hotel. Architecturally it’s a disaster; gastronomically it can’t be beat. Asking for a non-smoking area got us private rooms every time. Great for Tom Jones style seduction scenes, but only after eating.

In Wenzhou we found a style of dining new to us. Restaurants there (we visited several) have no menus. Instead after being seated one visits an area near the kitchen where all the food available that day is on display. (Some restaurants also have a selection of cold dishes for viewing, too.) Discussion follows and then the food. We were treated very generously at Wuma Meishilin—they were closed after lunch but saw we were hungry so opened up the kitchen and fed us. (I love China.) There are three branches of this place. We tried two and enjoyed them both. The operation at 0577-88259858 is up scale, with French wine, table cloths, etc. Great food. Has anyone found this service in the US?

Hotel dining rooms are usually very good in China—at least, that’s been our experience. An example is the dining room in Fuzhou at Hubin Binguan,, just across the street from West Lake. For breakfast the soup noodles with baby oysters are inimitable. They gave us a very good dish of Dong Po Rou (belly pork poached or steamed for so long the fat turns onto jelly) at dinner.

I don’t think one can eat a bad meal in China.

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