Editor's words----Having experienced thousands of winters and summers, Suzhou food culture has finally formed its unique characteristics, renowned for the strict selection of row materials and specialized tastes. It is said that the major tastes of Chinese food are sour, spicy, salty and sweet, while Suzhou cuisine is famous for its sweet taste. Travelers can sense sweet everywhere in Suzhou, from small snack bars to big restaurants.
Thanks to its warm climate, Suzhou has abundant food resources such as candies, candied fruits, pastry and dumplings, roasted seeds and nuts, soy sauce pickles etc., leading to an honored title "Suzhou-the hometown of yummy delicacies".
What to eat in Suzhou
Squirrel-shaped Mandarin Fish or Sweet and Sour Mandarin Fish
Squirrel-shaped mandarin fish is a representative dish of Suzhou Cuisine, which has won great reputation home and abroad. With brilliant outlook, intolerable aroma as well as wonderful taste, it has attracted both the ancients and the modern men. Allegedly, as early as Qing Dynasty, Emperor Qianlong travelled by way of Suzhou and tasted this dish, releasing his honored praise and compliment. Words are too plain to articulate how tasty, come and try it by yourself!
Jiasohuazi (beggar's ) chicken
About this famous Jiaohuazi(beggar's) chicken, there appears a lot of legends and stories, of which this one is most widely-known. A long time ago, a beggar passed a small village of Changshu, Suzhou
. One day, he got a chicken and wanted to cook it for dinner. However, with no kitchen wares or any flavoring, it seemed to be impossible to cook it. Finally, the beggar arrived at the foot of Yushan Hill and killed the chicken with the intestines eviscerated and mud and weeds covered before putting it over the fire. When cooked, he stripped the mud and weeds and enjoyed the savory chicken meat.
Tips: when enjoy the delicious Jiaohuazi(beggar's) chicken, one can add some sesame oil together with sweet soybean paste and raw scallion, which could make the taste even better. Do remember to eat when it is hot.
Sweet dried bean curd
Sweet dried bean curd is a typical Suzhou snack, tasting juicy and sweet. Both local citizens and overseas travelers are fond of its unique taste. If you want to bring some local specialties home, this one must be included on your list.
Editor's words----To be honest, sweet dried bean curd is one of my favorite snacks. Every time I went to Suzhou, I would buy a lot to enjoy. So if you really want to taste all the delicious Suzhou cuisine, this one cannot be missed.
Pinenut Candy, also known as nut bonbons, is made of pine nut kernels, sugar, sesame and liquid glucose. With sweet taste and intolerable aroma, it has won great popularity around South of China.
Editor's Words----One thing I should remind you guys is that eating too much candies will cause many dental problems, spoiling your beautiful teeth. I know the result, believe me!
Where to eat in Suzhou
In Suzhou, several food streets are avaliable where you can enjoy most yummy local delicacies as well as exotic cuisines.
When it comes to the food streets in Suzhou, Taijian Lane is a must-visit place. Here gathers a lot of renowned restaurants such as "Songhe Lou"(松鹤楼), "Deyue Lou"(得月楼), "Wangsi Restaurant"(王四酒家), "Lao Zhenxing"(老振兴) etc. "Songhe Lou" was firstly set up by Emperor Qianlong with squirrel-shaped mandarin fish to be its recommended dish. In front of "Songhe Lou", there appears another well-known restaurant "Deyue Lou", which is famous for its Cherries meat and Lung soup. Another two specialized restaurants "Wangsi Restaurant" and "Lao Zhenxing", mainly selling Suzhou typical cuisine, should be tried as well. After fulfilling your stomach in Taijian Lane, you will reach another food street just beside it-Guanqian Walk Street(观前街).
Guanqian Walk Street
Guanqian Walk Street is situated in the downtown area of Suzhou, where one can sense both the deep-rooted culture and the modern ideas. Generally speaking, it is a street full of snack bars like "Huangtianyuan"(黄天源), "Caizhizha"(采芝斋), "Daoxiangcun"(稻香村), "Yeshouhe"(叶受和) and so on. "Huangtianyuan"-a specialty store is the heaven for sweet food lovers, because one can find featured Suzhou pastry which could hardly appear elsewhere. Moreover, another store that needs mentioning-"Yeshouhe", as it was set up just after the foundation of New China. With a high-quality and a comparatively low price, it is loved by most local citizens. The recommended snacks here are peanut candies, fruit candies, crisp candies as well as all sorts of preserves(蜜饯), which are the best gift for your family and friends.
Phoenix(凤凰feng huang) Street
Phoenix Street is another reputable food street with Chengqiao Bridge to its south and Fuqiao Bridge to the north. Since the first restaurant-Tongtianfu Restaurant was a huge success there, hundreds of restaurants, big or small, come one after another to bring the Fenghuang Street an all-round prosperity and vitality. Some most famous ones will be introduced in the following Featured Restaurant part.
Because of the development in Suzhou, a lot of Japanese corporations have settled, bringing in not only business opportunities, but also exotic dainty cuisines.
Japanese Cuisine Restaurant-Zhaori House(朝日屋)
After the settlement in Suzhou New District, Zhaori House extends its sphere to Guanqian Street. For a long time, it is distinguished for its raw mateials, exported secretly prescribed flavourings as well as the excellent taste. With traditional Japanese decoration, people dining here can feel as if they were eating in a Japanese family. Zhaori House also serves customers in various ways such as self-service, set meals etc., filling all the requirements of customers.
Address: at the conjunction of Shaomozhen Alley, Guanqian Street and Jitian Alley观前街邵磨针巷与吉由巷路口
Tel: 0512-65811578, 0512-65811078
Address:NO.18, Commercial Street, Suzhou New District 新区商业街18号
Tel: 0512-68094339, 0512-68258798
Japanese Cuisine Restaurant-TAKIGAWA Taste(味乃滝川)
Stepping into TAKIGAWA Taste, one can totally sense the typical Japanese savor. The warm service and super yummy taste are the two major shining points of the restaurant.
Recommended dishes: Steamed Eggs(super dilicious, a must-try dish), Copfish, Sushi.
Per person consumption: 100-150 RMB
Address: NO.528, Xinghai Street.星海街528号
Editor's words----Editor here will offer you some tips when dining in a Japanese restaurant. Everyone knows that cushion will be offered instead of chairs, thus one should choose a comfortable way to sit. Otherwise, you will be exhausted when finish the meal. If you have a weak stomach, do not eat too much sashimi, as it will cause diarrhea.
Address: NO.198, Shantang Street(near Guangji Road).山塘街198号(近广济路)
How to get there: take bus NO.921, 800, 7, 50, 36, 324 and 318.
Address: on Yingchun Road, near Sothern Bus Terminal 迎春路汽车南站
How to get there: take bus NO.933, 900, 811, 66, 63, 60 and 52.
Yiwen Zhiwei Pickle Fish Restaurant一文知味酸菜鱼馆
Recommended dish: Pickle Fish
Address: NO.99, Fenghuang Street