Plan Suzhou (Jiangsu) food culture tour? Suzhou Dining introduces Suzhou Food and Restaurants including Suzhou Cuisine, Restaurants in Suzhou, Suzhou Snacks, What to Eat in Suzhou, Where to Eat in Suzhou, Suzhou Food Street.
What to Eat in Suzhou
People praise Suzhou, describing it as “Heaven on Earth”. It’s a place with beautiful landscapes and prominent historical figures. Suzhou not only has enchanting scenery, but also delicious food. Suzhou dishes are generally on the sweet side and there are many varieties. As one of the eight famous culinary art forms in China, “Jiangsu cuisine” is derived from local time-honored culinary skills and obtains its unique sweet flavor from a strict selection of local and seasonal ingredients.You should come to Suzhou even just to experience the amazingly rich variety of the Suzhou cuisine.
Must-try Suzhou Dishes
Squirrel-Shaped Mandarin Fish is the most famous, legendary both home and abroad. The Mandarin Fish is characterized by its lack of bones and the softness of its meat. The head of the fish, its mouth positioned wide open, and the tail bent upwards, gives the overall look of a squirrel. Crispy on the outside, moist and tender inside, the Squirrel-shaped Mandarin Fish is indeed a legendary dish in Jiangsu cuisine (江苏菜), which is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of China! Tradition has it that once stopping at the Crane House during his south Yangtze tour, Emperor Qian Long saw a carp frisking on the holy table and ordered it cooked for him.
Biluo Shelled Shrimps(碧螺虾仁)
Among the Suzhou cuisines, there are quite a lot made mainly with shrimps such as fried shrimp, brine shrimp and biluo shelled shrimp, etc., of which Biluo Shelled Shrimp is a famous traditional dish of Suzhou. Biluo refers to Biluochun Tea produced in the east & west hills of Dongting Lake. Seasoned with fresh Biluochun tea, the famous dish is made with shelled shrimps. Thus it possesses not only the freshness of shrimps but the fragrance of the famous tea.
Cracking Eel Paste(响油鳝糊)
Rice field eel is nutritious and can be prepared broiling, stir-frying or quick-boiling. Quick-boiled eel slivers, stir-fried eel slices and cracking eel paste are all Suzhou cuisines enjoying great popularity. The name of Cracking Eel Paste comes into existence because the oil in the dish still cracks after it is served. Therefore the making of Cracking Eel Paste needs not only skills but timely service, or it would be unworthy of the name if it makes no cracking served after the oil cools.
Yangcheng Lake Hairy Crab(阳澄湖大闸蟹)
While hairy crabs from the famous Yangcheng Lake northeast of Suzhou in Jiangsu province are still widely considered to be the best in China, some top chefs in Shanghai no longer view them as the indispensable ingredient for their autumn/winter menus. Every year the Yangcheng Lake hairy crab season begins in September with locals and tourists patiently waiting for the crab season to officially begin. Located three kilometers from Suzhou, Yangcheng Lake is home to the hairy crab. Each year an estimated 5 tons of crab are served up to customers until the winter months. Although the crabs are delicious it is advised that you eat with caution, according to Chinese Medicine the crab is categorized as a “cold” natured food. Too much “cold” food is not good for the body and it is advised that foods classified as “cold” should not be eaten together.
Su-style Pork Belly(东坡肉)
Su-style Pork Belly is a well-known dish from the Jiangsu & Zhejiang provinces. It is made half fat, and half lean pork belly meat. When you eat Suzhou pork belly, it instantly melts in your mouth, and with a taste of Shaoxing wine. According to the legend, this dish was created by Su Dongpo, an acclaimed writer from the Song Dynasty.
Taihu Three Whites(太湖三白)
Three whites refer to silverfish, whitefish and white shrimp in Taihu Lake. They are characteristic aquatic products in Taihu Lake area. These three products taste delicate and fresh and they have been a delicious dish on the table of Suzhou locals for a long time. With a thin shell and tiny feet, white shrimp is one of the "three treasures" in Taihu Lake. It is smaller than that of river or cocktail shrimp, and its body is like silver. The shrimp features a taste of fatness and tenderness. White shrimp soaked in wine is quite fresh and delicious. It could supply people’s body with vital essence and nutrition.
Watermelon chicken is a famous traditional seasonal dish, which is made with chicken and watermelon, a good kind of summer-heat clearing fruit. It is delicious, fragrant and nutritious. The main material of the dish is chicken. The making of it includes the jointing and heading of the chicken, the removing of its viscera, and the seasoning of water, ham and bamboo slices. It is to be braised with intense heat until the flesh is tender enough. Then to make a hole in the watermelon from where the pulp is to be emptied.
Must-try Snacks in Suzhou
Fried Steamed Bun(生煎馒头 )
The Fried Steamed Bun, referred to as fried baozi, is one of the traditional snacks in the South, mainly distributed in Shanghai, Suzhou and other places in Jiangnan(the regions south of the Yangtze River). Suzhou people used to call “bun” as “steamed bread”, and because the wrapper was made without fermentation, it was named after the fried steamed bun.
Sweet Porridge is a part of most people’s childhood memory in Suzhou. Made of glutinous rice, red beans, and sugar, the porridge is sweet and soft. Bean paste is mixed with rice.
Fried Meat Bun(油汆团子)
Only a small amount of yeast is used to make this bun. After steaming, the buns are fried in oil in order to make them taste better. The filling of the bun mostly consists of pork.
This style began more than a thousand years ago, and is known for its layers of flaky dough and generous allotment of sugar and lard. Within this regional type, there are more than a dozen variations. It is also smaller than most other regional varieties. Suzhou-style mooncakes feature both sweet and savory types, the latter served hot and usually filled with pork mince. Filling made from salt and pepper (椒盐) are common in flaky Suzhou-style mooncake.
Made simply with flour and sesame, toasted cakes play an important role in the breakfast of many Suzhou people. This type of cake is fulfilling and simple, and can be found everywhere in the city. It is flat, dry, and crunchy.
Green Rice Ball(青团)
Sweet green rice balls are a popular Qingming food in China's eastern provinces like Jiangsu and Zhejiang. They are made of a mixture of glutinous rice flour and green plant juice, and stuffed with sweetened bean paste. A green plant called mugwort, or "Ai Qing" in Chinese, is what brings the color to the delicacy. This time of year is when the plant has just jumped out of the earth and is at its finest.
Suzhou Small Wonton(苏州小馄饨)
Small wonton is a common delicacy in southern China water towns. They can be found in almost every household. The nearly translucent skin is as thin as crepe, revealing the pink meat stuffing inside. Served in the most commonly-seen ceramic soup bowl. Sprinkle some shreds of fresh green onion, garlic shoots, tender and yellow egg skin on the clear soup, or add some seaweed and dried small shrimps – the soup tastes fresh and delicious, leaving foodies asking for more.
More about Snacks in Suzhou
Where to Eat in Suzhou
- De Yue Lou(得月楼)
Add: No. 43 Taijian Lane, Pingjiang District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市平江区太监弄43号)
- Song He Lou(松鹤楼)
Add: No. 72 Taijian Lane, Gusu District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市姑苏区太监弄72号)
- Jiu Renjia Chishi(旧人家吃食)
Add: No. 2 Daliuzhi Alley, Gusu District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市姑苏区大柳枝巷2号)
- Guihuacha Restaurant(桂花茶酒楼)
Add: No. 55 Zhuhui Road, Gusu District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市姑苏区竹辉路55号)
Best Places to Eat Snacks in Suzhou
- Yaba Fried Steamed Bun(哑巴生煎)
Add: No. 12 Wenjiaan, Lindun Road, Gusu District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市姑苏区临顿路温家岸12号)
- Tongdexing Boutique Noodle Restaurant(同得兴精品面馆)
Add: No. 624 Shiquan Street, Gusu District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市姑苏区十全街624号)
- Jijiao Gala(鸡脚旮旯)
Add: No. 2 Zhuchang Alley, Pingjiang Road, Gusu District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市姑苏区平江路邾长巷2号)
- Lvyang Wonton(绿杨馄饨)
Add: No. 88 Bifengfang, Gusu District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市姑苏区碧凤坊88号)
- Huixianglou Halal Restaurant(回香楼清真餐厅)
Add: No. 21 of Lane 2, South Gate of Renmin Shopping Mall, Gusu District(姑苏区人民商场南大门2弄21号)
- Silk Road Food(丝绸之路美食)
Add: No. 578 Yangguang Xintiandi, Changban Road(长板路阳光新天地578号)
- Muslim Food Plaza(穆斯林美食城)
Add: No. 288 Weixing Street(渭星街288号)
- Sinkiang King of Barbecue(新疆烤肉王)
Add: No. 2 Nanmen Road, Yangshe Town, Zhangjiagang City, Suzhou City(苏州市张家港市杨舍镇南门路2号)
Hot Pot in Suzhou
- Panji Cangshu Mutton Old Restaurant(潘记藏书羊肉老店)
Add: No. 9 Shantang Street, Gusu District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市姑苏区山塘街9号)
- Chongqing Dezhuang Hot Pot(重庆德庄火锅)
Add: No. 555 Jiefang East Road, Gusu District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市姑苏区解放东路555号)
- Yurongfu Hot Pot(御荣府火锅)
Add: No. 68 Furenfang Road, Guanqian Street, Gusu District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市姑苏区观前街富仁坊路68号)
- Detian Feiniu Seafood Hot Pot(德天肥牛海鲜火锅)
Add: 3F of Huafu Building, No. 76 Shishan Road, Huqiu District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省苏州市虎丘区狮山路76号华福大厦3F)
Famous Food Streets in Suzhou
The Taijian Alley is the first place where you can find the delicious food. Many of Suzhou's most famous restaurants are concentrated here. Fenghuang Street and Shiquan Street are connected in a vertical and horizontal direction, especially the Master of the Nets Garden. It is very close to Shiquan Street. It is a 200-meter lane in Quanqian Street. Tiajian alley in the past time was famous for a place where eunuchs of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) congregated. Nowadays Taijian Alley becomes into a famous gourmet (food) street in Suzhou.
Shiquan Street is located in the hotel area in the old downtown of Suzhou. There strew many Ming and Qing Dynasties style architectures including characteristic restaurants and craftwork shops, such as tea house featured culture and catering of Wu, Japanese Restaurant, Korean barbecue, Cantonese dish, etc., which are scramble for by both home and oversea travelers. Famous craftworks like Suzhou Embroidery, chinaware antique, calligraphy and painting, chinaware, silk, inscriptions, jade, rosewood articles can be found here.
Suzhou Shantang Street has a long history of development and is a very prosperous place. There are many businesses and shops on this street. It is very lively. Many old and famous buildings are also on this street, such as De Yue Lou, Song He Lou, at the same time, is also a well-known night market street in Suzhou, not only a variety of local Suzhou cuisine, but also some foreign cuisine.
Guanqian Street is located in Suzhou city center, an area covering 0.52 square kilometers, the commercial part of the city. There are many features of the street, including the famous century-old shops such as Huangtianyuan, Sanwanchang, Caizhizhai and so on, which gain an international reputation. It is precisely the existence of these century-old shops that make the Guanqian Street not only become a typical commercial street, but also illustrate the culture of Suzhou. Tourists at home and broad are attracted by these century-old shops because there is variety of Jiangnan dishes available in those century-old shops. Meanwhile, some of the shops have a long history of more than 100 years, which gives the tourists deep impressions and many of the tourists visiting Guanqian street just come to enjoy the delicious food.
With a history of over 2,500 years, Pingjiang Road was once the main road of the ancient east Suzhou city. This road can be seen on the map of Suzhou in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).The government has protected and reconstructed the old buildings and alleys in accordance with their previous appearances and the “water flowing along the roads and alleys” structure.
Suzhou Xizhongshi Street(苏州西中市)
Xizhongshi, Suzhou, is by far the only well-preserved old street of the Republic of China in Suzhou. It was an extremely rich and wealthy place 600 years ago. In this street, countless foods and snacks are hidden. Although many people are exhausted all the way, they are excited to come to this street to taste the characteristic gourmet snacks.
Fenghuang street is a mile-long ancient street in Suzhou’s old town. There you will find a wide array of bars, bakeries, clothing shops, museums, and traditional Chinese restaurants. Dining on Fenghuang Street is a must when visiting Suzhou. We love eating at Xiehe’s traditional Suzhou Restaurant, snacking on Xishengyuan’s steam dumplings, or slurping up Tongdexing’s soup noodles.
Xindu Square Food Street(馨都广场美食街)
It specializes in all kinds of exotic cuisines. Although this street is only 100 meters long, diners can enjoy different tastes and various types of snacks from all over the world. Customers who come to spend here also come from all over the world. Every lunchtime, dozens of restaurants are crowded with diners speaking various languages inside and outside.
More about Restaurants in Suzhou
Suzhou Dining by Region
- Gusu District
- Huqiu District
- Wuzhong District
- Xiangcheng District
- Wujiang District
- Changshu City
- Taicang City
Jiangshu Dining by Region