Compared to bigger cities like Nanjing and Suzhou, foods in Huai’an is much less diversified, but still some local and exotic restaurants are worth trying.
When I came back to Huai’an after about four years, I was very eager to go back to some eateries I favored. But unfortunately, some are nowhere to find now.
One of my favorites is a sliced noodles restaurant opened by a family from Shaanxi province, which was named “Shaanxi Sliced Noodles Restaurant”. Providing sliced noodles at prices of only 6 to 8 yuan, the eatery enjoyed full house every night.
Its classical dishes are sliced noodle with minced meat and sliced noodle with beef.
The location of the noodles restaurant is now occupied by a hospital, and as the name of this restaurant cannot be found on the electronic map, it has surely disappeared.
Good news is my another favorite noodles restaurant in Huai’an is still there, and is now even bigger and better – Changchun Noodles Restaurant.
This noodles restaurant is a typical one offering Huai’an local noodles, which is fantastic but nowhere else to find – strange but true.
I’m a fan of various noodles, and I know a lot of great noodles restaurants in Nanjing, but not one providing such noodles cooked in Huai’an way, which is not a bit inferior to the other kinds of noodles.
Anyhow, when I went back to Changchun Noodles Restaurant recently, its original staff was basically still there, and the decoration is now much better, prices basically unchanged, and is still full of people.
This time when I came back to Huai’an, I tried more bigger restaurants – ones that provides dishes other than snacks like noodles, but the results are not very satisfactory so far.
One example is Bensu Suancaiyu Restaurant, “Suancaiyu” literally means “Fish with pickled cabbage”, a popular dish of Sichuan cuisine. Instead of offering cheaper black carp, this popular restaurant provides snakehead fish, but I don’t think they make it better than black carp ones in Nanjing; however, their dish is to my wife’s appetite, she said it’s the best Suancaiyu she ever ate.
Another example is a Xiebao restaurant – a chain “crab in casserole” restaurant in Huai’an. Their specialty crab in casserole sounds very tasteful, but proves to be just a gimmick. The crabs in a casserole are just spicier than steamed crabs – the traditional way of cooking crabs, but are much less delicious. However, my friend didn’t agree with me, he said that’s because I missed the first step – fried crabs, which are better than crabs in a casserole. So maybe I need to try the restaurant some other time again to make a more faithful judgment.
The third example is a seem-to-be-popular fish restaurant at Hongze county. Hongze county is famous for its fishes, as the county is beside Hongze Lake – one of the biggest fresh water lakes in China.
This “WS” restaurant is located in a popular food area besides Hongze aquatic product wholesale market, and the reason we went there was that it ranked the 2nd among all restaurants at Hongze in November, according to a popular map app – that makes it the 1st among all the fish restaurants, and we’d like to have some Live Fish with Fried Dumplings, which is its specialty.
But later I found this specialty was worse than what we ate years ago, they were obviously over fried and contained too much oil. And its fishes are not even better than those we cook at home.
In spite of the above more or less disappointing restaurants, an unknow restaurant downstairs of my home is ironically good, although it’s often empty due to solitary location. However, it has been open for nearly ten years. Given its dull business, it’s impossible to sustain such a restaurant in any big cities, but it absolutely happens in Huai’an, a city with lower housing price.
Huai’an has a lot of restaurants, I believe there are more fantastic ones to be found, but just as indicated above, some popular ones don’t have to be good, people may just go there for some gimmick. And I’ll update places to eat in Huai’an by writing more articles here.