Friday, January 27, 2012

Winter in China: Food in Harbin


Similar Beijing, there's a TON of food to try in Harbin. However, we did leave Harbin somewhat disappointed with the food quality. Most of the food here was even oilier and saltier than the food in Beijing.

Cotton Candy
There are multiple food courts in the shopping malls around town and the food courts would be the easiest way to sample a multitude of choices. I personally liked the food court at the "new 100" shopping mall. I enjoyed the meat wrapped pancakes and wok fried Sichuan style dish where you can choose the meats and vege to be wok fried similar to a Mongolian style grill. There's also a pretty good dessert stall where I liked the red-bean yogurt dessert. Yum..

Wok Fried Si-Chuan

Read Bean and Yogurt

Another must try while in Harbin especially in the winter is hot pot. Hot pot is a good way to spend time with family while everyone cooks their food together in a common pot filled with a hearty stock broth. A first for me was a "double-decker" hot pot where you can choose two different stock broths.

The double decker

An unexpected surprise were the dumplings at the Orient King of Dumplings. We found 2 branches in Harbin - one behind the Ibis that we stayed in and one in the main shopping ZhouYang street. We walked in for breakfast during one of the mornings and they had one of the best dumplings we ever had. There's a ton of dumpling choices including meat, vege or seafood and most of them had silky smooth skin and were juicy on the inside. Needless to say, we returned for a second time and must have consumed more than a hundred dumplings between the 6 of us during this two visits. (Sorry! Didn't have our cameras during the visits and don't have pictures).

There are also many Russian restaurants in Harbin thanks to the relatively large Russian population who have settled in Harbin. We tried Hua Mei located on Zhou Yang street. The deco reminded me of a classic restaurant from the seventies. We ordered plenty of meat including several cold cuts and barbequed meat. We also had to try their Borscht soup and their baked fish in cream sauce specialty. Overall, the food was mediocre at best and was definitely not authentic Russian. After tasting real Russian food in Moscow and Kazakhstan, the food served in Hua Mei seem to be tuned to the local Chinese palate.

Baked Fish

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