There is no shortage of Asian cuisine in Hangzhou. That much is obvious. However, not all of us want to eat Chinese food day in, day out. Maybe the tell-tale signs of homesickness for Western comfort food are creeping in, maybe you’re like me and have a particular food allergy; mine is MSG– rather debilitating given that it’s in everything, but that didn’t stop me coming to China! Whatever your reason, it’s difficult to know where to go to satisfy that craving, especially if you’re new in town.
When we say “Western food” it conjures up stereotypical images of cheeseburgers and fries, greasy food and pizza, yet there is more to it than that - cuisines such as Mexican, Indian and Arabic are to be found here, proving that Hangzhou is a diverse and culturally inviting city with a lot to offer the discerning foreigner who knows where to go.
So without further ado, let’s look at the restaurants that can sate our urges for something that little bit different:
Photo: Jakob Montrasio
1) M2-Tiba CaféView In Map
This hidden gem that recently re-opened in a new location, serves a variety of Arabic dishes and makes it to number one on my list simply because the food is mouth-wateringly delicious!
I was heartbroken when it closed last July and have been pining for some decent grub ever since (for those of you who are familiar, it was on the corner of Xixi Lu and Yugu Lu). From shawarma plates to falafel, hummus to kabsa rice, it offers an array of dishes guaranteed to fill your stomach at extremely friendly prices.
Ranging from 17 RMB for the hummus plate to 45 RMB for the shawarma, this laid-back and welcoming restaurant also offers shisha/hookah for 35 RMB, free Wi-fi and has a fully stocked bar to boot. With a foosball table for those competitive souls, this is one place to add to the top of your dining list. Located at the top of Zheda Lu, it has taken over the home of the old Ellen’s bar (which moved around 20 months ago to new premises on Huang Gu Shen Heng Lu at the junction of Xueyuan Lu).
Add: 16 Zheda Lu (near Shuguang Lu), Xihu District, Hangzhou
Tel: 0571 8701 2951
Opening Hours 10:00 – 24:00
Getting there: The K21 bus goes directly there and stops just outside.
2) Indian Kitchen
When nothing but a good curry will do! As the name suggests, Indian Kitchen is an Indian restaurant that caters for a variety of tastes, ranging from non-spicy kormas (I like to still feel my tongue after I’ve eaten) to extremely hot tandooris. The samosas and nan breads are extremely appetizing, the rice offers a variety of flavors including tomato and lemon (my favorite!) and with a warm, inviting environment beside the lake, you can quite easily relax on the sofas beside the windows that look out onto it.
The restaurant has recently increased its rates as of October 2013, and so are a little pricier than the other places mentioned in this article, at around 150-200 RMB per person for a meal and drinks; but it’s well worth it for some good grub that will leave you stuffed.
You can have some seriously succulent and tender Tandoori Chicken Curry at 58 RMB with a side of Cashew Nut Nan at 25RMB, or for something lighter, at 28RMB the Tomato Raita and vegetable samosa for 10 RMB will fill a hole in your tummy. Saturday evening offers a set price buffet menu, but for those of you feeling a tad lazy or if the weather’s bad and you’re simply tucked up all cosy and warm at home, the guys over here do delivery; but only within a 3-4KM range. I’m jealous of anybody who lives within that radius!
Indian Kitchen/印度小厨 View In Map
Add: 61 Nanshan Lu, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou
Tel: 0571 8707 4777
Opening Times: 11:00 – 22:00pm Sun – Fri; 11:00 – 16.30pm (lunch) 18:00 – 22:00 (dinner) Sat
Getting there: Bus No. 4, 12, 25, 38, 102, K850, Y10 and Y2.
3) Slim’s New York Steak and BurgerView In Map
Ok, so this isn’t strictly non-Western but this recently opened authentic American restaurant has surpassed my expectations of finding any decent burgers whilst residing on the mainland. I’d all but given up hope of ever finding a burger that was what it purported to be but I’ve thankfully now been proved wrong.
This is a typical American restaurant that prepares its burgers using imported Certified USDA PRIME Angus beef (mmm!). The staff is so well-trained that they actually ask how you’d like your burger cooked … rare, medium, well done etc. At reasonable prices that won’t break the bank, this place also boasts a pool table and foosball table with drinks offers mid-week including Buy One Get One Free on beers – of which there is a huge selection of imports.
The menu includes the Bada Bing, a burger dripping with Italian tomato sauce for 55 RMB which was delectable or The Petite at 38 RMB for those with the appetite of a sparrow; which doesn’t apply to me. If you’re looking for something a little more tempting (that WILL break the bank) then why not try the Lobster Mac & Cheese (98 RMB), The T-Bone (288 RMB) or New York Strip – a 10oz. sirloin steak (228 RMB). My personal recommendation: the Warm Apple Strudel (30 RMB) was heaven on a plate!
Add: 202-2 Nanshan Lu, Shangcheng District, Hangzhou
Tel: 0571 8701 0933 or 15657137188
Opening Times: 11:00 - 22:30
Getting There: Bus No. 4, 12, 25, 38, 102, K850, Y10 and Y2.
4) Xinjiang Pamir Muslim Restaurant
If you live a little way out East, this authentic Muslim restaurant owned by native Uyghur people is up there on my list when I want something different but relatively close by since this is my neck of the woods. They serve amazing caramelized potatoes and chicken fried rice at ridiculously low prices along with various mutton and beef curries.
The menu also includes some standard Chinese fare. I can highly recommend the Vinegar Shredded Potatoes (20 RMB), and the Fried Mutton of Pakistan at 58 RMB with a side of Naan (10RMB) to mop up all of that sauce … mmm, delicious! The staff doesn’t speak English but never fear – the menu is in English with pictures so just get dusting off those mime artistry skills when he comes to take your order. Point and smile all the way …
Xinjiang Pamir Muslim Restaurant/新疆帕米尔餐厅View In Map
Add: 5 Qiutao Bei Lu (intersection of Caihe Lu) 秋涛北路5号
Jianggan District, Hangzhou
Tel: 0571 8652 0381
Opening Times: 10:00 – 22:00
Getting There: Bus No. 59, 60, 80, 100, 304 and 361 to Caihe Lu.
5) PanchosView In Map
When you’re craving some spicy Mexican food, there’s no better place to head to than Panchos for some burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, quesadillas and refried beans. Located in the north of the city, these guys do lovely Mexican dishes that perfectly hit the spot. It only has a small exterior that’s easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled when going past.
Add: 376 Gudun Lu, corner of Wener Xi Lu, Gongshu District, Hangzhou
Tel: 0571 8512 1219
Opening Times: 10:30 – 14:00; 17:00 – 23:00
Getting There: The nearest bus stop on Gudun Lu serves the 17, 24, 91, 134, 203, 310, 349, 804 and the 900 whilst the bus stop around the corner on Wener Xi Lu serves the 41, 86, 118, 130, 194, 199, 221 and the 224.
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Keywords: Western and Middle Eastern Mexican food in Hangzhou Eateries to Satisfy the Foreign Palette in Hangzhou
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