Looking at the number of packed restaurants, and the savory street stalls frying up local favorites well into the night, this much is obvious: Lanzhou loves to eat. The city claims many unique dishes, putting its own spin on national favorites. Slurp up some beef or cold wheat noodles, enjoy a Lanzhou twist on mutton and bread soup and try some savory slow-cooked braised meat. Vegetarians have got to try the Jiangshui noodles; the vegetable base makes it a perfectly safe choice for the meat-averse. Dig in to all Lanzhou has to offer on the culinary front and try some of these classic restaurants.
Lanzhou Beef Noodles. Photo: gscn.com.cn
1) Beef NoodlesView In Map
Beef noodles have a long history in Lanzhou. These noodles are found everywhere in China, but Lanzhou beef noodles have a unique flavor and story. The noodles date back to the Qing Dynasty and were said to be first made by an eldery Lanzhou local of the Hui minority called Ma Baozi. The dish contains beef, pale radish, spicy oil, green cilantro and soft noodles. The noodles vary from very thin and delicate to almost two-finger width. Noodles in Lanzhou go for 5-10 RMB per bowl; add more beef for a hearty meal!
Recommended: Mazi Lu Niurou Mian (Dazhong Xiang)
Add: 86 Dazhong Xiang Gang, Chengguan District, Lanzhou
Tel: 0931 8450 505
Opening hours: 6:30-14:00
Price per person: 10 RMB
Getting there: Take bus 4,6,59,137 to Xin Shijie Baihuo-Tong Wei Lu (新世界百货-通渭路)
2) Wheat NoodlesView In Map
Wheat noodles or ‘Niang Pizi’ are another noodle staple of Lanzhou. The noodles can be eaten in a meal or as a cool snack on hot days. There are two types of Niang Pizi noodles: Shuixi (水洗) and Gaodan (高担). Niangpizi noodles are very popular in Gansu Province and are especially famous in Linxia. Shuixi noodles are named after their noodle-making process: the noodles are washed in water in hand until much of the starch comes out. The leftover starchy water is a leftover product of the process. Gaodan noodles have not had the starch washed away and the noodles that are generally served in restaurants are Shuixi noodles. Both types of Niangpi noodles are mixed with flavors like jasmine, garlic, sesame paste, spicy oil, vinegar, soy sauce and more.
Add: Opposite the T-shaped intersection of Jinshi Gang and Daosheng Gang, Zhangye Lu, Chengguan District, Lanzhou
Tel: 0931 8487 313
Price per person: 9 RMB
Operating hours: 8:00-20:00
Getting there: Take bus 74, 82, 107, 118, 135, 143 to Longxi Lukou
3) Mutton and Bread SoupView In Map
Originally given as a tribute to the emperor, Mutton and Bread Soup (or ‘Yangrou Paomo’) is a famous specialty of Xi’an. However, even if you’ve tried the dish in Xi’an, you definitely need to try it again in Lanzhou; Lanzhou Mutton and Bread Soup is different than the well-known Xi’an version. In Lanzhou the lamb is cooked, cut into large chunks and prepared with noodles, garlic and parsley. The steamed bread in the Xi’an dish is a fermented unleavened dough cake while the Lanzhou version uses floury fat bread that holds in different flavors and seasonings. The debate between the two dishes can only be resolved by trying both!
Recommended: Jinding Yangrou Paomo
Add: 101 Yongchang Lu, Chengguan District, Lanzhou
Tel: 0931 8464 795
Operating hours: 6:00-21:00
Price per person: 20 RMB
Getting there: Take bus 15, 18, 111, 140 Dongfeng Juyuan
4) Jiangshui NoodlesView In Map
Jiangshui noodles are very popular in Lanzhou, Tianshui, Dingxi and Linxia. Lanzhou’s Jiangshui noodles are the most popular so make sure you pick up a bowl there! The delicious and nutritious noodles are full of enzymes that can reduce fever, increase appetite and cool you down during a hot summer day. Eggs or tofu can be added to the veggie-based dish which makes it a perfect choice for vegetarians. Don’t worry carnivores; meat lovers can add in Longxi dried meat or stewed meat to the mix.
Recommended: Zuixian Lou
Add: 159 Junjia Tan (near Tianqing Huayuan), Chengguan District, Lanzhou
Tel: 0931 8553 052
Operating hours: 7:00-22:30
Price per person: 50 RMB
Getting there: Take bus 116,124,128,130 to Tianqing Huayuan
5) Gaosan Jiangrou View In Map
Gaosan Jiangrou, or a special version of meat braised with soy sauce, is a traditional Lanzhou favorite. The dish is named after Gao Binwu (高彬吾), whose artistic methods of Jiangrou preparation were known throughout the country. Gao Binwu was the third sibling of his family, so he was known as Gao San hence the dish name. The meat in Gaosan Jiangrou is carefully chosen and usually consists of a mix of pork skin, fat and lean meat. The meat is roasted until red and yellow and then cut into strips and tied up together. Cassia, pepper and cloves are added to the mix. The meat is then wrapped up, cooked over a boiling pot for half an hour and is then slow-cooked over a small flame. The meat becomes soft and savory after the cooking process and is worth all of the effort.
Recommended: Gao San Jiangrou (Fu Hua Xuan)
Add: 39 Dazhong Gang Bei Duan (near Bei Binhe Lu), Zhangye Lu, Chengguan District, Lanzhou
Tel: 130 2870 2134
Price per person: 15 RMB
Operating hours: 10:00-19:30
Getting there: Take bus 4, 6, 8, 9, 59, 116, 137, 143, 146 to Sheng Zhengfu
From noodles to meat to noodles with meat, Lanzhou brings an exciting array of flavors to the table. These traditional favorites have a rich history and are a must-try for any visit to the city.
Mutton and Bread Soup
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Keywords: Lanzhou specialties specialty dishes Lanzhou local food Lanzhou
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