Nanjing cuisine is also called “Jinling cuisine金陵菜” or “Jingsu cuisine江苏菜”. It is a discipline of food that is about picking the choicest ingredients, cooking them in the most meticulous preparation method and changing varieties according to season and the availability of ingredients. Nanjing cuisine is about preserving the original taste of ingredients while adding refining touches to the dishes that make them fresh, crispy, enticing and tender. Duck meat dishes are essentially what Nanjing cuisine is famous for, but aside from that, Ruandou Daifeng (swamp eel with noodles), Meirengan (stir-fried duck pancreas) and Qingdun Jifu (stewed chicken drumsticks and pork) are also some of the classic Nanjing dishes. Here we introduce some of the oldest dining venues in the city, serving up Nanjing cuisine.
Meiyuan Chinese Restaurant at the Jinling Hotel 金陵饭店梅苑中餐厅 View In Map
When looking for a dining venue to get a taste for genuine Nanjing cuisine or Jingsu cuisine, locals would most certainly recommend Meiyuan Chinese Retaurant at the Jinling Hotel. This restaurant was established 26 years ago, when Jinling Hotel first opened its doors for business. Throughout the years it has welcomed numerous political leaders through its doors and has employed famous chefs from all over the country – garnering a reputation for itself as “The” place to go for genuine Nanjing cuisine.
Guests obviously appreciate the venue being a long-standing business, as familiar faces seem to frequent the restaurant. The manager and the waiting staff are all long-time employees (over 10 years) and they make it their business to know the face and individual preferences of regular guests. You feel really at home in this restaurant. Meiyuan may be an old dining venue, but selections on the menu are ever changing and new. The lead chef developed a “four-season” creation using ingredients available in each season, paired with the concept of healthy dining to create fresh and original dishes. All of the vegetables used at the restaurant are supplied by their very own, organic greenhouse; a favorite vegetable dish for the locals is stir-fried mugwort and celtuce. Also, salted duck prepared from century-old recipes is always a favorite take-home treat for customers.
Add: 2 Hanzhong Lu (Jinling Hotel, 2nd Floor), Baixia District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8471 1888, ask reception to transfer your call to Meiyuan Chinese Restaurant
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-22:00
Price: 200 RMB/person
Getting there: Bus 3, 4, 5, 9, 18, 804 or 805 to Xinjiekou (west) station, walk for 79 metres to venue
Ma Xiangxing Muslim Restaurant 马祥兴清真菜馆 View In Map
This is another old dining venue that has enjoyed a reputation of providing the most genuine tasting Muslim-style Nanjing cuisine in the city. It has been in business for over 160 years now and during the rule of Guomindang (Chinese Nationalist Party or KMT), this venue served as a favorite dining place for numerous politicians and scholars. Yu Youren, founding member of KMT, personally wrote the words “Ma Xiangxing” in calligraphy, which still acts as the sign for the restaurant.
Ma Xiangxing nowadays has expanded to become a large Muslim-style building situated on North Yunnan Rd – attesting to its glories as a century-old dining venue. First floor at the venue are different appetizers; recommended are the braised beef treats. If you would prefer a more formal sit-down meal, there are VIP rooms for dining on the upper level floors. Each VIP dining room is decorated with calligraphy works of famous artists – antique pieces that each tells a piece of history. There is also a “memoir wall” that documents stories about famous guests and their experiences at Ma Xiangxing.
Four classic dishes that almost every guest to the venue would feel compelled to order are: Meirengan (stir-fried duck pancreas), fantail shrimp, egg shumai (dumpling), and sweet and sour mandarin fish; those guests that would like a taste of Meirengan are recommended to come before noon, because that's when the ingredient is the most fresh; Meirengan is usually all sold out by dinner time.
Add: 32 North Yunnan Rd, Gulou District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8328 6388
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-22:00
Price: 150 RMB/person
Getting there: Bus routes 26 or 56 to North Yunnan Rd station, and walk 95 m to venu
Yijin Bailuzhou Club & Restaurant 颐锦白鹭洲会所 View In Map
Yijin Bailuzhou Club & Restaurant is located in the largest park in southern Nanjing – the Bailuzhou Park. The dining venue is situated right next to Confucius Temple, bordering the ancient city wall (built during the Ming Dynasty) to the left and Qinhuai River to the right. The restaurant is situated in large area of forest land, dotted with tea houses modeled after Ming and Qing dynasties, small bridges over creeks and beautiful pavilions. You feel as if you have stepped into a private Chinese garden by mistake when you visit. This is a venue that functions as both a restaurant and club for holding business and private functions. Guests are invited to drink tea, row boats on the creek and dine on some of Nanjing’s best cuisine.
The lead chef, Xue Wenlong, is a renowned food expert and inventor of garden menus, offering new creations on cuisines and dishes that were born from the local culture of Qinhuai River. Chef Xue will also develop dishes based on ingredients available for that season and put together a personal-style banquet for his guests. From stir-fried soft-shell turtles to stir-fried shrimp and chicken congee, one can expect the most stylized banquet dining in the midst of the beautiful forest-park. Guests are encouraged to make reservations and make personalized requests in advance.
Add: 1 Changbai Street (Bailuzhou Park, 1 Water Street), Qinhuai District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 5226 4500
Opening hours: Daily, 11:00-13:30 and 17:00-20:30
Price: 200 RMB/person
Getting there: Bus 1, 15, 23, 44, 80 or 304 to Bailuzhou Park station
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