If you’ve never experienced Wuhan, you should first understand that it’s divided into three distinctly different areas. Hankou is the business district and has by far the best shopping, bars and restaurants. Wuchang is the cultural district and has more than 35 universities, as well as the most scenic places. And Hanyan is the industrial district, where you’ll find foreign companies like Citroen and Coca Cola. In this article, I’ll discuss places to eat and places to party in Hankou, plus a couple of favourites in Wuchang.
Once you’ve settled in and want a good meal and maybe some nightlife, you will be presented with a lot of choice. For those who want to shop, eat heartily and party, Hankou is the place you will want to be. However, if you live in Wuchang, remember that buses usually stop running by 11 pm and you will have to grab a taxi. Late at night, taxi drivers will go off the metre and cut a deal with you. 50 RMB is enough to take you from central Hankou to central Wuchang.
The best, fastest and cheapest breakfast in town isn’t McDonalds, but there are plenty of them spread throughout Wuhan, and some are open 24 hours. What I recommend is dry, hot noodles or reganmian. You won’t find a tastier, cheaper breakfast in China than hot, dry noodles! You can find them everywhere and mostly on the sidewalks or in tiny venues that open as early as 6 am and usually close by 2 pm. If you have no time for a big bowl of hot dry noodles, then perhaps shaobing is the right choice. Almost everywhere can you find a guy on the street from dawn to dusk with his black cooking barrel used to make this delicious treat. My friends and I commonly refer to shaobing as Chinese pizza! Price? How does 1 RMB sound for 2 slices?
For lunch, I suggest the buffet at the Shangri-la Hotel, offering Wuhan the best Cantonese, Huaiyang, Japanese and Western-style cuisine, or Brazil Barbecue, a more reasonably priced venue. You’ll find Brazil Barbecue at several locations in Hankou, including Wuhan Plaza and Walking Street. I haven’t found better barbecue in China than Brazil Barbecue, with lunch buffet priced at 48 RMB and dinner at 58 RMB.
If you are taking a stroll on Walking Street to enjoy the shops, you can dine above Haoledi KTV at YuanYuanYuan Restaurant/Bar, where you’ll find international cuisine as well as live music in the evening. Just a stone’s throw from Haoledi KTV on Walking Street is a Warner Brother’s Theatre, located inside a new shopping mall on Zhongshan Lu. If there aren’t any good flicks on, stop into Haoledi for some KTV or complete the journey down Walking Street to Yangtze Boulevard, location of the Bund and loads of restaurants and bars.
In the daytime, this street isn’t so busy, but at night it really comes alive! Many times, I’ve hung out with friends at York Bar or danced the night away nearby at the upscale Soho Club. Normally on Friday and Saturday nights, you can barely move, let alone get a table. Not many places have the atmosphere of Yangtze Blvd. in Hankou. On one side of the street are restaurants and bars; on the other side are the Bund and the Yangtze River. It’s very clean and it’s huge! A great place to roller blade, fly a kite, catch an outdoor concert, have a picnic lunch or just take a stroll.
If the crowds on Yangtze Blvd. are too much and the traffic is too heavy, you have other choices. Just a 15-minute taxi ride will carry you to Café Brussels with some of the most delicious western food in China! This place is owned and operated by a big, friendly, shiny-headed Belgian named Dave. Besides great atmosphere and great food, Café Brussels has its own brewery and brew master from Germany! Café Brussels is a bit tricky to find, so be sure to have the address to give the taxi driver.
The oldest, best-known hangout for foreigners is BlueSky Restaurant/Bar, located just down the street from the Shangri-la Hotel. The cuisine is western and most of the customers are foreigners that want a nice evening of dinner and dancing. Just one note of caution, most western venues in Wuhan are pricey, so expect to spend at least 100 to 200 RMB for dinner and drinks.
If you are more interested in Chinese style venues, a great place for dinner with live, soft music is Mona Lisa. From 6:20 to 7:50 pm, Mona Lisa highlights a Chinese performer named Lifei. His style is smooth on both the piano and vocally, which provides a great dinner atmosphere. If you enjoy the music, you can also find him from 8:20 to 11:20 pm at Wan Song Xiu Xian Shui Hui on Wonsongyuan Street in Hankou, a place for bathing and relaxation. Wonsongyuan is a one-way street adjacent to Wuhan Plaza and The World Trade Plaza on Jiefang Ave.
On the Wuchang side of the Yangtze River, you can also find some other great venues. My personal favourite western restaurant is Giano’s, which is known for its casual, comfortable atmosphere, friendly staff and brick oven pizza! Giano’s is most convenient for people working in the vicinity of East Lake and South Lake in Wuchang and those visitors staying in the new Ramada Hotel. Just upstairs from Giano’s, is Mr. Mai’s Coffee House and Foreign Language Club, owned and operated by a family from California. There you’ll find a friendly, relaxed atmosphere where people can enjoy refreshments and great company. There are not many places in China you can find sandwiches, tacos, fresh baked fudge brownies and apple pie, so be sure to stop by!
Mona Lisa 蒙娜丽莎中西餐厅View In Map
Add: 818 Zhongshan Dadao, 4F, 4003 Xinjiali Fashion Plaza, Hanjiang District, Wuhan
Phone: 027 8270 2277
Brazil Barbecue - World Trade Plaza Restaurant View In Map
Add: 7/F, World Trade Plaza, 686 Jiefang Dadao, Jinghan District, Wuhan
Tel: 027 8544 9127
Brazil Barbecue - Walking StreetView In Map
5F, Central Shopping Bldg.129 Jianghan Rd. Jianghan District, Wuhan
Café Brussels 布鲁塞尔咖啡厅View In Map
Add: 183 Shengli Jie, Wuhan
Phone: 027 8277 4716 or 13871242250
BlueSky Restaurant/Bar 蓝色天空咖啡View In Map
Add: No.3-85 Xibeihu Lu, Jianghan District, Wuhan
Tel: 027 8580 5777, 8580 6777
YuanYuanYuan Restaurant/Bar 圆缘园时尚餐厅View In Map
Add: 61 Jianghan Lu Walking Street, 4th Floor above Haoledi KTV, Hankou, Wuhan
Phone: 027 8285 5136
Shangri-la Hotel 香格里拉View In Map
700 Jianshe Dadao, Hankou, Wuhan
Phone: 027 8580 6868
Giano’s Italian Restaurant (newest location) 吉雅诺西餐厅View In Map
SBI, Optical Valley Innovation Street, 1st floor, Building 1 (downstairs from Mr. Mai’s), Dong-hu Economic Development Zone, Wuhan
Phone: 021-8717-0013 / 13317198193
Wan Song Xiu Xian Shui Hui 万松园休闲水会View In Map
139 Wansongyuan Lu, Jianghan District, Hankou, Wuhan
Phone: 027 8577 6000
Soho Club 苏荷酒吧View In Map
Add: 158 Lanling Lu, Yanjiang Dadao, Hankou, Wuhan
Phone: 027 5223 3668
Hours: 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Gunshi Music and KTV 滚石音乐台View In Map
add: Te -1 Qiuchang Lu, Hankou, Wuhan
Phone: 021 8278 9526, 8278 9527
Mr. Mai’s Coffee House and Foreign Language Club View In Map
Add: SBI Building One, 2nd Floor –Dong-hu Economic Development Zone, Wuhan
Phone: 027 8749 7877
Hours: Daily 13:30 - 21:30
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