I'll be in Huizhou for the next 2 weeks or so, and I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations. I'll post my experiences here later so that someone will have some clue as to where to get a good bite to eat there. I'll be at the Kande hotel, which I hear has a 1/2way decent Japanese restaurant. I guess we'll see about that...
After spending 2 weeks in Huizhou, China, I’m afraid I don’t have too many restaurant suggestions to offer. That’s not to say we haven’t eaten well – As a whole, the food has been tremendous. The problem is that I can’t read the names of the places or report an accurate address. Here’s what I can tell you.
If you’re staying at the Kande, don’t eat a dinner in the Italian/Western restaurant. I don’t care how tired you are. Better to eat a granola bar and go to bed than eat there. The Japanese restaurant Kisso on the 2nd floor is a better bet. On our one visit I didn’t have anything outstanding, but nothing was outstandingly bad. One thing I can’t recommend is finishing a bottle of shochu solo. I did like the tempura shrimp… I think…
All directions will be relative to the Kande, so here we go. We had OK food at one of the places if you exit the hotel and go left towards the McDonalds. They had some photos on the menu. Best things we had were a sweet and sour fish dish (evidently called squirrel fish, which I believe refers to the cut – fried so it almost looks like calamari) and some cold sour noodles with veggies. This was with Westerners pointing at menu items – No Mandarin. Everyone was very nice, to the point of shaking our hands on the way out of the place. This was the fist place you hit, and I think there are 2 right next to one another. Sorry I can’t be more specific.
I had the worst McDonald’s cheeseburger ever a few night later when I needed a snack. Maybe try the fries instead if you’re desperate. I think the night shift isn’t cooking the burgers enough. For the severely homesick only.
We had some great sweet and sour pork and hot pepper chicken across from TCL Display (aka Cotco). If you cross the river at the bridge closest to the Kande and then stay straight for a while (passing the sport park), you’ll see a big building called TCL Display. Ask the cabbie to pull over at that point. Looking at the shopping plaza, I’m talking about the restaurant all the way on the left. Little 15 year old working the front speaks a little English. All the waitstaff in yellow. That may change.
We had menu guidance when we went here – So have someone at the hotel write out s&s pork and pepper and chicken and maybe you’ll get what you want. I am not kidding about this s&s pork. We had it everywhere because we had it here first. And nowhere else comes close. They are putting some kind of fruit or spice or combination thereof that can’t be beat. Not syrupy and didn’t seem like it was from a jar (but if it was, I’d buy a jar). 3 dishes usually ran us a fat 50 rmb (about 8 bucks). So $4 a person. Silly. Snicker at s&s if you want, but it is special here.
All that said, I’ve saved the best for last. If you’re in Huizhou, you will thank me for this one. If you’ve got a lakeview room (and as I write this, the lake is a drained mud pit), look out your window. Look right. See a sign that says ITAT in yellow? Or maybe a tall building with green lights on the top (they’re off right now, so not always)? As long as it is a reasonable hour, leave the room and start walking. Walk right to that Itat (something like ‘Super Club Shopping Fun’). Take a soft right. You are now on the correct street. Stay on the left hand side of the street. You’ll pass what looks like a police station on your side of the street. And then a China Construction bank on the opposite side of the street. Keep walking, and you’ll see a restaurant on your side with all kinds of fishtanks outside. Probably some actually out on the sidewalk. Is there a menuboard with picks outside the door? Are there hostesses in yellow long dresses? Are there pink tablecloths? Hell, this still might be any old restaurant. You better make sure. Duck your head in and look left. Big butcher window inside the restaurant? You have arrived.
Don’t expect any English. If you have hosts, have them write down ‘bamboo clams in black bean sauce’. Succulent and easy to eat. And chicken. Definitely chicken. This is the best chicken I’ve had in many years. Salt and, um, I don’t know - Maybe heroin. Fantastic. I could eat a whole one no problem (maybe next time). Get the fried rice, if you’re in the mood. Most of this we ordered either through charades or pointing at picture menus; Mandarin phrases like ‘Do you speak English’ and ‘I don’t speak Mandarin’ were of no use when ordering. We paid 108 rmb to stuff ourselves. They bring the check and then you pay up front. Couldn’t be easier, and they’ll be happy to see you.
Other places to try if you have hosts – The Sicuan hotpot place with the dude with the long spouted (talking 4 feet here) teapot. Never had Sicuan hotpot before. Fantastic – Kind of like shabu-shabu, except addictive and flavorful. All with a strange sweet tea included. Highly recommended.
That’s all from Huizhou. Enjoy it!