As we slowly made our way back to our hotel through a maze of lanes, we spotted a cafe still in operations, and so, off we went for some 牛奶咖啡 Latte (¥42), 龙井茶 Dragon Well Tea (¥58) and 蜂蜜柠檬芝士蛋糕 Honey Lemon Cheesecake (¥42).
The coffee was not bad, and I really liked the tea. The cake had a nice balance of sweet and salty, and we really enjoyed the ambience of this cafe.
- Location: 浙江省杭州市上城区开元路38号 (Baidu Maps)
- Hrs: 9.30am to 1am
There were quite a few outlets, and the one we went to was at 高银街 Gao Yin Street.
We shared 生煎双拼 (鮮肉/蝦仁) Pan-fried Pork Buns (Pork / Prawn) (¥10.50) and 家常卤肉拌面 Dry Noodles with Minced Meat (¥19) since we were not particularly hungry.
As this place was similar to a fast food restaurant, we did not have much expectations of the food. Our perception changed when hubby took the first bite into the 生煎包 pan-fried pork bun and sent a spurt of juice towards me *LOL* 的确是咬不得啊！汤汁喷得像火箭! We certainly did not expect the bun to be so juicy, and were very careful about eating it after that 😛
We were very impressed that there was so much juice enveloped by the thin skin. The fried base was also nicely crispy. Overall, we thought it was a very good 生煎包. The noodles was a bit on the salty side though.
- Location: 浙江省杭州市上城区高银街22号 (Baidu Maps)
- Hrs: 6.30am to 11pm
This was a rather compact bazaar with quite a few rows of stalls all lined up under tents. Next to the bazaar, there were also many shops, so the area was quite lively. It took us about 15 minutes or so to browse through the stalls, as many were selling winter wear, bags and mobile phone accessories. I tried my hand at bargaining after comparing prices at the different stalls, and managed to get a pair of gloves at ¥15.
We were still feeling full from our late lunch, hence we decided to walk back towards our hotel to make space for dinner.
- Location: 浙江省杭州市上城区湖滨商圈仁和路1号 (Baidu Maps)
- Hrs: 6pm to 11pm
We had bought our train tickets (¥12.50 per adult one way) to 绍兴 Shaoxing so we did not have to rush for time this morning. Unfortunately, there was a train delay and we arrived at 绍兴 20 minutes behind schedule. The train station was a big building with no visible cab queue nearby for us to try to get a cab. Finally, we decided to pay a premium (¥15 per pax) for a private car by the driver who offered us a ride to 东湖. According to 百度 Baidu, a 10 to 15-minute cab ride would cost around ¥20.
After getting tickets (¥50 per adult + ¥85 for the boat ride) and a quick toilet break (cleanest toilet so far!), we entered 东湖 East Lake around 9.40am. As we wanted to take the 乌篷船 boat ride from the further Pier No. 2 back to Pier No. 1, we took a very leisurely 1-hour stroll to reach Pier No. 2, with many stops to take pictures and enjoy the view. There was a light drizzle throughout our stroll, and somehow it added a mysterious misty and romantic feel to the visit. Perhaps because of the rain, it was also very quiet. Continue reading
From 西湖 West Lake, we followed instructions by 百度地图 Baidu Maps to 胜利河美食街 Shengli River Food Street by bus route 12 (¥2 per adult) with a bit of walking.
The food street was not long; we walked up and down the full length before picking a restaurant 开化农家菜 that looked quite popular. We had a 柴火鸡 Chicken Stew (¥168) and the staff helped us cook the dish. The chicken dish was awesome! It was addictive and comfortably spicy (we asked for mild spiciness) and the 玉米饼 Corn Bread complemented it really well. It was a perfect choice for such a cold night 🙂
Returning back to our hotel was via bus route 198 (¥2 per adult), where we had a nice stroll back cutting through 南宋御街 Southern Song Imperial Street. This street has some pretty buildings and intersected with 河坊街 Hefang Street.
Note: There was a ¥2 charge for cutlery. There were only public toilets (near the carpark) in this area.
- Location: 浙江省杭州市拱墅区霞湾巷284号 (Baidu Maps)
- Hrs: 5pm – 2am
We took a cab from 灵隐寺 Lingyin Temple to Hangzhou Train Station, and the ride took us by 西湖 West Lake 白提 Bai Causeway and 断桥 Broken Bridge. During the ride, the driver told us that the best way to enjoy the views of West Lake was to see it from afar. He shared that the locals would just sit at a spot by the lake, and the views would be different depending on the season. He advised us to not attempt to “see” the entire lake over the next few days, but rather to take it easy and just enjoy the atmosphere. Wise words indeed 🙂
After purchasing our train tickets for the subsequent trips, we went to the bus interchange to take a bus back to 西湖 West Lake. I think there were 2 buses; route Y2 or route 7, and we took Y2 (¥3 per adult).
We took the advice of the hotel staff and decided to cab instead of bus to 飞来峰 (loosely translated as Peak Flown in from Afar).
Tried out 滴滴出行 Didi Rider app and managed to get a ride quite easily at 7+ in the morning. We arrived around 8am, got our tickets (¥45 per adult), and made our way in. It was rather quiet with only one tour group, and we could take our own sweet time to admire the carvings.
We also spent quite a fair amount of time in 灵隐寺 Lingyin Temple (¥30 per adult), just enjoying the stroll and chatting along the way. We also stopped for a bowl of 罗汉面 (¥18) at the restaurant 十方苑 within 灵隐寺 Lingyin Temple to take a break from the cold and walking. In the midst of walking, we also found the 老酸奶 yoghurt drink that I was so fond of during our Beijing trip. In 2016, we paid about ¥5 per bottle, here it cost ¥15 😮 Because I missed it so much, I paid for it *no eyes to see*
It was already past 8.30pm by the time we were done with checking into 如家精选酒店 (杭州西湖吴山广场河坊街店) Home Inn Plus (Hangzhou West Lake Wushan Plaza Hefang Street) and freshening up, so we decided to just grab something nearby.
老杭州家常菜 was still opened, so we decided our first proper meal here would be some local delights, including 东坡肉 Braised Pork Belly (¥14) (very tough!) and 西湖醋鱼 West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy (¥58). We also ordered 炒油麦 Stir-fried Lettuce (¥18) to balance the meal.
We thought the fish was quite fresh. It was easy to eat as there were little bones. The vegetable was pretty standard. Unfortunately, the braised pork belly was very tough, and we hoped this was just a poor rendition of the very famous dish 😮
After which, we just strolled around 河坊街 Hefang Street (aka Snack Street) and the street parallel to it. That was when we realised there were quite a few 老杭州家常菜… Not sure if they belong to the same chain?
Note: There was a ¥1 charge for cutlery.
- Location: 浙江省杭州市上城区高银街141号 (Baidu Maps)
- Hrs: 9am – 9pm
We had only been to China when we went as a family with hubby’s parents, brothers, sister-in-laws and niece to visit their relatives in Xiamen. There wasn’t much touristy things that we did except to eat and eat and eat with his relatives.
So we wanted to go China as a tourist for the longest time and hubby said that the starting point of visiting China has to be Beijing.
We were glad that we were able to find a good slot this year to finally fulfil our wish of climbing The Great Wall, tour the Palace Museum and eating Peking Duck!
After my initial blurness thinking that our flight was 10.30am instead of 8.30am, we still made it in good time to collect our Changi Recommends WiFi router, grabbed breakfast at Heavenly Wang, and boarded the plane in time. We liked being on the upper deck of A380! It felt like lesser passengers, and we had great service from the air steward and stewardess 🙂
Our last meal in Beijing was 涮肉 (typically mutton shabu shabu), and we wanted to try the 老北京铜锅 which is a traditional bronze hotpot with charcoal inside and a trench of water at the rim for shabu-ing the meat.
We found one near our hotel that looked quite traditional (because it’s housed in an old traditionally-looking building which we later realized was what the name of the restaurant 四牌楼 referred to) and had a few customers and has the words 百年老店 (which meant that it was a time-tested brand and literally around for 100 years), so we figured it should not be too bad.
Of course, there were also many restaurants that claimed to be 百年老店 or 老字号 as we had found out in this trip, haha.