Nanjing specialties

19 May

We had visitors at the end of March and were lucky to spend a couple of days in Nanjing with them.  Nanjing means “south capital” and it was the center of Chinese government for many years.  It is also known for the horrendous atrocities that were committed there by the Japanese during the Rape of Nanking (Nanjing) during the Japanese occupation of China.

One hundred years ago it had been full of historic buildings and cultural relics – many of which were destroyed or stolen during that period or the following cultural turmoil.  The mountains and tombs though are still there as is a somber museum to the massacre itself.  Nanjing is a city that to me appears very livable and at less than two hours from Shanghai a very possible weekend trip.

The first time I went to Nanjing was almost five years ago – it was the first time I road the train by myself or attempted to travel anywhere within China alone.  I remember getting lost on one of the mountain tomb areas and trying to get my way back to the downtown area.  Now my Chinese is much better and I was with Li so I didn’t fear getting lost at all.

This time I also had a secret up my sleeve –  I have one colleague who is originally from Nanjing.  She recommended some restaurants for us to try and I found out that one of them was very close to the hotel (walking distance) or where we were staying so we explored until we found it inside a very high end shopping mall.

Ambience in the restaurant - the lights and tables like a traditional eatery

Ambience in the restaurant – the lights and tables like a traditional eatery

Panels on the walls telling traditional stories

Panels on the walls telling traditional stories

The restaurant mimicked a historical style with the waiters and waitresses dressed in traditional garb and the dishes being real home cooking.  We stuffed ourselves with way too many specialties of the house.

A large luscious pork meatball - one for all of us!

A large luscious pork meatball – only one for all of us to share – it was that big!

Nanjing's famous salted duck - not my favorite actually

Nanjing’s famous salted duck – not my favorite actually

Sticky rice with pork belly

Sticky rice with pork belly

Water greens with pressed tofu

Water greens with pressed tofu

Getting ready to dig into our crayfish!

Getting ready to dig into our crayfish!

Steamed crayfish - a house specialty

Steamed crayfish – a house specialty

Tofu cooked Nanjing style

Tofu cooked Nanjing style

Which would you like to try?  I think my favorite was the large meatball and the crayfish. The plastic gloves added to the experience too.

Peeking through after eating way too much!

Peeking through after eating way too much!

This restaurant made us all happy and we practically rolled out the door ready to explore some more in Nanjing.

How do you get restaurant recommendations when you travel?  Who are the most reliable sources?

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6 Responses to “Nanjing specialties”

  1. ladyofthecakes May 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    That was some meatball! Un albondigazo 😉

    • gkm2011 May 19, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

      A single meatball for three people… Sounds like the start of a joke!

  2. expatlingo May 20, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    For some reason both of the dishes with tofu are calling to me at the minute. Yum!

    • gkm2011 May 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

      I have another one – Chinese cabbage steamed in chicken stock with semi-firm tofu. Not from a restaurant, but still delicious!

  3. abc in shanghai May 20, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

    i have yet to make my way to nanjing … so close, need to go soon!

    • gkm2011 May 21, 2013 at 7:28 am #

      Go soon or wait til fall as it is hotter there in summer than Shanghai! Really an easy trip though and a nice city.

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