ocked upon the banks of the Grand Canal, like an old stone boat, lies Linshui Gebi, or the Restaurant on the Water, one of the many new restaurants opening up shop on the new dining street located along the aforementioned Grand Canal. Linshui Gebi serves up traditional, Hangzhou-style food, so if you’re offended by the pungent aroma of smelly tofu - and let’s face it, if you’re not offended by that stench, you’re smell blind - then you may want to pack a clothes pin a la Pepé Le Pew because that reek comes through the, thankfully, open dining area every time somebody orders it, but don’t let that deter you. What’s good about Linshui Gebi far outweighs the temporary discomfort of having to smell a dish that smells like it was spawned in the sulphur bowels of Hell.
The layout of this place is a real treat as it’s decked out to look like an old junk, docked on the sides of the once thriving Grand Canal. Maybe we’ve got a thing for maritime-themed dining, but the real draw here is the food. You have to try their signature dish, the Old Man’s Shrimp 老头油爆虾 (48RMB), a pile of shrimp so big they could be prawns, tossed in a fragrant sauce and spring onion for a taste that’s just out of this world. Next up was the Pork Wrapped in Tofu Skin 片儿川千张包(15RMB) in Pianerchuan Soup, and it was well-liked by all. The tender tofu skin just melts in your mouth, opening it up to the delicious minced pork and savory broth inside. It’s hard to get xiaolongbao wrong and at Linshui Gebi, they don’t. Real shrimp inside the dumplings makes these a real treat, and at only 10RMB/order you can afford seconds. The Stir-fried Preserved Vegetables dish 抱腌菜小炒 (16RMB) was full of wood ear, wild rice shoots, maodou, and red pepper. It isn’t very strongly spiced, so as to allow the natural flavor of the veggies to be the focus. If you like tofu that tries to masquerade as meat try their Vegetable Chicken 红烧素鸡 (8RMB), which contains no vegetables or chicken. It’s basically a bowl of sliced, firm, tofu that’s been soaked in soy sauce. It sounds kind of meh, but it’s actually quite tasty.
Overall, we were quite pleased. One downside was the fresh squeezed orange juice, which tasted more like Tang than Tangerine, but a couple of 10RMB tall boys of Tsingtao Ultra Draft helped to cool us off. Our lunch for four, which left us stuffed, cost a mere 142RMB. You can’t beat that with a stick. Well, you could, but everyone will just look at you like you’re crazy. For a fun time out, that’s tasty and cheap, check out Linshui Gebi today. Parking is available in the lot at the entrance to the dining street.