Ticket: free; Busses: 26/K26, 33/K33, 36/K36, 41/K41, 316/K316, K57, K58, K78, K209, to Desheng New Village 德胜新村
With all its dim lit streets and back alleys, Hangzhou seems to offer a dizzying array of culinary delights and distractions. But today's Hangzhouvian is busier than ever before. Who's got time to waste dodging traffic, or sitting in traffic, to go to some hole in the wall across town that serves great nan. If only there were a place that offered the whole enchilada or, uh, baozi? - in neat rows of red-covered tents with bare naked bulbs dangling precariously overhead. Or perhaps you're tired of chewing on breads from local bakeries that feature pork floss filling and the aftertaste of fake whipped cream on your tongue. We bought some chocolate muffins from a bakery chain the other day that had the overwhelming flavor of cat food, and not chocolate cat food. Just cat food. Let's face it, for most of us, finding something to snack on late at night is usually solved by visiting the local C-Store, but that's a game plan that gets old quick when you've had your tenth package of instant noodles and canned Heineken in a row. The MORE crew decided to check out the Victory River Food Street, since Heineken sucks and frankly we're sick of it, and decided that it would be much healthier to visit Hangzhou's newest street cuisine attraction. Once there, our eyes lit up as we saw (and inhaled) fresh Stinky Tofu (10RMB for eight pieces), Xiaolongbao (5RMB), Fruit Candy (5RMB), Baozi (1RMB), and of course the ever-present Meat Skewers (3RMB) that handily complete the picture of any food-related event around here. The whole stretch spans over 500 meters, with parking available in a lot located right in the middle of the whole thing. It gets full pretty fast, so be sure to come early if you're driving. Once you're on your feet and walking around, you'll notice there is a lot to see and eat, as one side of the venue is made up of individual booths (about 70 in total) and the other side is made up of restaurants from some of the most recognized and respected tourist eateries in town, including Chuan Wei Guan, Old Man's Oil Fried Shrimp, Taiji Food Paradise, Family Xu's Bull Offal, and Qingjing Restaurant, to name a few. You'll have to come and see for yourself as the lights go on after the sun sets, and clouds of steam create a wispy and alluring fog of odors that enshroud you, but take it easy, the Food Street is open from 5:00p.m. to 2:00a.m. which means there's plenty of time to get a look before you submit to your desire to shovel handfuls of fried dumplings into your mouth, only to find out that you should have left room for one of those amazing candied fruits on a stick that look almost too pretty to devour.