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Zhang Gong Guan/张功馆
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For the past 1,000 years, give or take, Hangzhou has been a pretty happening place. That's not just liberal media rhetoric, it's a fact that all of us living in, “the Zhou,” know. On top of that, the local cuisine is ranked (at least by locals) as one of the “eight famous flavors” in China and is steeped in a lengthy and oft-debated history of culinary successes and failures. Yeah, whatever. The MORE crew is not easily persuaded, so we decided to make time for an undercover mission to the newest Tonglu-inspired restaurant in town, to see what all the fuss was about. Our trip to Zhanggongguan revealed the typical Hangzhou-esque exterior with the dark grey stone facade we've all come to know and love. As we walked inside the restaurant, we were greeted by the increasingly familiar sight of a glass showcase full of locally-produced wine clad in suspiciously French-looking labels (Could I interest you in a bottle of Chateau Marfaux, my lady?).  Past the Ripple rack you’ll find the dining area, which looked like’s it was ripped straight from a Furr’s Cafeteria, but considering where the bar’s set for cleanliness in Hangzhou, that’s pretty good. The “Hometown Family Diner” décor notwithstanding, the food was an inspiring thing to behold. You order by browsing their “showroom” and pointing to the dishes you want to the waitress shuffling closely behind you. There were large tanks of water with live seafood writhing about, and an unusually enormous crab caught our eye. Another thing that caught our eye was the nearby pig's head platter, which grimaced menacingly at us through a thin film of plastic wrap. Other goodies were on display as an endless parade of meats and fresh vegetables. As well, you’d find large simmering open woks with braised duck and tofu in their slowly-reducing pools of sinister-looking sauces, that we steered clear of. We sat down to a meal of glass noodles with fried cabbage, Dongpo pork, which was outstanding, tofu soup (not so outstanding), fried potatoes with green peppers, a very delicious steamed flounder, mini Chinese “tacos” (that must be seen to be believed), and the requisite plate of fresh sugar cane segments to top it all off at the end. While the food wasn't a real shock to the senses, the price was. At under 200RMB for four people, the price more than justifies a visit for anyone wanting a taste of Hangzhou. Unfortunately, parking is also HZ-style, so we recommend walking, lest you leave the house sans your Xanax.

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Baoshi Er Nong, 85 Baochu Road

0571 8658 6609

Opening Hours:
10:30am - 10pm
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