Lasting Manchu influence
Shenyang cuisine belongs to the Northeast style (Dongbei Cai) of Chinese cuisine, specifically Liaoning cuisine, and is heavy on pickled vegetables, pork sausage, beef and lamb dishes, wheat noodles and dumplings.
The major dishes of Liaoning cuisine were influenced by the Manchu tradition of preserving foods, hunting wild game and stuffing steamed buns with a variety of ingredients. Russian, Korean and Japanese flavours have also influenced the local cuisine.
Some signature dishes are Suziye Doubao, a steamed bun filled with beans and wrapped in minty perilla leaves; Suancai Bairou, pickled vegetables with fatty pork meat; Bairou Xuechang, a soup with fatty pork, blood sausage and pickled vegetables; Sachima, a deep-fried fritter sweet; and Niushebing, a wheat floor cake.
There are a number of famous restaurants in Shenyang that serve traditional Northeastern and Manchu dishes. One of the better-known is Lao Bian Dumplings, established in the mid 19th century. Lao Bian serves small dumpling platters with a wide range of fillings, most involving pickled vegetables and pork, but also beef, lamb and vegetarian options.
The restaurant has become synonymous with Shenyang cuisine and few tourists pass up a chance to gorge on dumplings when passing through.
There are several Manchu restaurants in Shenyang, chief among them is Najia Guan, which specialises in Bairou Xuechang.
Most Manchu dishes have been absorbed into the Liaoning menu, so what is considered 'Liaoning' today may once have been Manchu. The West Tower food and shopping street at the far end of Shenyang Road is known for its Korean restaurants and authentic Dongbei Cai cake and dumpling stalls; for Muslim fare the Huihui Ying is a good spot to start with barbecued lamb and wheat cakes.