With influences from nine neighbouring provinces, Wuhan is the place to experiment with genuine local Chinese cuisine Hubei?s excellent cuisine is reason enough to visit Wuhan. As a crossroads for nine provinces, Hubei has been influenced by other regions of China and its cuisine is varied and interesting. The province is known for its freshwater fish dishes, including bream, Mandarin fish, shrimp, crab, turtle, eel and clams. The great thing about restaurants in Wuhan is that the food is excellent and the cost is very reasonable, even in the most expensive-looking restaurants. Most of our meals for four people were between 100-200 yuan, including drinks. Popular local dishes include: steamed Wuchang fish, or bream, sparerib and lotus root soup, doupi, pancakes stuffed with pork, meat, and either mushrooms or shrimp, and hot-dry noodles. Wuhan?s fine dishes would not be as well known were it not for Chairman Mao Zedong, who had an affinity for the city. Both Wuchang Yu and doupi became nationally known after the chairman?s visits to the city in the 1950s. Hubei beers are a great complement to the local dishes. Sanwuchun Sanwuchun is a large and bright restaurant with a huge main dining hall that looks more like a grand European ballroom than a restaurant. We enjoyed chives and pork steamed in pearly rice balls, stir-fried bean curd, cooked with green and black beans, and red peppers, mushroom soup, and boiled dumplings. For dessert we had red bean cake ? actually cake with a layer of what appeared to be ice cream. 338 Zhongshan Road, Wuchang District (27) 8884 3535 5 Xinhua Xia Road, Hankou (27) 8577 4678 69-71 Huangxiao He Road, Jiang?an District (27) 8261 3535 Cucha Danfan Cucha danfan has an old Wuhan flavour to it, with black and white photos of the city hanging on the walls. The dishes we tried here included: tea-smoked duck, bean curd balls, fish head casserole, shredded pork with bamboo shoots, and flat bread stuffed with meat. 117 Jianghan North Road (27) 8574 9226 143 Aomen Road (27) 8242 0217 616 Wuchang Minzhu Road (27) 5070 1819 78 Hanyang Dadao (27) 8477 8325 Hujin Jiulou Hujin Jiulou, also known for its Hubei cuisine, is another of Wuhan?s grand restaurants, with high ceilings, a huge dining area, and a second floor balcony. Popular dishes here are drunken shrimp , fish balls, braised Mandarin with scallion, mushroom cooked with bamboo shoots, west Hunan style streaky pork, range chicken soup, and bean curd cooked with crab egg. 5 Xinhua Xia Road, Hankou (27) 8579 8088 105 Bayi Road, Wuchang District (27) 8727 8811 6-8 Sanyang Road, Hankou (27) 8271 1668 Chu Lao Song This restaurant, which specialises in Wuhan dishes, is popular with locals. Specialties include frozen bean curd fried with vegetables, pumpkin broiled with chili, fried eggs with chili paste, and stewed taro with beef. 138 Yanjiang Road, Hankou (27) 82857778 Kanglong Taizi Jiuxuan With it?s modernistic look, this is one of the most trendy restaurants in Wuhan, but it is still quite cheap. Popular dishes here are taizi ?prince? duck, beef casserole, roast suckling pig, roasted crispy pigeon, quail wrapped in tinfoil and shrimp with egg yolks. 1 Hongshan Sports Stadium, Xinkai Building, Wuchang (27) 8732 0588 735 Jianshe Dadao, (27) 8579 8288 226 Yanjiang Dadao, Hankou (27) 8271 3338 Zen Garden If you need a change from Hubei cuisine, try this beautiful restaurant which serves fine Huaiyang dishes from cities downriver from Wuhan. Liuhe spare ribs twice-cooked pork, corn with egg yolk, pan-fried beancurd, stir-fried shrimp with chives, beef tenderloin in black pepper, steamed pumpkin with Chinese yam, sweet peas and diced ham, and West Lake duck casserole. 228 Yanjiang Dadao (27) 8271 7777 Yunjizhai Vegetarian Restaurant This vegetarian restaurant located on the grounds of the Guiyuan Temple serves a wide variety of meatless dishes, many prepared to look and taste like the real thing. Five-spiced beef had the exact texture and colour of this meat dish; turned-over streaky pork even came with a strip of ?fatty pork? on each piece; vegetarian goose, three fresh vegetables, red-cooked mushrooms and tasty vegetarian steamed buns. Our two Chinese companions were convinced that the ?diced ham? in one of the dishes was really pork. Inside Guiyuan Temple (27) 8484 2673 Changdi Street Night Market 200 metres down the street opposite Qiaokou Park This snack street offers a wide variety of local favorites: steamed dumplings filled with minced meat , fried beef dumplings, red oil turnip soup, and water chestnut paste. Jingwu duck neck Served at a number of stalls along Jingwu Road near Xinhua Road Dozen of small stalls along Jingwu Street specialize in this dish. Ducks are stewed in a soup made with dozens of Chinese herbs. Locals say the meat of the spicy duck neck is especially tasty, albeit tough, and they say the bones are even tastier. Goes great with beer. Jingwu duck neck shot to national prominence in 2002 after it was introduced in a TV drama based on a novel by the well-known writer Chi Li, a native of Wuhan. Restaurants around the country now serve this dish, and people from around China are said to fly here just to buy some to bring them back home.