Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ning Jing Hai Restaurant (Suzhou, China)

Located in Suzhou, China, this restaurant is one of a kind. The ingredients they use are grown and raised locally and dishes are made fresh to order. The outside has beautiful landscaping while the building looks like a cheap motel, but don't let looks fool you, this place is a food gem.

Sour Cabbage Hot Pot
They start with pickled cabbage that's sour in taste and boil it in a house broth. To this they add tofu, pork, seafood balls, green onion, and chili peppers. When this dish comes to a boil, the flavors meld together and go great with a bowl of rice. This is one of their most popular dishes.

Stir-fry Vinegar Large Intestine
What we don't eat in America, we eat a lot of in Asia. You can find pig large intestines in the US for very cheap at an Asian supermarket, but in Asia, these things cost a little more. It's chewy in texture and stir-fried with vinegar, garlic, lots of ginger, and chili peppers.

Stir-fried Fried Tofu
Different from the usual tofu dish you see that's stir-fried, they flash fry the tofu pieces first and then throw it in to stir fry with mushrooms, garlic, and green onions. The frying brings out the the flavor of the tofu even more and the sauce is the perfect combination of sweet and salty.

Baby Chinese Bok Choy
A variation of bok choy, this vegetable is picked when it's still young and cooked. The texture is very crisp and fresh and it makes even those that don't like vegetables like it.

On another non-food note, I went to the restroom before I left and found it to be quite unique. The sink, urinals, and toilets were all made of stone. Each seemed to be custom made cause they all looked different. It was the first time I saw anything like it, so if you go to this restaurant by any chance, be sure to use the restroom before you leave!

Verdict? This place was one of the best places I ate in Suzhou. The food is authentic and the ingredients are fresh. I would definitely recommend coming here if you're ever in Suzhou.

Ning Jing Hai Restaurant

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