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China Hangzhou Construction Mall Tofu

5 September 2012

Best meal ever?

Hangzhou is huge.
Like many Chinese cities there is a new city area, which is far away from the old city area.
In Hangzhou I estimate its about 15km away, too far to walk. This meant I had to brave the bus network!
There are a ridiculous amount of busses criss crossing every street, they have English numbers on the busses themselves, but thats where the English stops.
Theres no announcements on the bus in English, the signs at the stops only tell you where you are in Chinese, and the drivers are expectedly aggressive, hardly getting off the horn and opening the doors before the bus comes to a complete stop.
You can get an IC card, but if you dont have one (I dont), knowing how much to pay can be a bit of a guess too. Theres a rubbish bin like thing you throw coins in as you get on. The internet tells me its 1 yuan for non air conditioned, and 2 for air conditioned.
It also says all busses in Hangzhou are air conditioned and that the city has the most modern and extensive bus network in all of China.
It then says that since they dont turn the air conditioner on in spring and autumn, you only have to pay 1 Yuan regardless, confused yet?
I just threw in 2 and stood up in the crush, peering out the window trying to recognise where I was going.
This plan didnt quite pay off as hoped, I spotted a giant mall which I thought was my destination, it had a Tescos, but once I got off and found the nearest crossing road with English writing which I could recognise on my blackberry, I realised I still had about a kilometre to go.
No problem, I got to wander through an awesome skyscraper ghost town. This one was almost finished, and presumably in the next few weeks, 50,000 people will move in.

China-Hangzhou-Construction-Mall-Tofu - Standing up on the bus. When I first got on it was far too packed to try and take a photo, I sat against the front window. The bus ride back was less

Standing up on the bus. When I first got on it was far too packed to try and take a photo, I sat against the front window.
The bus ride back was less busy and I got a seat. They show Chinas funniest home videos on the bus. The passengers are either having hysterical fits of laughter or have an unbelievable ability to fall fast asleep the instant they sit down.


China-Hangzhou-Construction-Mall-Tofu - The skyscraper ghost town. It was really quite surreal, there were 32 such buildings with as far as I could tell, no one living in them. Yet all the l

The skyscraper ghost town. It was really quite surreal, there were 32 such buildings with as far as I could tell, no one living in them. Yet all the landscaping and playground equipment were completed.
You could film the best zombie movie ever here.


China-Hangzhou-Construction-Mall-Tofu - The mall however was great. You cant really compare Australian westfields to the concept of a Chinese mall. Since so many people eat out in asian coun

The mall however was great. You cant really compare Australian westfields to the concept of a Chinese mall. Since so many people eat out in asian countries, the malls are much more a collection of restaurants and entertainment than they are supermarkets and stores with cheap baby clothes.
Despite all the buildings around it being seemingly vacant, it was quite busy.


China-Hangzhou-Construction-Mall-Tofu - The only supermarket is on basement level 2. An Ole which is an expensive foreign food only supermarket. It is massive and fancy. I enjoy looking in t

The only supermarket is on basement level 2. An Ole which is an expensive foreign food only supermarket. It is massive and fancy. I enjoy looking in these places a lot but rarely buy anything.
The varieties of pop corn were what had me amused this evening, whiskey flavoured, ham and pineapple?


China-Hangzhou-Construction-Mall-Tofu - On the roof of this mall there are 4 very fancy restaurants. All seem to have small private dining rooms for groups of 10 to 20 with butlers. I wasnt

On the roof of this mall there are 4 very fancy restaurants. All seem to have small private dining rooms for groups of 10 to 20 with butlers. I wasnt about to eat there on my own but I do enjoy appreciating the view from the roof. Theres no one else outside enjoying the roof garden.
I loved being up there on my own, its as if they constructed the entire garden just for me.


China-Hangzhou-Construction-Mall-Tofu - Next door theres what looks like an extension to the mall going on, I can stand and watch construction sites for hours.

Next door theres what looks like an extension to the mall going on, I can stand and watch construction sites for hours.


China-Hangzhou-Construction-Mall-Tofu - And now for my excellent dinner. I dont know the name of the place, as it was Chinese writing only on the sign and menu, but this is part 1 of my meal

And now for my excellent dinner. I dont know the name of the place, as it was Chinese writing only on the sign and menu, but this is part 1 of my meal. I think the closest I have had in Australia would be Dan Dan noodles, which is pork with spices, hand made noodles and no soup. This is similar but added strips of vegetables. It was awesome. The pork had a great spicy flavour with the right amount of szechuan pepper, the noodles were a perfect level of chewiness.
My drink in the background was freshly squeezed lemon soda (I watched the chef go crazy with lemons) with honey. Also excellent!


China-Hangzhou-Construction-Mall-Tofu - Part 2 of my meal was amazing. Bean curd with a rather unique sauce. It is hard to describe just how great the texture and flavour of it was. It was e

Part 2 of my meal was amazing. Bean curd with a rather unique sauce. It is hard to describe just how great the texture and flavour of it was.
It was even better when eating it with the noodles.

The cost for this meal was $7.

On the bus home I thought about this, it may be the best meal I have ever had?


China-Hangzhou-Construction-Mall-Tofu - Last picture, the mall also has an ice skating rink. The kids skating here are the real deal, doing proper spins and whatever despite appearing to be

Last picture, the mall also has an ice skating rink. The kids skating here are the real deal, doing proper spins and whatever despite appearing to be 10 years old.

After today, I will upgrade my opinion of Hangzhou to great. It gets the same recommendation as Nanjing - definitely worth visiting if you come to Shanghai. It may be worth waiting a year until at least the first 2 lines of the metro are running and the main street is no longer mud.


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