Return to 山外山

Return to 山外山

Hi!!! I’m back in Shanghai! Again? That’s right. Just 2 days after getting back, we headed out to Hangzhou for a VERY IMPORTANT celebration: GRANDPA’S 80th!!!!!!!

To say there’s much to celebrate would be a MASSIVE understatement. He’s mentored countless students as a professor (they still send him gifts and greetings!), published 12 books and numerous journal articles and has recently picked up poetry! Oh yeah, I forgot- he survived colon cancer and a stroke that disabled his left side and STILL insists on walking as much as possible!

One of his bucket list wishes is to visit Hangzhou and stay at the Xi Zi Hotel where Mao stayed (it’s also where Xi hosted the 2016 G20). My dad jumped right on it. But… where to eat….. 山外山 of course! Let’s get going!

山外山

山外山 is the go to place for celebrating in Hangzhou. It’s nestled right  in the heart of the botanical gardens- talk about dinner with a view! The fish head soup is the signature dish, but it’s hard to go wrong with any of their Hangzhou classics. For more info- check out my last post here. With that said, let’s eat!

Food

With 9 people, we really got to explore options! Here are the highlights!\

Pickled Radish- I’m a HUGE sucker for pickled radish, and to be honest, my standards are pretty low; however, the ones at 山外山 really stand out. The radish were perfectly sweet and crunchy with the perfect tang. Even better, a slight drizzle of sesame oil brought the perfect touch of incredible fragrance.

Stir-fried Salted Pork with Pickled Bamboo Shoots- My grandparents are Hunanese at heart, so no meal is complete without at least one salty stir fry. This dish hit the spot- the perfect balance between fat, salt and texture. They couldn’t get enough of it!

Longjing Shrimp- Hangzhou is known for two things: Longjing tea and fresh river/sea delicacies. Combine the two and this classic dish is born! While pretty much every restaurant claiming to serve Hangzhou cuisine serves this dish, 山外山’s is particularly fresh.

Chicken Soup Stewed Cabbage and Bok Choi- Veggie dishes typically don’t make the list, but this one definitely deserves a spot. The umami of the chicken soup brought out the natural sweetness of the bok choi and cabbage for a blanket of comforting freshness that really helped cut through all the richness.

Braised Short rib- Short rib definitely isn’t my favourite by any means, but 山外山 is having me reconsider. The meat was incredibly tender, but retained a delightful chew for texture. There was also a magical beefy, rich fragrance that lit up all the senses.

8 Treasures Fish head Soup- This is a MUST ORDER. Although, I’ve indulged in the otherworldly deliciousness before, I’d never had the luxury of ordering the “large”. Trust me, the difference isn’t just in the size- the “large” comes with sea cucumber and twice the mushroom, which really adds a new level of flavour.

Service and Atmosphere

The service and atmosphere are just as good as I remembered. The staff were extremely helpful assisting my grandpa. The food also arrived quickly as expected- even a bit too quickly given the celebratory nature of the gathering. We got a very nice window seat; unfortunately, the dark, rainy weather meant we couldn’t enjoy the beauty 😦

Overall Impression

Overall, we definitely made the right choice celebrating at 山外山… and… we’ll definitely be back for more 😉

Well, that’s it for this week! I look forward to another decade (and more) with my Grandpa!

I hope everyone has a great week… and… 1DAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!!!! Until next time, Bye!

 

 

 

 

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