A Hunanese eatery with outdoor seating passes the test of time, serving up downhome Hunanese grub that hasn't disappointed in more than a decade! Think Fried Potatoes with Fatty Beef and Succulent Pickled Cucumbers!
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There are several Hunanese restaurants on Youyi Road in Shenzhen's Luohu district, and Furongwang Restaurant is one of the best.
I started eating at the Furongwang Restaurant more than 10 years ago, and the only thing that has changed over the years is the interior, which has been upgraded twice.
Still the same great food, the same lack of pretense, and the same friendly service (it helps if you can speak Mandarin).
The restaurant serves Hunanese cuisine, which bears little resemblance to the Cantonese cuisine that is usually associated with Chinese cuisine in Hong Kong and overseas.
China is a huge country, and each region has its own cooking style, but the cooking styles of 8 provinces stand out. Hunanese cuisine is considered to be one of China's Eight Great Cuisines.
Click here for more on Hunanese cuisine
Fried Potatoes with Fatty Beef
I've been to snazzier Hunanese eateries in Shenzhen, but for yummy fried potatoes with fatty beef, you can't beat this place.
Don't take my word for it. I've got a Hunanese buddy, and he says the same thing!
They are kind of like the home fries I used to enjoy at greasy spoons in New York City, but with lots more garlic and copious quantities of green and red chilies!
My mouth waters just THINKING about them!
Other favourite dishes include the Shredded Potatoes in your choice of garlic or chilies, the Hand Pulled Chicken (no bones!!!), and the best pickled cucumbers I've ever tasted.
Nobody else seems to get the exact right balance of crunchiness and zest.
Auntie Ma's Tofu
Both Hunanese cuisine and Sichuanese cuisine (another one of China's Eight Great Cuisines) are known for their spiciness, but there is one thing that sets them apart.
Sichuanese chefs use lots of numbing spices, which are usually absent from Hunanese cuisine.
While the menu at Furongwang is essentially Hunanese, there are a few Sichuanese dishes, and Auntie Ma's Tofu is one of them. It's another one of my favourite dishes on the restaurant's menu.
Click here for more on Sichuanese cuisine
Cutting Edge Service
Many restaurants would be upset if you ate something that you didn't buy there, so I am embarrassed when my dining companion insists that I ask the waitress for a knife so she can cut a papaya in half that she wants to eat for dessert.
A few moments later, a chef emerges from the kitchen – with a knife in hand – and cuts it for us!!!
The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating. I only eat indoors when it's either raining (although they usually pull out awnings when that happens) or it's simply too hot (or cold) to eat outside.
Because on this particular night we are dining outside, several ambulant salesmen and women approach us peddling their wares. During our meal I let myself get talked into …
Buying Some Candied Apples …
Buying More Cherries Than I Need …
Having My Shoes Shined …
The woman should have paid me a commission. After I have my shoes shined, everyone else in the restaurant – who had been giving her the cold shoulder – decide to have their shoes shined, too!
Michael Taylor enjoys a yummy dinner at Furongwang Restaurant, his favourite Hunanese eatery in Shenzhen, China.
As a city of migrants, Shenzhen is full of restaurants from all over China. Two of the most popular cooking styles are Sichuanese and Hunanese cuisine, and this is just one of dozens – if not hundreds – of Hunanese restaurants dotting the city.
I've tried many Hunanese restaurants in Shenzhen over the years, but this one has passed the test of time. It's the one I keep coming back to – and the one I take out of town guests to.
Furongwang Restaurant, No. 7 Youyi Road, Luohu District, Shenzhen.
The restaurant is about a 15 or 20 minute walk from the Guomao Metro Station, which is one stop from the Hong Kong border.
Click here for more on regional Chinese cuisine
Make It Happen!
Shenzhen is a modern city with all manner of accommodation, from luxurious 5 star resorts to modest dormitories to a capsule hotel with capsules renting for just over US$10 a night.
As a city of migrants, Shenzhen has thousands of restaurants, cafes, and food stalls serving regional Chinese dishes from all over the country as well as the national cuisines of countries all over the world.
Do you have a favourite Chinese restaurant you can recommend?
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