adventure + discovery pass.
Famed for its natural scenery, Hangzhou and its West Lake have been immortalized by countless poets and artists. Kept spotlessly clean by armies of street sweepers and litter collectors, its scenic vistas draw you into a classical Chinese watercolour of willow-lined banks, mist-covered hills and the occasional stone-gate house and old residential lanes.
_best time to visit
The best times to visit Hangzhou are in spring (March-May) and fall (September-November), when outdoor attractions such as lakes, tea plantations, and water towns can be comfortably visited.
Hangzhou has a subtropical monsoon climate, mild and humid. Spring is warm and humid. Summer is hot with lots of rain. Autumn is cool. Winter is cold and dry, sometimes with snow.
_know before you go.
Like every city (except Beijing and Shanghai) in China, exchanging money is big problem. At least change around $200 at the airport when you arrive Hangzhou because you can only change money at the banks and banks ask for thousands of procedures to change even $10.
Yīhé Zángxiāng Beef Noodles // $$
A superb lunch stop, where the restaurant's namesake – beef noodles – is a must-order. These are done Lanzhou-style (read: magnificently fiery) and the meat is served separately so you can drop it in yourself.
Innocent Age Book Bar // $
You couldn't ask for a prettier setting than this cafe, set just down the slope of Bǎoshí Shān from Bǎochù Pagoda. Indoors, there's a quiet reading-room atmosphere and the shelves are full of books.
hang out here
The very definition of classical beauty in China, West Lake is utterly mesmerizing: pagoda-topped hills rise over willow-lined waters as boats drift slowly through a vignette of leisurely charm. Walkways, perfectly positioned benches, parks and gardens around the banks of the lake offer a thousand and one vantage points for visitors to admire the faultless scenery.
(Chinese Fried Dough)
This Chinese Beef Stir-Fry with You Tiao (a type of Chinese fried dough and a favorite breakfast/brunch treat) is a dish straight from Zhejiang Province. You won't find it on many restaurant menus outside of China, so you'll have to make it at home to experience it!
12 ounces flank steak (340g, sliced into 2-inch long pieces)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (plus 2 tablespoons)
2 pieces Chinese fried dough (you tiao)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
1 tablespoon minced shallot or red onion
1/2 cup beef stock (or chicken stock)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon vinegar
2 teaspoons cornstarch (mixed with 1 tablespoon water)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon scallion (chopped)
In a bowl, combine the beef, with 1 teaspoon cornstarch, a pinch of baking soda, and 2 teaspoons oil. Set aside for 10 minutes, or until the beef comes up to room temperature.
Cut your Chinese fried dough (you tiao) into 2-inch pieces and place them on a sheet pan.
Heat in an oven at 300 degrees F for 8 minutes, or until they are slightly crispy.
Heat your wok over high heat until just smoking, and spread 1 tablespoon of oil around the wok. Add the beef and sear for 2 to 3 minutes just until browned.
Remove from the wok and set aside.
Over medium low heat, add another tablespoon of oil to the wok, along with the sugar.
Once the sugar has melted, add in the shallots. After 2 to 3 minutes, add the stock, soy sauces, and vinegar. Bring the liquid to a simmer, and then add the beef and any juices from the bowl.
While the beef and sauce are simmering, slowly stir in the cornstarch and water mixture until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon.
Toss in the toasted fried dough and mix for 20 seconds, or until everything is coated in sauce. Transfer to a plate, and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and scallions.
Serve with steamed white rice.