Add:431 Liuzhou Rd
Cuisine: Shaoxing and Ningbo
Ambience: There's not much atmosphere but the food is hearty. Following the aroma of Shaoxing wine, diners can easily find the eatery. It takes its name from the Xian Heng Jiu Jia (Xianheng Restaurant) from Lu Xun's novel "Kong Yiji." A big dining hall on the second floor seats 100 diners, who smoke and drink quite a bit and speak loudly.
Who to invite: Friends and family, those who want authentic taste and don't mind the casual, crowded, noisy environment.
Pros: The owner is a Shaoxing native so most of the popular dishes are available, as is savory Ningbo seafood. Portions are large and can be shared with friends. A range of Shaoxing wine is for sale.
Cons: Waiters don't speak English and the menu is in Chinese.
Recommended: If you like stinky tofu, this is the place for excellent fried stinky tofu (zha chou doufu 炸臭豆腐). Deep fried in hot oil, it's crisp outside but tender and juicy inside; it's much better than the street versions. It's served with homemade chili. Drunken black dates (zui hei zao 醉黑枣) is a typical Shaoxing desert. Marinated in wine for days, the dates have a complex taste, mellow and a bit smoky. In traditional Chinese medicine, black dates help enrich the blood and qi (energy flow) and are recommended for premenstrual, postpartum and menopausal women. Shaoxing lao san xian (绍兴老三鲜) is a hearty, savory stew with mushrooms, pork skin, fish and shrimp balls. Handmade balls are tender, the pork skin is succulent.
Don't order: Steamed pork with preserved vegetables is nothing special. The fennel was too hard, at least when we visited.
Drinks: Shaoxing rice wine and soft drinks
Cost: 180 yuan for three, including drinks