Midtown Shangri-La Hangzhou and Cheng Zhong Restaurant (Hangzhou, China)
The other hotel I’ve stayed in Hangzhou was Midtown Shangri-La, Hangzhou. This Shangri-La hotel is the newest of the two in Hangzhou and interestingly this hotel is connected to the luxurious Kerry Centre Mall and about ten minutes to West Lake.
This stately and centrally located hotel is great. Check-in was speedy and for the most part the receptionists spoke English fairly well. I stayed at the Executive Club King room so my room is on the floor of that lounge.
My room was spacious with great natural light and a fantastic view of West Lake. If you look closely, you can even see the small dots of people crowding over the bridge. My king sized bed was a dream. Firm but too hard and I had a deep, restful sleep. The all marble bathroom was spacious and has a separate shower and bathtub. (Unfortunately, I didn’t have time for a soak in the tub.)
I’ve visited the Executive Lounge several times since it was warm and I needed some non-alcoholic beverages (like a local plum tea and Hangzhou’s own dragon well tea) to hydrate myself and there’s snacks throughout the day besides breakfast. Their afternoon tea is a very decent spread of sliced fruits (even unexpected show of passion fruit and whole fresh figs), Western inspired savory bites like crab meat tartlettes and melon and prosciutto.
Breakfast, in my opinion, is the lounge’s strong point with a lot of variety of Chinese, specifically Hangzhou dishes. The pork floss buns were freshly made and a good ratio of bun to pork floss. I really adored the made to order Hangzhou Pian Er Chuan Noodles (片儿川) and Hangzhou style shrimp wontons in a clear seaweed and chicken broth. Both soups were quite flavorful and the noodles/wonton were cooked perfectly.
I’ve had lunch at Cheng Zhong restaurant that’s just outside of the main hotel corridor that connects Kerry Centre mall. The restaurant is spacious and the majority is filled with locals and tourists who aren’t staying at the hotel – and that is the goal of this restaurant. When I perused the menu, it’s definitely on the affordable end considering it is a hotel restaurant. While I had many dishes, here are my favorite or notable items of this meal.
We started off with the cherry-shaped foie gras that’s a copy of Da Dong restaurant (Da Dong started that trend first). It was the most luscious foie gras I’ve had in China. Though the cherry gelee flavor doesn’t quite pierce through the fattiness of the liver but I appreciate their sourcing of very good foie.
I forgot the actual name of this beef dish above but it’s braised, fried and tossed in a sweet-savory soy glaze so the result was delicately crisp on the outside and soft and tender on the inside.
The fried and braised freshwater fish with thick jelly noodles and vinegar gravy is a very local Hangzhou dish. I never encountered this dish before and I was impressed how delicious the fish was and the gelatinous texture of these noodles actually work.
The two-tiered serving bowl of a tangbao (汤包), think an oversized soup dumpling one would drink with a straw initially, and a wonderful double steaming (or dun (炖)) chicken soup with mushrooms, goji berries that I’ve truly enjoyed.
The unexpected tong sui (糖水) or dessert soup made of raw barley (the large orbs that tasted floral and toothsome textured) and ossmanthus flowers in a dark brown sugar soup. It’s an interesting experience and definitely something I won’t ever find in the United States.