In Suzhou, two classic restaurants are most illustrious for its authentic Suzhou dishes – Deyuelou and Songhelou. Located in the midst of silk shops and souvenir stores in the bustling Guanqianjie Street, the classic Suzhou Songhelou Restaurant was first founded in 1737, and was later reorganized twice in the 20th century. It is said that Emperor Qianlong would frequent the restaurant every time he visited Suzhou.
As is a common, defining feature of Huaiyang Cuisine, dishes served at Songhelou boast freshest seasonal ingredients and water products such as fish, shrimps and clams. Most dishes are on the sweet side. A signature dish invented by Songhelou is named Songshu Guiyu (“Squirrel Fish”), a dish known nationwide which is a fried fish completely deboned and dressed with sweet and sour sauce to resemble a squirrel.
Other recommendable dishes may include the melt-in-mouth cherry pork, spicy marinated duck, silver fish and water shield soup, bean curd with crab roe, boiled chicken marinated in salt and rice wine, etc.
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