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Hangzhou’s Imperial Street Night Life May 18, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in China, Travel.
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Hangzhou's Zhongshan Road at night

Apologies for the long hiatus.  I’m back to continue on the posts from my March journey to China.  Quick recap: We went to Hangzhou, a popular tourist city 45 minutes away from Shanghai by bullet train.  We checked out Zhongshan Park by West Lake and had dinner at the famous Lou Wai Lou.

Anyway, the night was still young and we decided to take a cab to check out Zhongshan Road, otherwise known as the ‘Imperial Street of Southern Song Dynasty’.  According to the guide book, it is 5.3km in length and 13 metres wide, which is basically the same dimensions the street had back in the Southern Song Dynasty.

This is the parallel street where we got off the cab - see all the restaurants lined up on the right?

This is a great place to go if you want to check out the local nightlife.  On the parallel and perpendiular streets there are plenty of local restaurants with traditional Hangzhou cuisine, except significantly cheaper than the more touristy places like Lou Wai Lou.  We tried some local pan fried bread, which is enormous when made but cut up into more manageable wedges.  Delicious.

(click of ‘more…’ to read on see the pics)

Zhongshan Road itself is also very pretty and very wide, with traditional buildings on either side, bright lights and cultural restaurants, shops and stalls all over the place.  There was this one restaurant that enjoyed serving tea with people dressed in traditional attire (from those ancient Chinese martial arts movies) and pouring tea with exceptionally long spouts.

An emptier part of the street

There were stalls serving fragrant local food, and it was a shame we went after dinner because it looked tantalising.  The only complaint was that the locals liked to spit shells and bones and what not on the ground as opposed to the bins right next to them.  Force of habit, I guess.

The food stalls

We were thirsty from all the walking around the MSG from dinner, so we decided to get some fresh juice.  There was this shop that sold bubble teas, pearl teas and fruit juices, etc, and they had this sign saying ‘100% Fruit Juice’ out front for an insanely low price.

Naturally we went up and just to make sure, confirmed that it was indeed 100% juice.

‘Yes, 100%,’ the guy said.

But when he started making the juice, we saw him pumping what looked like syrup into the cups.  When we questioned what he was doing, he answered, ‘Yes, 100% juice concentrate.’

We didn’t end up getting the juice.

A statue of the legendary warrior Guan Yu (I think there is a movie out about him recently)

A replica of a traditional marriage carriage

A bronze buddha with kids all over it!

On the whole, Hangzhou’s Imperial Street was a pleasure to visit.  You can take your time looking through the various shops and stalls or you can do a quicker walkthrough like we did.  Either way I would say it’s a must visit at night.

More stalls

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