ike most big cities in China, Shenzhen is full of migrants from all over the country. This is even more apparent in the young city of Shenzhen, where most of the population has come from an outside city or province. With this phenomenon comes food from China’s Dongbei region all the way to Xinjiang, Sichuan and Hong Kong. As a huge majority of Shenzhen’s outsiders come from Hunan province, almost every street in this city is littered with Hunan restaurants. Since they are so plentiful and easy to find, none of them have made it into this list. In no specific order, read on to find out about the best food in Shenzhen from (nearly) all over China.
1) Lao Yuanzi (老院子)
Why include Lao Yuanzi in this list if it’s not necessarily the “best” Sichuan restaurant in Shenzhen? Because it might be the oldest and most unique, making the dining experience the best and a great place for a special occasion dinner. And if the food isn’t the best Sichuan food in town, it is certainly in the top tier. As one of Shenzhen’s oldest institutions, Lao Yuanzi has a classic feel to it. This two-floor establishment is just upscale enough to be nice, but not over the top. All of the classic Sichuan dishes here are worth ordering – shuizhuyu (spicy fish in boiling spicy oil), gongbao jiding (kung-pao chicken), ganbian sijidou (pan-fried string beans). And since in the heart of old downtown, there’s always plenty going on in the neighborhood after dinner’s over.
Add: 1-2/F, Qiche Building, 45 Zhenhua Lu, Futian District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0755 8332 8400
Opening Hours: 09:00-21:00
Getting there: Bus No. 9, 375, 295 or n17 to Hongling Weipeng Middle School, then walk about 100 meters towards the Qiche Dasha.
2) Guiyou (贵友京菜馆)
There are a few decent Peking duck restaurants in Shenzhen, but none as authentic as Guiyou just south of CITIC Plaza. Anybody who has been to Beijing knows that it’s hard to find Peking duck outside of China’s capital city, but this place hidden inside a tacky mall comes pretty close. It doesn’t feel very authentic walking into a mall and riding the escalator to the second floor, but as soon as you walk into Guiyou, the furniture, decor, paintings – everything feels like old Beijing. The birds are actually quite affordable here too. A seasoned Peking duck eater will tell you that the ducks are not cut properly, but they sure taste good. This restaurant also serves Beijing’s own Yanjing beer – perhaps the best Chinese beer there is. The other food on the menu is also good, which is something that many Peking duck restaurants lack.
Add: 2/F, Taiwan Huayuan Dasha, Dongyuan Lu, Futian District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0755 8224 2318
Getting there: Bus No. 202, 25, 29, 302 or 305 to Shanbu Nan (上步南) station, and walk towards Taiwan Huayuan. You can also take the metro to kexueguan and head south of CITIC Plaza until you hit Dongyaun Lu.
3) Talimuhe (塔里木河大酒楼)
Looking for a nice relaxing evening? Don’t go to Talimuhe. If you’re looking for a Xinjiang-themed dining experience to get the night started with a bang, this is the place for you. There are hundreds of Xinjiang restaurants in Shenzhen, but this one is the most fun, and the food is on par with the rest. The decor and general ambience are what draw a lot of patrons here, and the live singing and dancing on stage is a fun addition. Don’t sit too close to the stage though – this one goes to eleven. Like most Xinjiang restaurants, the more you have in your group, the more you can order, and the more fun you’ll have. Order an entire lamb if you’re up for it, or the veggie shaomianpian (flat noodles) for a taste of the other end of the spectrum. Xinjiang Heipi (black beer) is on the menu too, a must-have at any Xinjiang restaurant.
Add: Dongyuan Lu, Binhe Xin Cun No. 53, Futian District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0755 2537 0698
Opening hours: 10:00-23:00
Getting there: Bus No. 14, 214, 302, 335 or 377 to Shangbu Primary School, then walk about 40 meters towards the restaurant with flashing neon lights.
4) Victory (胜记)
Being so close to Hong Kong, Shenzhen has more than a handful of delicious Hong Kong-style diners and dim sum restaurants. Victory will rival even the best dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong. It has a very clean and upscale atmosphere – assistants will lock your bag to your chair, give you a tie to keep it out of your way, and cover your mobile phone in a plastic baggie if you place it on the table. But besides the over-the-top service, Victory also offers authentic dim sum, fresh-squeezed juices, and other Hong Kong-style dishes. Must-haves include the chashao bao (steamed bbq pork buns), Shanghai-style xiaolong bao (soup dumplings) and spiced beef strips. Finish the meal off with an assortment of cute animal-shaped sweets – the presentation will make you want to pull out your camera.
Add: 3/F, Zhuoyue Shidai Guangchang (Excellence Times Square), Yitian Lu, Futian District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0755 2398 9133/9122
Opening hours: 10:00 -24:00
Getting there: Ride the metro to gouwugongyuan. Walk south out of exit C to the Zhuoyue building. Victory is accessible by a street-facing elevator from Yitian Lu. Or, Bus No. 3, 71, 379 or 398 to Zhuoyue Building.
5) Huayuan Jiaozi (花园饺子馆)
What’s a list of top Chinese restaurants without a dumpling place? Admittedly Shenzhen’s dumpling selection must be one of the worst in all of China, but Huayuan Jiaozi is the real deal. This hole-in-the-wall is busy every night, and the dumplings with homemade skins rival many of Beijing’s best. Order any of the dumpling varieties here and you’ll be satisfied. Other recommendations include the disanxian (potato, eggplant and pepper dish) and the classic jiagurou (boiled pork bones).
Add: Xinzhou Yi Jie, Xinxzhou Cun, Futian District, Shenzhen
Opening hours: 09:30-22:30
Getting there: Bus No. 229, 231, 236, 28, 337, 34 or 169 to Futian Shiyan Middle School, then walk to the Hubei Dasha and head down Xinzhou Yi Jie – Huayuan Jiaozi is on the left.
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