Gan Guo Ju $
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3/F, 198 Nanjing Xilu, near Huanghe Lu
HOURS: Daily 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-10 p.m.
COST: Entrées less than ¥100
METRO: People’s Square (Line 1, Line 2, Line 8), exit 9
South China’s Guizhou cuisine is one of the eight great traditional styles of Chinese food, but is little known outside of the country. However, its spicy and sour flavors are well represented at Gan Guo Ju.
The restaurant’s name means dry pot, referring to the method of cooking that typifies many Guizhou dishes. If you’re a fan of Sichuan and Hunan food, you’ll probably enjoy this style; it’s similarly piquant, but has an added kick of sourness.
Dishes tend to be dry cooked either in pots or griddles, with earthy herbs and vegetables, and are best enjoyed with nips of fiery Guizhou moutai spirit (if you can stomach it).
Wooden chairs and white tablecloths give a casual but sophisticated feel, setting Gan Guo Ju above the average regional restaurant.
© Susie Gordon from Moon Beijing & Shanghai, 2nd Edition