Signature dishes: Squirrel-shaped Mandarin Fish, shelled fresh shrimps etc.
Songhelou Restaurant is the most famous local restaurant offering Suzhou cuisine. Located in the busiest area of Suzhou city, it is also regarded as one of the time-honored restaurants in China, together with Quanjude Roast Duck in Beijing and Lou Wai Lou in Hangzhou.
Songhelou Restaurant's name in Chinese characters. [Photo/Weibo: suzhoulvyouju]
Chinese people have historically favored the picture of a songhe (a crane on a pine) for its connotations of longevity, and the restaurant is named Songhelou because of this.
Songhelou Restaurant was founded in 1737 as a noodle restaurant, and has been in operation ever since, despite numerous ups and downs. It is said that Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) would frequently come to the restaurant each time he visited Suzhou.
|Bean curd and crab made by Songhelou Restaurant. [Photo/Weibo: suzhoulvyouju]|
Its most famous dish is Squirrel-shaped Mandarin Fish (Songshu Guiyu in Chinese), known nationwide. It is a fried fish completely deboned and dressed with sweet and sour sauce, and made to resemble a squirrel.
Squirrel-shaped Mandarin Fish made in Songhelou Restaurant. [Photo/Weibo: suzhoulvyouju]
At present, Songhelou Restaurant has 17 branches throughout the country, and eight in Suzhou.
The oldest branch is located at:
141 Guanqian Street, Gusu district, Suzhou
Tel： 0512-67700688, 0512-67272285
Opening hours：11:00-13:30 and 17:00-20:30 (advance bookings recommended)