Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I had not an inkling of an idea of what Northeastern Chinese cuisine would be like until moving up north. But as it turns out, the food (just like in southern China) is right up my alley…which brings me to my favorite restaurant of the moment at the Hilton Dalian: Dongbei Street (Northeastern street).

The dumpling station
Dongbei Street's dumpling station dining area 

Dongbei Street captures you from the moment you enter the place because of its unique design. The restaurant was inspired by the ancient markets and streets of China where the people would gather in outdoor tables and chairs as they dined on freshly cooked fare. This is evident in the restaurant’s wide open corridors and market-style display of food.

The hotpot station
Wide corridors resembling that of a street in ancient China

Described as an “interactive” restaurant, Dongbei draws you in at first glance with their skilled chefs preparing food in a live kitchen setting. My favorite part is that there is not "one entire menu". Customers are encouraged to pick out and shop for their food. Once you choose from the fresh or frozen fish, array of raw vegetables, various meats, dumplings and fresh & dried noodles available, you can then select whether you want it steamed, boiled in a clay pot, or grilled to perfection. There are also a wide range of sauces (sweet, spicy, salty) to choose from. I decided to have some freshly made noodles with fresh dumplings in a hot soup with some spicy sauce, one of my favorite meals to have in China. It was delicious!

My hearty noodle soup with freshly made dumplings
The noodle station with freshly made and dried noodles
A selection of fish and meats
Raw vegetables to choose from
So what exactly is Northeastern cuisine? Much of the food in this region is based on hearty fare (always a plus!) due to especially cold and harsh winters. Pickled cabbage (suan cai) is very popular and traditionally made by most households. Other common dishes are wheat noodles, steamed buns, pork & chive dumplings, “suan cai” hot pot, cumin lamb skewers and congee. Raw vegetables and raw seafood are also enjoyed in the coastal areas. Here in Liaoning province, the cuisine is described as colorful and strong-tasting with many flavors (especially sweet and salty).

2/F, Hilton Dalian
1 Gangpu Rd. Zhongshan District
Dalian, Liaoning 116001 CHINA
Tel: (86) 411 86770000