外婆家 – Waipojia (Grandmother’s House) Restaurant – Hangzhou

In Shanghai & Hangzhou on April 18, 2011 at 9:51 am

外婆家 is a popular restaurant that often pops up in food blogs online, so after a tiring morning trudging along West Lake (though the scenery was very pleasant), we contentedly sat down and waited for a seat.

It was a great disappointment.

One thing we ordered (and we ordered quite a bit despite only being a party of two) tasted quite good, another okay, the rest were mediocre or even bad.  The only exceptionable qualities this restaurant may have had, were that prices were extremely low and the dishes were extremely large – but these alone are not good enough reasons to eat at any restaurant.  Because the prices were so low it caused us to over-order, not knowing that the size of the dishes was humongous.  Inevitably, we wasted a lot that meal.

This was the “okay” dish.  It’s one that is quite common: Pork Slices with a lightly spicy dressing.  The taste of this was good but average, and the pork was certainly edible but was not the tender soft meat that one would expect, especially from such thin slices of meat.

Pork Slices with Spicy Dressing

The one dish I liked was this roasted pork.   Because there was a lot of fat surrounding the meat (which one shouldn’t eat for the pork slices are around 50% fat), the meat was tender, and the spiced powder was flavorful, making the entire dish more exciting.

Roasted Pork with Spiced "Chili" Powder

Vegetables tasted ok but were way too salty.


These razor clams were mediocre – they didn’t taste bad but they couldn’t be called “good” either; not all that fresh.  We were also afraid to eat them because they might not be cleaned well.

Razor Clams on a Sizzling Pan

We ordered this fish in minced green chili and peppercorn as it sounded and looked interesting, but somehow the chili and the fish didn’t seem to go all that well together.  The chili was so overpowering that the fish was rendered tasteless.

Fish with Minced Green Chili and Peppercorn

Noodles with fried eel and baby shrimp.  This is supposed to be a Hang Zhou specialty but came with no flavor at all.  It was bland, bland, bland.  The noodle was also not firm as how I would like it.

Pot of Noodles

A big plate of Nian Gao – Nian Gao that was too thick, too doughy, and too sweet.

Guifa Nian Gao - Fragrant Rice Cakes

外婆家 might be cheap and it might have big plates of food, but if the food isn’t good there is no reason to eat at such a restaurant, and I would suggest you use up your calories somewhere else.


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