Best restaurants in Hunan

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Changsha

    Huǒgōngdiàn

    Don't miss the experience of eating this culinary landmark, established in 1747 and set around a small temple courtyard. Downstairs has a Hunan menu and dim sum trolley; upstairs is the self-service area (perhaps easier to navigate), presenting an array of small dishes, steamed buns, skewers, soups and much more. Portions are inexpensive but small, so come prepared to spend. Dishes to look out for include: Máojiā hóngshāoròu (毛家红烧肉; Mao-style braised pork), làjiāo chǎoròu (辣椒炒肉; pork fried with chillies) and qīngtāng miàn (清汤面; non-spicy vegetable soup noodles) and choù dòufu (臭豆腐; stinky tofu). Outside is a takeaway window. The Wuyi Dadao branch, near the train station, is less atmospheric, but slightly cheaper and has a photo menu.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Fenghuang

    Zuì Xiāngxī

    One of Fenghuang's most popular restaurants, the speciality here is a type of fish stew (石锅鱼, shíguō yú), cooked at your table in a delectable broth. It's a Chinese menu only, but the owner speaks some English and the red stars indicate house specialities. Also good is the cauliflower drypot (干锅有机花菜, gānguō yǒujī huācài), loaded with chillies and garlic.

  • Restaurants in Fenghuang

    Miss Yang Restaurant

    Specialising in local cuisine, particularly that of the Miao and Tujia people, such as Tuo River fish (沱江小鱼, Tuó Jiāng xiǎoyú), this intimate restaurant serves tasty delights in an atmospheric upstairs setting of varnished-wood furniture and colourful cushions. It also does a classic Jiangxi chicken stew called sān bēi jī (三杯鸡), and its cured pork (腊肉, là ròu) dishes are superb. Other good choices include the spicy fish and sour cabbage soup (酸菜鱼; suāncaìyú) and tǔdòu fěn (土豆粉), a rice-noodle dish from neighbouring Guizhou province.

  • Restaurants in Changsha

    Sōnghuājiāng Jiǎoziguǎn

    Not a romantic choice, this bright, bustling place specialises in the mellow cuisine of northern China. Dumplings (饺子; jiǎozi) are the speciality and come in many varieties, including pork and chives, lamb and onion, and just pork. There are also tasty lamb kebabs and fine beef-filled fried bread. There's a picture menu. The dumplings are priced by the liǎng (两; 50g), which gets you six dumplings. You must order at least two liǎng (èr liǎng) of each type of dumpling and one portion is generally sufficient.

  • Restaurants in Changsha

    Huǒgōngdiàn – Wuyi Dadao

    This Wuyi Dadao branch of Huǒgōngdiàn is a cavernous restaurant with stone tabletops, diligent staff and traditional music wafting over diners. The dim sum and cold veggie dishes come around on squeaking trolleys, but the standout dishes are on the menu, especially the wildly popular Mao-style braised pork (毛氏红烧肉; máoshì hóngshāoròu). It's a great place for the late-night munchies.

  • Restaurants in Changsha

    Lǎo Chángshā Lóngxiāguǎn

    This cavernous and raucous warehouse-like dining hall is the most enjoyable place to sample one of Changsha's signature dishes: spicy crayfish (龙虾; lóngxiā). You may need to wait for a table, so grab a number, a cold beer and wait on a stool outside before plunging into the chilli-laced action. The crayfish options – printed along the top of the tick-list menu – are as follows: ordinary (长沙口味虾; Chángshā kǒuwèi xiā), steamed (长沙蒸虾; Chángshā zhēngxiā) and deep fried (长沙油爆虾; Chángshā yóubào xiā). All are huge ¥98-portions, enough for three or four people to share. Alternatively, try the slightly smaller barbecued crayfish-tail skewers (烤虾尾; kǎo xiāwěi; ¥58), about right for two to share. Note there are many other restaurants dotted around town with the same name, so make sure you get the right one.

  • Restaurants in Changsha

    Xīhúlóu Jiǔjiā

    About 9km northeast of the city centre, the world’s biggest Chinese restaurant, according to the Guinness World Records and a plaque on the wall, is a village of five kitchens, staff of 1000, and banquet halls, stages, courtyards and gardens to entertain 5000 guests. The picture menu is a textbook on regional cuisines, plus there’s an alley of street food. Take bus 810 from the Wanjiali Plaza metro stop.

  • Restaurants in Fenghuang

    Soul Cafe

    This upmarket cafe serves proper coffee (from ¥28) and the setting is lovely, with sofas, comfy chairs, lampshades everywhere and river views. If you want to push the boat out, there are imported wines, Cuban cigars and hookah pipes (¥90). A second location is across the river.

  • Restaurants in Changsha

    Taiping Jie

    A good place to start the night is Taiping Jie, a pedestrianised street between Wuyi Dadao and Jiefang Xilu. One of Changsha’s oldest surviving streets, it has a mix of street food, tea stands and souvenir shops (including a stinky tofu concept store).

  • Restaurants in Fenghuang

    Soul Too

    Italian-style cafe serving coffee and pizza. It's a branch of Soul Cafe.