Whenever people ask me what my favorite restaurant in Hangzhou is, I tell them Jin Sha. Housed in the scenic Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake, Jin Sha is an elegant Chinese restaurant showcases the best of Hangzhounese cuisine. It was featured ‘Best 50 Restaurants in China’ by Food & Wine Magazine since its opening.
Last Visit: Aug.30.2015 (Lunch)
Address: Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou, 5 Lingyin Lu, Xihu, Hangzhou (杭州市西湖区灵隐路5号西子湖四季酒店)
This was my xx time at Jin Sha but never get tired of their dishes. The menu features a wide range of dishes include traditional Hangzhounese flavors, Shanghainese dishes and Huaiyang dishes as well. Seasonal dishes are also available which use the best produce of the season. Jin Sha also serves quality dim sum during lunch time.
* Chef adjusted the portion size for us, as we were a pretty small party of two.
Prices refer to the portion before adjustment.
Very few restaurants in Hangzhou offers satisying dim sum, Jin Sha is no doubt my top place to go for. Besides the regular items i had such as Steamed pork dumplings with hariy crab meat (蟹粉小笼, 52/4pcs), Steamed vegetarian dumplings with black truffle (黑松露素菜蒸饺,58/3pcs), Baked BBQ prk bun with sweetened apple (酥皮苹果叉烧包, 42/3pcs), etc, we decided to try something we never had before. Matsutake (松茸) is one of the best produce of the season, so we went for the Deep-fried spring roll (松茸白菜素春卷) , filled with assorted vegetables. The skin was very crispy and not oily at all, the filling was quite simple-flavored while the entire piece really satisfied my spring-roll-craving.
Scallion pancake is a very common traditional snack in Jiangnan area (江南), but with foie gras paste? I was infatuated with this creative dish that combines the flavors from East and West since i had it years ago. Till now, it is still one of my favorite dishes at Jin Sha.
The goose liver paste was tooped with caramelized hazelnuts and raisins, the server mixed up the paste for us to be served with the scallion pancakes. Each perfectly deep-fried penny pancake has a golden, crispy skin, with a warm and soft center. The fragrance of scallion balanced very well with the smooth goose liver paste. Certainly a must-try.
Slow-cooked lotus root filled with glutinous rice (糖藕) is a very tradtional Hangzhounese dish that you shouldn’t miss out when you visiting Hangzhou. Its red-pink color comes from a kind of red rice that cooked together with the stuffed lotus in water. Compare to the more traditional version served in Hubin 28 (湖滨28), Jin Sha’s is a bit different for its lighter sauce and addition of red beans in the glutinous. The lotus root and glutous rice were perfectly cooked and flavored, the osmanthus flavor brought a lovely scent to the dish. Every bite is very enjoyable.
Although considered a Shanghainese dish, people in Hangzhou also love this dish and its quite commonly seen in most local restaurants. While to differenciate with most other restaurants, Jin Sha’s deep-fried pomfret was made-to-order (need 15 minutes) and served warm. Inside its brown crsipy skin was very tender and umami flesh, the sweet soy sauce works beautifully.
Some people may judge about the orgin of the previous ‘traditonal’ dishes, as stuffed lotus root and deep-fried pomfret are also featured in Shanghai Suzhou and Huaiyang cusines. However, ‘Songsao’ cod fish soup is unquestionable ‘belongs’ to Hangzhou. There is an interesting story behind the name of this dish (which is not my focus point). The cod fish soup was blended with sliced mushrooms, carrot, black fungus, cucumber and ginger; the cod cubes was lightly deep-fried to enhance the aroma and flavor of the soup, although it looks plain, the creamy and umami flavors lead to endless aftertastes.
Besides the traditional flavors, deep-fried prawns with wasabi mayo is another dish i always enjoyed. The prawn was deep-fried and seasoned evenly with homemade wasabi mayonnaise, served on a bed of fresh fruit cubes for a balance. I always encountered a difficult time before having it, as it was too large in size and i don’t know how to start with (only chopstickes were served). It is a very flavorful dish you should try, even i may not classifiy its texture perfect or tender for everyone’s liking. This dish is available in both single portion and shared large plate, priced at CNY 78 and 298 respectively. But i recommend the single portion to avoid too heavy.
Most of the other dishes we just had are also avialble at other restaurants, i recommend merely because Jin Sha serves the best flavors in my opinions. Boiled sea whelk in rice wine sauce is a dish you won’t get anywhere else in town, i consider it another highlight of the menu and strongly recommend this dish.
The aromatic rice wine sauce spread over the table and makes my mouth watering everytime. The entire dish was prefectly steamed in an eletronic steamer; the flavor of rice wine went through the whelks very well.
Some of my friends don’t know how to eat whelk and told me ‘no’ when i made the order, but seriously, no such worries at Jin Sha as the organs of every single whelk were removed, what you need to do is to pick out the edible part in the shell with a tooth pick.
I am sure foodies have some knowlege about this ‘magic’ pyramid pork before coming to Hangzhou. Although it tastes like regular ‘Dongpo’ pork (东坡肉) and much more overpriced in comparison, trust me, you have to try it. It is a piece of edible art that wonderfully showcases the knife work of the chef. The pyramid was sliced into over 25 layers, if you hold one slice from the outer-layer with your chopstick, you will find the entire ‘slice’ is on and on.
Inside the pyramid is braised bamboo shoots, which absorbed all the essence flavors from the pork; surrounded by sauteed bok choy for a balanced flavor.This dish is served with a kit steamed pumpkin bun, which is served warm and very soft. Some of my friends prefer the chestnut pancakes served at Hubin 28 as it can absorb some lefty oils from the pork. I found both have their two sides so i don’t want to judge too much on this. Help yourself stuff some sliced pork and bamboo shoots with the bun for a complete feast. (This dish needs 25-min prepartion)
in Sha offers a wide range of noodle dishes from different areas in China, i usually have the local ones, such as ‘Hangzhounese’ noodle soup with sliced pork and bamboo shoots (Pian’er chuan) and noodle braise yellow fish soup. Among the two noodles we had – ‘Shanghainese’ noodles with scallion soy sauce (开洋葱油拌面, 25) and ‘Hangzhounese’ noodle soup with sliced pork and bamboo shoots (Pian’er chuan 片儿川, 38) , i certainly stands on the Hangzhounese side.
The noodle soup was served in a cute bamboo shoots. Traditionally, the first step is the enjoy the soup base – braised to white-colored, very umami. The ‘topping’ (浇头) of the noodle soup was the traditonal pan-fried bambbo shoots with sliced pork. Noodles were not traditional Hangzhounese round-style (which i really hates), the noodles itself was very tasty by taking advantage of its oblate shape.
In comparison, Shanghainese noodles with scallion soy sauce with dried shrimp is a bit dry for my liking. But this dish itself was pretty well-done. The noodle didn’t stick together, neither too oily. It was also very nice flavored with soy sauce and wok-fried scallions.
A meal is imcomplete without desserts. This is a quite hot summer and we were hungry for some liquidity and iced desserts. Stewed pear and wild rice is one of chef’s recommend desserts. The pear was stewed to a soft and moist texture, it was quite juicy and its naturally sweetness makes the simple soup base delciious. It is a very refreshing and delight dessert.
Jin Sha’s warm-served walnut puff is my all-time-favorite among all the desserts on the menu. It was made into a vivd walnut shape, with a whole pack of crushed walnuts inside its flaky ‘shell’. Stewed peach gum with osmanthus was a seasonal dessert which is also quite refreshing and balancing dessert to pair with the walnut puff.
Personally speaking, Jin Sha is much better than the award-wining 28 Hubin Road (湖滨28), which is featured in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants for continous years. Every dish at Jinsha is delectiable, every visit here is impressive and enjoyable. The service is a Four-Seasons-quality which would never disappoints. Another reason i prefer Jin Sha over 28 is its ambiance – rockery, waterfull, gardens, lawn and a pound with mandarin ducks to impressive your meal.