Food & Restaurants in Tianjin
Tianjin cuisine places a heavy focus on seafood, due to Tianjin's proximity to the sea. Prominent menus include the Eight Great Bowls (八大碗), a combination of eight mainly meat dishes. It can be further classified into several varieties, including the rough (粗), smooth (细), and high (高). The Four Great Stews (四大扒) actually refers to a very large number of stews, including chicken, duck, seafood, beef, and mutton.
Tianjin also has several famous snack items. Goubuli Baozi (狗不理包子) is a famous and traditional brand of Baozi(steamed stuffed bun) that is famous throughout China. Guifaxiang Mahua (桂发祥麻花) is a traditional brand of mahua (fried dough twist). Erduoyan Zhagao (耳朵眼炸糕) is a traditional brand of Zhagao, or fried rice cakes.
- Goubuli (狗不理包子; Gǒubùlǐ Bāozi), 77 Shandong Rd, Heping District (和平区山东路77号; Hépíngqū Shāndōnglù), . Tianjin style steamed buns restaurant also serving other dishes. Expect ¥50-100 for a couple.
- DaFuLai (大福来), a few branches in the city. Locals all know and love DaFuLai. It serves halal breakfast. According to legend, Empire Qianlong once visited this noshery in Tianjin, and at that time it mainly sold pancake. After having the pancake, the emperor asked for some soup. The hostess was unprepared, and she broke a pancake into small pieces, added boiled water, spices and seasoning. The emperor liked the taste, and gave the dish a name: GuoBaCai 锅巴菜, or GaBaCai 嘎巴菜, which it is named locally. After the emperor left, his retinue told the hostess: "Your luck has come. (Da Fu Lai = Big Luck Come)" Since then, DaFuLai's GuoBaCai has become one of the most popular breakfast dishes in Tianjin. While you might not appreciate the taste (many Chinese from other area do not like it either), DaFuLai is a very good place for people-watching, since almost all the customers there are local. Besides GuoBaCai, the tofu soup is also good (and sells fast). Expect to share table with others.
- Sheraton Hotel, Zijinshan Rd, Hexi District, . Fine dining available at one of three top quality restaurants available onsite.
- Bawarchi, 3/F Shanggu Business Complex West Building, 69 Tianta Rd, Nankai District, . Great Indian food, cooked in a traditional Indian tandoor clay oven by Indian chefs.
- Helen's Cafe (Hǎilún kāfēi; 海伦咖啡), Heping District, He Yan Dao Number 116, (Close to Qixiangtai Lu and the Wu Jia Yao Number 2 Bridge); Tiānjīn shì hépíng qū hé yándào 116 hào (wú jiā yáo 2 hào qiáo páng); 天津市和平区河沿道116号（吴家窑2号桥旁）. An excellent place to eat simple western food like hamburgers, fries, and pizzas. During the day, it is a nice and quiet place to study while you eat lunch. At night time, it's a very lively place for foreign expats to get drunk. Free Wi-Fi is available.
- Qishilin (Kiessling). Western food with good reputation.
- YY Beer House, 3 Aomen Rd, Heping District (Behind the International Building), . A great inexpensive Thai restaurant offering a wide selection of beers. A great place to visit during the Thai Water Splashing festival in the spring!
- Aulare Urban Latin Restaurant (艾伊莎贝西餐厅), Magnetic Plaza Building A4 2-16 (Binshui Xi Dao Nankai District), , e-mail:[email protected]. At Aulare, you can experience Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and South and Central American flavors.
- Kudos Thai, 88 Chengdu Rd, Heping District (Just near the communication bank of china, close to Guilin Rd), . 11:30-late. Well decorated Thai restaurant where the environment is cozy and modern. All food is authentically made by a Thai chef, without MSG or artificial additives. They've got a beautiful yard and nice terrace with a good view. ¥80-120.
- Amazon Brazilian B.B.Q. Bar, 189 Nanjing Rd, Heping District (In the basement of the Exchange), . Does exactly what it says on the tin and has an enthusiastic, if slightly kitschy Filipino band providing live music as you munch.
- Alli Baba, 2 Hutong, Tongan Rd, Nankai University, .Featuring international cuisine and foreign student clientele close to the Nankai University campus, which has a whole range of dishes such as pasta, pizza, salad, etc.
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