I’ve taught English in many cities in China. None have had such a wide range of eating out options that I’m currently enjoying in Zhenjiang.
My campus at Jiangsu University is surrounded by an impressive range of restaurants and hawkers selling street food.
Unlike many other cities where the restaurants stop serving early, in Zhenjiang it’s possible to find good food to eat late at night.
Let me introduce you to some of my favorite places to eat out in Zhenjiang.
Don’t be fooled by the name of this place.
Although you can get a nice cup of tea or coffee here, their menu also includes a range of mains.
Last year, my colleagues and I used to come to this place for lunch every Friday and it was a regular and very enjoyable social activity for me.
My favorite dish here has got to be the Mediterranean seafood pasta.
It’s loaded with squid, prawns, clams and mussels. It’s simply delicious, especially when washed down with a glass of pear or watermelon juice.
I can quite easily end up paying about 50 RMB here as the glass of freshly squeezed juice, at 20 RMB, costs almost as much as the mains.
I was disappointed when this restaurant closed for refurbishment some months ago.
It recently re-opened, but when I went to check it out, I found that they had changed the menu from English to Chinese. I couldn’t read it!
With some difficulty, I managed to describe my favorite dish in Chinese, and luckily I got what I wanted.
I quickly took a photo of it with my phone to ensure I can keep ordering it in future.
This restaurant offers a variety of rice, meat and seafood dishes.
It’s another favorite of mine and that of my fellow teachers from Jiangsu University in Zhenjiang.
Here, I really can’t choose between the beef rice and the seafood noodles – they’re both really tasty.
I tend to alternate between the two!
A typical seafood dish at La Vie.
Noodles are a staple food in China and noodle places can be found across the country, including Zhenjiang.
Across the main road from my university campus is an area where there are many small cafes and restaurants. Among them are a few noodle restaurants.
You get to pick your own ingredients from a range of different meats, vegetables, mushrooms, eggs and noodles. They cook it for you while you wait.
The food here is sold by weight so the cost varies according to the ingredients you pick. It can be a bit pricey if you’re not careful!
Noodles in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province.
Venture out in the evenings to the ‘back street’ near the Jiangsu University campus in Zhenjiang. You’ll come to an area bustling with hawkers selling a huge assortment of Chinese street food.
This includes fried chicken, BBQ meat skewers, rice and noodles.
Here I regularly buy from the same guy. He offers a choice between fried rice and a variety of different noodles.
You can choose the type of meat you want too.
The cost? Just 15 RMB.
This restaurant is located in Zhenjiang’s Auchan Shopping Mall, a short bus ride away from my university campus.
As steak is one of my favorite foods, this steakhouse naturally caught my attention the first time I passed it. I came here last year to celebrate my birthday.
The menu has various steak options, all of which come in a sizzling hot plate with gravy, sweetcorn, boiled vegetables, fried egg and noodles (don’t ask, it’s China!).
Steak in China costs upwards of 70 RMB, depending on what kind of steak you have.
Unfortunately, the steakhouse seems to have closed recently. I hope this is temporary!
Everyone knows Kentucky Fried Chicken, or KFC for short.
Their “colonel’s secret recipe” made this one of my favorite places to have lunch back home in the UK.
Although they serve pretty much the same kind of burgers that you might find in your KFC back home, KFC outlets in China don’t serve two-piece or three-piece chicken meals.
KFC is a bit different in China.
Instead, they have food with a Chinese twist. For example, you can order roast chicken with rice and soup or a ‘combo platter’ of various snacks like popcorn chicken, chicken wings and chicken nuggets.
I was quite shocked at how much KFC costs in China. At an average price of 30 RMB per meal, it’s comparable to what you might pay in the UK.
You can probably guess from the name that this restaurant serves Japanese cuisine.
Being a big fan of sushi, this Zhenjiang restaurant caught my eye immediately the first time I walked past it.
The menu has a good selection of Japanese dishes. They come with either rice or noodles, a bowl of miso soup and Japanese tea.
My all-time favorite dish in this restaurant is eel with rice, accompanied of course by an assortment of sushi.
My favorite dish at the Japanese restaurant is eel.
The ‘chicken and beer’ place
Tucked away amongst the hundreds of small restaurants near the campus of Jiangsu University is an entrance and stairway leading up to a small and quiet restaurant.
This restaurant’s specialty is chicken. A small group of foreign teachers from Jiangsu University often go there for dinner.
Our favorite dish is called “The Wheel”.
It’s a huge, round wooden block containing an assortment of chicken prepared in different ways together with potato crisps, chips and banana fritters.
In the centre of the dish is a salad.
At 88 RMB, “The Wheel” is a bit pricey considering that half of it isn’t even chicken. And to wash it all down, you can order a jug of beer for 20 RMB.
The Wheel is not something you can eat on your own – definitely bring a friend.
The pizza place
Last but by no means least, you can get good pizza in Zhenjiang.
Near my university campus, there is a pizza restaurant that’s quite popular with me and my fellow teachers.
You have a choice of different sizes and different toppings. The price depends on the type of pizza you order and its size.
Eating out in Zhenjiang is a delight
One major perk of living and teaching in China is most certainly the wide range of great food available.
For me, the food places near my university in Zhenjiang have been a highlight.
If you venture outside the university area and deep into the city centre of Zhenjiang, there are plenty of other great places to eat.
This is quite unusual for such a small city.
Have you eaten out in Zhenjiang? Or any other small city in China? Tell me about your experience in the comments area below.