For my diet, I’m intended trying to avoid carbs, but when you're at Li Yu & His Liangtouwu, it’s extremely hard. 90% of their dishes are made with flour, and they are just too good to resist.
You must be wondering who Li Yu is. What is Liangtouwu? It all comes from a few Lanxi entrepreneurs because they barely ever go back home, so what they miss most is the food from their hometown, Lanxi town, Jinhua. When you mention Lanxi, you have to talk about Li Yu, who lived in the late Ming and early Qing Dynasty. He was a famous dramatist, a dramatic theorist, and a writer who was honored as the "Oriental Shakespeare", "World Drama Master" and "The Ancestor of Chinese Drama Theory". He is also a garden designer, makeup artist, fashion designer, gourmet, traveler, he initiated the leisure of culture, and knows how to enjoy life, how to play, and how to make money while being happy.
Liangtouwu pig is one of the ten most famous pig breeds in China. Liangtouwu means two-end-black. Mainly found in Jinhua, this special type of pig is great for making Hongshao Rou (Braised Pork), and Dongpo Pork. Liangtouwu’s growth cycle is about 13 ~ 14 months, and there aren't any additives, so that’s why it tastes so good.
The restaurant is located on Fengqi Road, in between Yan’an and North Zhongshan Road, and you can see the very busy chef team through the open kitchen making the dough, chopping, rolling, steaming, and frying. The first signature dish we had was Lanxi Meat Pie (兰溪肉大饼 8RMB). The dough was about 2 meters long, then it was shaped flat and filled up with minced pork and small spring onion, rolled up, and shaped flat again. It is cooked it in an oven, and when it’s done, it's cut short. Boy, is it good!
That goodness was followed by Lanxi Glutinous Rice Balls with Tofu and Pork (兰溪豆腐肉汤圆 15RMB). You need to know in Lanxi, the round rice balls are sweet, but the one we ate had a little something extra. That's salty filling, with the typical tofu, pork, spring onions and red pepper. You dip it in the homemade Lanxi chili sauce one mouthful at a time, and it's perfect.
Unlike the other meatballs, the secret for Lanxi Meatballs (兰溪肉圆 15RMB) is the mix. The mix ratio of the radish cubes, pork and sweet potato flour is 1:1:3. There's no need to slap these bad boys into a ball shape, so they should be called meat hunks, but after steaming, the permeated flavors are just awesome.
The next up was the Ji Zi Guo (鸡子馃 10RMB), a very traditional Lanxi snack. The most important ingredient here is the spring onion. It comes from a farm in Lanxi, is mixed with liangtouwu pork, and wrapped with exact 38 pleats. Eat when it’s hot and crispy, because it's so yummy that way!
The Homemade Liangtouwu Dumplings (两头乌肉饺子 25RMB) and Deep Fried Dough Stick (油条 6RMB) are also great. Everything was simply awesome. If I had to pick something that was not so great, it would be the Steamed Tofu Buns (豆腐包子 10RMB). Don't get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s bad, but I once had those fantastic ones from Jiande City where the skin of their Tofu Bun is so thin that it’s almost see through. In those, you can feel the juice is rolling inside, and the filling is mixed with tofu, red chili, garlic, spring onion. Moreover, it’s spicy and tasty. The skin of bun here, however, is a little too thick which covered the flavour of the filling, so you can barely taste it.
A part of Li Yu and His Liangtouwu was crowd-funded with 100 shareholders, so they are planning to brand the Lanxi snack national wide. The next one will be opened in the Kerry Center, and they are looking to open over 10,000 branches within ten years.
Li Yu and His Liangtouwu opens from 7am to 10pm. Parking is hard, but if you're lucky you might find a spot in the opposite alley.