Two Places to Visit and Three Things to Eat: An Interview with a Hefei Native
By Emma Hardy, Columbus Chinese Chamber intern
Hefei, Columbus’ sister city in Mainland China, is the capital of the 8th largest Chinese province and has a population of over 9 million people. Not only is it headquarters of a fast-growing electric vehicle company called NIO, Hefei is also a city of history, beauty, and flavor. A native of Hefei who spent a few years in Columbus recently shared with me some things that she thinks makes Hefei special.
First, she said that there are old and modern parts of Hefei that incorporate both Hefei’s history and its modern culture. An example of a gem that can be found in Hefei’s old culture District is Xiaoyaojin Park (逍遥津公园). The park is known for being an old battleground during the Three Kingdoms Period and the name Xiaoyaojin is even found in a text written by the famous Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi (庄子). Our informant also suggests that visitors to Hefei go to Shu Shan Forest Park (蜀山森林公园), home to Mt. Dashu, the highest mountain in Hefei and a popular hiking spot.
In terms of culinary delights, our friend enthusiastically recommended Lu Zhou Roast Duck Restaurant (庐州烤鸭店) which combines the northern and southern styles of making roast duck into a unique Hefei flavor. Lu Zhou roast duck was historically only served to royalty, but by the Ming Dynasty, the dish was being enjoyed among other social classes, as well. The restaurant’s other signature dishes are Hefei duck fat pancakes (合肥呀邮煎饼), soup dumplings (汤包), and sweet red bean porridge (赤豆糊)”. Our friend in Hefei says to eat the sweet red bean porridge with duck fat pancakes in order to achieve a balance of sweet and salty.
When Hefei and the rest of China come out of lockdown, there are many great places for American visits to see and things to eat in Columbus’ sister city.