On the Lake
One of the best known restaurants on the lake, Louweilou, in my mind was a disappointment. I am very much a gourmet, though I can appreciate a simple hamburger as well as the next guy. But as such, I've begun to notic that, in China, it doesn't matter if you go to the most expensive place or a little family joint, the food just about tastes the same. The reason for this, of course, is the obsessive and relentless use of MSG. I'm sure there are some of the top places that don't taste the same, but no one place in China has really stood out as being "oh so good".
However, at Louweilou, they offered things that were unique... chicken, baked in newspaper and mud (what it looks like) and called Beggar's Chicken. It was too expensive for our budget, as was the Vinegar Fish, but that's what they're known for and they had some other good to decent food. It has a nice view of the lake.
The Yuefei Temple, one of Hangzhou's most popular sights, is located just north of West Lake along Beishan Road, a stone's throw from the northern end of Su Causeway. It is more of a memorial dedicated to Yue Fei, a Southern Song general from Hangzhou who successfully defended the Chinese against invading barbarians from the north in the 12th century. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister and Emperor became jealous of his successes and popularity. They falsely charged him with treachery and had him executed at the age of 39, along with his son. Twenty years later, the next Emperor had all charges against him anulled and Yue Fei was reburied here with full honours. Yue Fei's story is very well-known in China, and is probably one of the stories that all Chinese, rich or poor, old or young, have heard. The temple, therefore, can be extremely crowded with Chinese visitors. Entry fee is RMB20.