This must be Xuzhou's hottest (pun intended!) breakfast spot!
To buy your food, first you go to the cashier and tell her what you want to order -- menu is on the wall behind her and in Chinese only. You then give her the money and she'll give you coloured slips of paper which are to be exchanged at the appropriate stations for your food. If you want an egg in your hot soup, she'll also give you the raw eggs here. Prices are extremely inexpensive.
There's a different station for each type of food: hot soup (shi2 ta1 tang1), fried bagu doughsticks (ba1 gu3 you2 tiao2), fried buns (jian1 bao1) and so on. You must queue for each item separately, so hopefully there's quite a number of you to go around, otherwise it'll be lunchtime by the time you get all your food! There were 3 of us girls, one staked out places for us (and our bags) at a table inside the restaurant, and 2 of us were queuing up for the food. We bought 4 different items and it took us about 45 mins before we could finally sit down and enjoy our breakfast.
Well if there's only one of you, eat each item as you get it, it'll fill up your time in the queue -- leave the hot soup till the last as it's steaming hot (if you want an egg, buy it just before you go for the hot soup, so that you don't have to worry about breaking it by accident before).
The fastest station is the hot soup and the slowest station is the doughstick one; the doughstick one is probably also the one that sells out the fastest, so be early to get your share.
If you ask for an egg in your hot soup, this would probably be your first (and perhaps only!) experience of breaking an egg (into your bowl) and mixing it up, all on the street! My travel companion was certainly very surprised.
Favorite Dish: My favourite items here would be the hot soup (with or without egg) and the fried bagu doughsticks. Both are unique and I haven't seen them anywhere else in China.
Hao Qi in Mandarin actually sounds similar to "hao chi" which means "delicious", or literally "good to eat". This is a franchise restaurant selling steamed dumplings, that first started in Xuzhou. Some say that the dumplings taste better here than in their franchise outlets in other cities, but I've only eaten them here so I can't compare.
This is a great place if you want a inexpensive meal of authentic local food. I suppose you could liken this to a Xuzhou version of McDonald's. Restaurants are brightly lit and clean, and the staff is friendly. The menu is in Chinese on the wall behind the cashier (pay first, eat later), non-Chinese speakers might have a little trouble. Dumplings are sold by the Chinese ounce (liang2), each liang2 is about 6 dumplings. Price typically range from 2 to 5 RMB per Chinese ounce.
Favorite Dish: We had the san1 xian1 steamed dumplings (3 different kinds of non-vegetable fillings, 4 RMB per Chinese ounce) and it was good. There're bottles of vinegar and dried chilli oil on each table if you're used to having dipping sauces.
Can't help but point out that the restaurant's English name sounds a little strange even if it's an accurate reflection of what it tries to be! :P
The restaurant's entrance is on the main street but dining area is on the 2nd floor. There're also booths which offer a bit more privacy if you're dining with a small group of friends. My friends and I were brought here by a girl whom we were contacting on the CouchSurfing website, as she and her friends were dining here. We had a number of dishes, all which went down well.
Favorite Dish: My favourite here is still the yogurt! Creamy white with a sprinkling of sugar, raisins, black sesame seeds and chopped nuts on top, this is a perfect way to soothe throat and mouth while chomping away on spicy Xinjiang cuisine.
If you want to have the best local and most delicious food, don't go to a fancy restaurant, street vendors in Xuzhou offer the most decent Xuzhou food. From hot soup to pan fried dumplings (all Xuzhou style), this is food you won't find anywhere else in China or the world. The downside to all this is that you have to buy the food to go or eat on the side of the street.