The Tujia Minority diet is full of strong flavors. Hunan cuisine as well as Tujia cuisine is often spicy. Tujia People tend to use special flavors like curried, sour and pickled foods. Their specialties are Pighead Bacon, Combo Platters, Blood Curd, He Zha, Sour fish, Stewed Loach with Tofu, Black Chicken Soup with Rhizoma Gastrodiae etc. The local flavor snacks are Fete Rice, Pig Blood Porridge and so on. In addition, the following recommended cuisines should not be missed.
Eating in Scenic areas
The area close to Zhangjiajie scenic areas tend to be expensive. For example, a vegetarian dish is over 15 yuan, a dish with meat is over 30 yuan, and a dish with game like boar meat, bamboo partridge and Lactarius are over 80 yuan. If you stay in a farmhouse, you can ask for boarding. There, breakfast is 5 yuan per person and lunch is 12 yuan per person as well as dinner. The condition is normal but the dishes are tasty. Fried curried meat with roots, stone agarics and fried egg with sour corn are full of local flavor characteristics, which can be found in hotels and farmhouses. In addition, there is a Yindu Tujia Restaurant where the dishes are delicious, especially fried Wild Pupae, Chukar and Golden Whip Fish. Take a bus from Shui Rao Si Men to Huanglong Cave for about 10 minutes and you will find this restaurant. Thus, spending around scenic areas, one thing is anticipated is that you’ll be spending a lot, but you can bargain.
Eating in Downtown Areas
In the downtown area of Zhangjiajie, there are many enjoyable foods with inexpensive prices.
Try some steamed buns of the chain store of Xue Yun Steamed Buns. With so many varieties, the steamed buns are big and only 0.5 yuan for each. Steamed buns with mushrooms, bamboo shoots and chili stuffing are spicy and juicy, which are recommended. All you need is a cup of steaming soybean milk, which is 1 yuan, and you’ll be well-fed before climbing the mountains.
First, I’ll recommend Zhangjiajie, San Xia Guo. San Xia Guo is a hot pot cooked by three ingredients with no soup. The best known restaurant is Cooker Hu San Xia Guo near Fengwan Bridge（Take No. 10 bus). One proportion is 15 yuan, while the most economical option is to order a proportion for two or three people which is 30 yuan. The specialties served there are fried intestines and fried walnut meat and putting them in a pot that is really delicious. You can order a pickled radish. It is crisp and vinegary making your mouth water. If you like fish heads, you should go to San Jiao Ping. There’s an Old Wu Fish Heads Hot Pot Restaurant (Take No. 7 bus). The soup is stewed with local cherry tomatoes and is palatable. The price of fish heads is 15 yuan a kilo with an extra plate of vegetable and an extra plate of noodle. The average charge is less than 30 yuan per person which is fairly good. Wuwei Restaurant is also advised to visit on the way from Dayong Bridge to scenic area and near Dayongqiao park, you need to take a taxi and it costs not more than 15 yuan. The name of the restaurant may seem strange, but the dishes taste great. In this restaurant, there are wild boar meat, rat meat, muntjac meat, curried meat and so on. Huangzi meat or Miao sour meat is recommended as it is the local specialty. Moreover, a lot of restaurants in Beizheng Street, for instance, Master Li’s Restaurant, Intestine Restaurant of Bro Jun, Wulong Mountain Fastness, Music Kitchen and so on. You can go there if you are available.
In the evening, the streets fill with restaurants in town. 50 yuan should be enough for four people to eat. The main night market area is around the People’s Cinema. It is crowded, but you should choose a restaurant hosting most people. Also, make sure to buy some pickles confronting the cinema. The pickled cucumber and pickled radishes are crisp and tasty.