Shaoxing • Xian Heng

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No.179 Lu Xun Middle Road •86 575 8511 6666
咸亨酒店 鲁迅中路179

The statue outside Xian Heng is KONG Yiji, based on a real-life character out of one of Lu Xun’s no-holds-barred stories. Kong identifies with the scholarly class but routinely fails even the lowest level of the imperial examination.

This is a self-service establishment.

Xian Heng (attached to the hotel of the same name ) is the most well-known eating destination in Shaoxing, the city which also gives its name to China’s fabled rice wine. Shaoxing is the ancestral home of China’s most beloved prime minister, the late ZHOU Enlai, previously written as CHOU En Lai (5 March 1898 – 8 January 1976), and birthplace of the author ZHOU Shuren, whose pen name was Lu Xun (25 September 1881 – 19 October 1936). The statue outsideXian Heng is KONG Yiji, based on a real-life character out of one of Lu Xun’s no-holds-barred stories. Xian Heng, the restaurant, was actually opened by the author’s paternal uncle in 1894.

Kong is a complex character in an even more conflicted society. He identifies with the scholarly class but routinely fails even the lowest level of the imperial examination and cannot, therefore, rise to the ruling class. Kong wears a long gown, the emblem of the wealthy class, except he has no money.

Shaoxing is the birthplace of Lu Xun (25 September 1881 – 19 October 1936), one of China’s best-loved writers.

At the inn (which is now the Xian Heng restaurant), peasants, workers and common folk who wear short tunics have to stand outside to drink their rice wine as they are not worthy to be situated inside. The inner sanctum is only reserved for the wealthy, well-connected and long-gowned officials.

The innkeeper also waters down the wine served to the ordinary people even though they pay the same price as the privileged class. Corruption is an old Chinese currency. I have visited Xian Heng twice in as many years and am happy to say they allow every- and anyone to queue. And pay.

Braised Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetable

Braised Bean Curd in Soya Sauce