Tang Du Zoology Restaurant
No. 398 Ping Yang Road, Xiaodian District
Taiyuan, Shanxi, China, CA
More Foodie delights from our recent trip to China.
Chinese name: 唐都生态园
Tang Du Zoology Restaurant or Ecological Park is one of the biggest restaurants we have ever seen. It is located in Taiyuan, an industrial city about 400km from Beijing. Open in 2006 and occupying 16,818 square meters (3 NFL football fields!), it is indoor “natural habitat” full of trees, waterfalls, fish, crocodiles, seals, birds, and a playground. They serve a wide range of Chinese food styles: Guangdong, Shandong, Sichuan, Anhui.
Live music was being played, there are 3 live seals that you can feed sardines to, artists making custom toys, and there is a playground for kids.
Decor, Vibe – Enormous Rainforest cafe like with seating in many different zones. Private rooms on several floors. Transparent huge open kitchen with hundreds of workers. This is clearly a popular oasis that lets diners get away from the dirty, noisy, crowded city outside. The place was about 80% full the day we visited.
Menu Pictures (Click to zoom into any picture)
Ready to take your order
Menu – Note the large kitchen
Silkworm Larva, Sea Snails
Lots of fresh live seafood
Live Seafood Tanks
Elaborate food displays
Roast Pig, Roast Duck
Peking Duck Ovens
There is no physical menu. All the food is on display. You walk around with a waitress to place an order. There are enormous tanks full of live seafood to choose from. The variety of food is outrageous, from Peking duck cooked in special ovens to Bear Paw to Sushi to live Scorpions to long Boiled soups.
Cold Jello with shredded ham and cucumber is a staple to this area. Done well and good for the summer.
Cold Marinated Tofu was pretty tasty. It had a lot more texture (and color!) than most tofu.
Table Side Noodle Cutting
Noodle Soup (188¥, $1=6.8¥) had noodles that were hand cut at our table with scissors. Pretty amazing dexterity on the part of the server. The flavorful broth was very good too, indicating it had been cooking for hours.
Mushroom soup with chicken was very good. We asked the cooks if they cooked it in the pots lining the window. They responded that the soup had been cooked for hours and was simply reboiled.
Buns with red bean filling looked great and amazingly tasted good. Filling was not too sweet.
Shredded potato is another classic dish in this area. Simple but satisfying.
Shrimp with egg white, ginko nuts, looks really messy but had some fresh shrimp cooked very well.
Sauteed Eggplant had some fresh eggplant and lots of it but a lot of grease too. Couple string beans mixed in too.
Eight treasure rice was a nice dessert with raisins laying on sticky rice. Not as much sugar sauce as other versions.
Millet porridge was pretty bland. Tiny yellow nutritious grains. It is a local favorite and served cold for the summer season. Homestyle food.
Fried Scorpion were very crunchy but almost tasteless. A novelty for westerners as all the others at the table had never had it.
Stir fried sardines in chili’s had deep fried fish cooked with chili’s, garlic, and green onion. Almost Yunan style. Average dish.
Young fresh walnuts were raw white walnuts that were unshelled, peeled, and them sauteed. Simple and lots of walnut flavor.
Greens in a simple light sauce seems to be a popular salad in this area. Foreigners need to be careful with raw vegetables.
Tang Du Zoology Restaurant had fair service with the waiter needing to be hailed for many items. They could have used more people in our zone. Prices are reasonable if you stick to core items and do not go overboard. The waitresses will push fancier items that probably won’t be the best when cooked by such a huge kitchen. If you are visiting this area, you must check out this one of a kind restaurant. Cash only, ATM available in the restaurant.
They have a newer location in the Northwest Chinese city of Harbin.
Silke DallmannJuly 1, 2010 at 1:14 pm
I was disgusted to see that you serve bear paw!!!!!!!!!!! Bears are an endangered species and need protected, not killed for their food!! There is plenty of other food, there is absolutely no excuse for killing and eating endangered animals!
Sheri ReeseJuly 2, 2010 at 12:25 am
How horrible to kill an endangered species for it’s paws. I realize it is something that has been in your culture for a very long time, but you are killing off a species for one of it’s body parts. Please, sometimes we have to make some changes for the betterment of the world. You seem to serve abundant food and people seem to love it. They will not miss that you have eliminated bear paws and you will make the world better for it.
Maryse DumasJuly 2, 2010 at 1:35 am
With all the exotic fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, I think you should omit food of animals, turtles and other living creatures that are endagered. Now is a time for conscious eating. I am shocke that you include bear paw on your list.
Jeanette McDermottJuly 2, 2010 at 8:10 am
All of the bear species that are endemic to Asia are listed on the IUCN Red List of threatened and endangered species. It is an international crime to traffic and trade in species on the Red List, yet the “food delicacy” bear paws are clearly on the menu of the Tang Du Zoology Restaurant, as seen on your foodnut.com website and the Flickr site for the Tang Du Zoology Restaurant.
How does this restaurant obtain fresh bear paws if the bears in Asia are listed on the IUCN Red LIst? Are the bears poached from the wild? Are the bears bred in captivity for the purpose of commercializing their severed paws?
Please respond to this email publicly and to my private email address that I have left on this site.
Food NutJuly 2, 2010 at 8:49 am
Yes selling bear paw is terrible! I suggest you contact the restaurant directly. I just took the picture and ask the waitress what it was and know nothing else.
Foodnut.com's Beginners Introduction to an Authentic Chinese Dinner | Foodnut.comFebruary 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm
[…] other items that scare folks away. Only outside the US can you find exotic dishes like starfish, scorpion, and donkey penis. The names of each food item may be slightly different than our guide. Please do […]