Songhelou Restaurant (Beijing branch) is located in the busiest area of beijing. It is the most famous restaurant offering Suzhou food. It is also regarded as one of the four most famous restaurants in China, together with Quanjude Roast Duck in Beijing, Fu Chun Hua Yuan in Yangzhou and Lou Wai Lou in Hangzhou.
Chinese ancients take the picture of songhe (a crane on a pine) as the symbol of longevity. The restaurant so named Songhe Lou is also for such a nice wish. Songhe Lou Restaurant is a Time-honored Brand.
It was first founded in 1737 as a noodle restaurant first, and was later rerun again in the 20th century. During 1875 to 1908, the restaurant reached its first resplendence. While in 1918, it was facing the brink of falling down for some reasons. After the comparatively advanced operating method, Songhe Lou revived the glory through offering the typical Suzhou Dishes.
Prepared with the freshest of seasonal ingredients, Songhelou's most popular dishes are freshwater fish and shrimps, including sweet and sour mandarin fish, fried snails with shrimps, and braised eel. The sweet mandarin fish was a favorite of Qing Emperor Qianlong, who dined here every time he visited Suzhou. The unique food created by Songhelou is named Squirrel Fish (Songshu Guiyu in Chinese), which is known nationwide. It is a fried fish completely deboned and dressed with sweet and sour sauce to resemble a squirrel.