Dalian is one of China’s most important ports and plays a central role in international trade. It is a primary port for transshipment in Asia and links to over 160 countries and regions worldwide.

The city’s rich history has seen it retain a number of old colonial buildings, including some great examples of neo-classical architecture in Zhongshan Square. You can also find a good concentration of older buildings in the Lushun district and the Xigang area.

Local cuisine

Dalian cuisine is mainly influenced by the local Dongbei regional style of cooking and it has a great reputation for seafood dishes. It is also a good place to try the famous liaoshen or Liaodong spiked sea cucumber, which only grows in the cold waters of Liaoning province.

You can find it in a variety of restaurants, but if you are looking for modestly priced seafood then Tian Tian Yu Gang at Yan’an Road is a good choice.

Blood clams with spinach is a popular appetiser that’s seasoned with garlic, mustard and ginger. Yellow croaker is another favourite, and it’s best cooked slowly to preserve its flavours.

Other street snacks that are must-trys include pan-fried men zi – a protein-rich cube made from coagulated potato starch. It’s served with a variety of seafood ingredients such as sea cucumber, shrimp, squid and potato jelly.

Budget restaurants

Dalian is a foodie’s paradise with countless low cost restaurants on every street. However, it can be difficult to find a good restaurant here as the quality is highly variable.

In Dalian, the most popular local food is seafood; try some of the city’s famous stir-fried prawns and lantern-shaped steamed abalone. Other favorites include stew with pickled cabbage, pork ribs and the pride of Dalian oysters.

There are several mid-range restaurants in Dalian, many of which serve fresh seafood, while others offer western cuisine or are based on traditional Japanese dishes. These may also have English menus and/or English speaking staff.

Mid-range restaurants

Dalian’s mid-range restaurants are a great way to sample the city’s diverse cuisine. Many are located in the Zhongshan District, an area that is popular with visitors.

The food in these restaurants is influenced by Dongbei cuisine, which is known for its large portions and simple flavors. The city is also a major fishing port, so seafood plays a big role in the menus.

You will find a variety of Western and Asian restaurants here. You will also find plenty of traditional Chinese dishes.

In addition to the above, you will find a number of American and Canadian restaurants. These include Eurobake, a popular choice among North Americans, and Mr. Beer, which is next door to Kaifaqu Station.

There are also a few European-style restaurants, like the famous Royal Cellar at the Castle Hotel. It is also home to an extensive collection of European art and music.


Dalian is a major seafood hub, and as a result seafood here bears the city’s distinctive culture. You can find a range of dishes that are influenced by Shandong Cuisine, as well as local specialties.

Steamed Scallops – lima beans, shallots, wine and sauces are used to cook this famous Shandong dish, which tastes light and fresh. The scallops are accompanied by tender egg white pieces, vegetables and diced carrot.

Rifengyuan is renowned for its Haichang (ocean sausage), which is bursting with oceanic umami and has a slightly raw centre. This is a local favourite, and is made by chefs at this shop’s two branches.

Another popular choice is Tiantian Seafoods, which has an extensive selection of seafood on display. Its raw sea urchins, salt-baked conches and baked abalone are particularly good. The prices are reasonable, and the service is friendly and efficient.