Zhangjiajie City and Village, Tianzi Shan, and Suoxiyu all have inexpensive restaurants featuring spicy Hunan dishes, but the food is not outstanding, nor are English-language menus available. The best in Zhangjiajie City is Hushifu Sanxiaguo. Sanxiaguo is a special local cuisine similar to hot pot but without broth. All the ingredients, including meat and vegetables, are cooked together with chili and garlic in a small wok. Try hetao ruo (a kind of pork) and ganbian changzi (sausage). Take circular bus route no. 10 to Fengwan Daqiao. A meal for two costs between ¥30 and ¥45; it's open from 11am to 9pm. The restaurant, which has an open area, is always packed during lunch and dinner.

Small restaurants serving Tujia dishes can be found all along the main street of Zhangjiajie Village. Tujia cuisine specializes in fresh game (such as rabbit and various guinea-pig- and weasel-like mammals), reptiles (including poisonous snakes), crayfish, eel, and crab, so if you're feeling adventurous, point to the creature that interests you, and they'll cook it for you. Settle on a price, first, though; these dishes can be expensive. The hotels have restaurants that are more accessible to foreign travelers, but the food is mediocre. The best I found was inside Xiangdian Shanzhuang. For a simple repast, on the main street about 150m (500 ft.) before the entrance to the park, across the stream, there's a row of small noodle restaurants. You can sit outside, watch the stream, and eat a bowl of noodles for under ¥10.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.