Louwailou, a famous restaurant located south of clear and quite Gu Mountain near scenic West Lake, has a long history of more than 150 years. It is well known for its "enjoying cate and picture together".
Louwailou has three origins of its founding year: Daoguang, Tongzhi or Guanxu of Qing dynasties. But commonly it is believed to be Daoguang 28 (1848). The owner of this building is Hong Ruitang, a literator who failed in the imperial examination. He and his wife moved from Shaoxing to Qiantang after the death of their parents, and lived at the bank of Xilin Bridge under Gu Mountain, made the living by boating and fishing. They had a professional skill in cooking fresh fish and shrimp, since they came from Shaoxing, a place flowing with fish and rice. So they chose out good fish and shrimp and sold them after cooked. When they noticed that there were no refreshment rooms along that area, they began to save money and opened a small-scale one-floor restaurant located between Yulou and Xilingyinse near Liuyi fountain.
As for the naming of this restaurant, there are two opinions. One is that the merchant got enlightened from a poem written by Lin Shen, a poet from South Song. The Chinese words of Louwailou are in this poem. Another opinion is that because the restaurant was located outside of Yulou, which was a building owned by a modern famous scholar, Yu Quyuan. Mr. Hong Ruitang asked Mr. Yu to name his restaurant. Mr. Yu said, “Since your restaurant is at out side of my building, we may refer to Lin Shen’s famous sentence and call it Louwailou (a building outside another building). These two parlances both enhance the culture atmosphere of Louwailou.
Address: Solitary Island, West Lake, Hangzhou