As the region's first city apart from Harbin, Changchun has almost every kind of cuisine in its environs, ranging from the closer Shandong and Beijing styles to spicy Sichuan. It is game dishes, however, The particular Changchun food are a real draw for visitors.
The other main reason for coming here is to sample the more exotic dishes that Changchun produces, including such contentious ingredients as pilose (deer) antler, bear's paw and snow toad, and the real city specialty of deer's tail.
Changchun also has a big Korean minority population thanks to its proximity to that country, and through them various forms of Korean cuisine have infiltrated the city, best of all being the Korean barbecue. For Korean food, there are two choices: either Papa's Korean Restaurant at 20 Dajing Lu or Hanguoguan Restaurant at the crossing of Xinfa Lu and Renmin Dajie.
If you are really not into these "exotic" food forms, a better specialty that you can try is the potent Ginseng Chicken cooked with Maotai wine, a local dish that uses the famous Chinese liquor to great effect.
The best restaurants are definitely housed in hotels. The ones in the Shangri-La serve excellent Chinese and international cuisine and a good bakery here lives up to international standard.
However, If you are nostalgic about Beijing roast duck, head directly to Beijing Roast Duck Restaurant (Beijing kaoya dian) at 29 Xi'an Da Lu.
if you want to sample some of the afore-mentioned specialties at lower prices, Nongjia Restaurant (Nongjia fandian) at 23 Beijing Dajie is a good choice.
Deer's tail Although perhaps not as famous as the pilose (deer) antler, that is one of Dongbei's (northeastern China's) most famous herbal medicines for health and strength, the tail of deer (Lujiao) is considered a fine delicacy in Changchun.
The powers that this dish gives are also considered of more importance, since a potent tail is said to have a similar affect as the pill Viagra! Many a wedding night involves the consumption of these once fluffy tails.
To make the dish, Changchun chefs first submerge the tail in lukewarm water for defurring. After about two hours the tail is removed and then stewed in a pot, with many Chinese seasonings, including Chinese cinnamon, for a whole day. The tail over this period gradually turns to mash, and the final dish is a sort of reddish brown.