Tag Archives: Secret Recipe

Wujin’s Secret Recipe is Partially MIA


Some people loved the place, and some people didn’t care for the more fusion-oriented western dishes. However, Secret Recipe in Wujin served a special purpose. While the district is rapidly growing now and is heading on a good trajectory, expat dining options in the greater Hutang area were limited. In 2014, for example, you had Monkey King, Chocolate’s, Grandma’s Nook, and Jagerwirt. And, you had Secret Recipe in the Injoy Mall. That was it. I particularly liked the Malaysian dishes like Nasi Lamak. I also really enjoyed their curries, too.


Recently, I was in Wujin and at the Injoy Mall. Imagine my surprise when I saw that Secret Recipe had gone missing. It looks like it’s being replaced with a BOY fashion store in progress. I lived in Wujin for two years, and their Injoy location was always a reliable option when I grew tired of Chinese or Chinese college cafeteria food. In a strange way, it feels like I am losing an old friend. However, to be honest, each time I ate there, I was one of very few butts in seats, and rent on the bottom floor of Injoy must be costly. It makes sense if this location closed because of a lack of traffic.

A construction barrier where Secret Recipe’s shop front used to be.

But, that’s the weird thing. It’s not completely closed. They still have a display case selling their cakes. Right now, it’s like half of Wujin’s Secret Recipe disappeared. And honestly, I never ate their cakes. I went there for the Malaysian food and curry, and, at times, the “Irish” lamb shank with mashed potatoes and gravy. Irish people might go there and laugh at  its lack of Irishness, but I still enjoyed eating that dish. Though, I also know some people liked the desserts. A friend and former colleague who still lives in Wujin certainly did.


Secret Recipe had three locations in Changzhou: Wujin, Tianning, and Xinbei. Only the Xinbei one in the Lafu supermarket remains fully intact, now. And, honestly, that one doesn’t have many “bums in chairs” either. I am existentially afraid for this restaurant on its own behalf. So, yeah, in a very silly way, I feel like I have lost a friend. But, if there has anything the last year of my life has taught me, it’s this: when you lose a close friend for whatever bullshit reason, try to make new ones. Your life will be better for it. Wujin Injoy’s Malaysian place has gone missing, but Injoy has a Thai restaurant, now. So, you can still go to that mall and still get curry. So, imagine me saying this with all the swagger I can muster: Hello, you!  You look nice! Beautiful, actually! Do you have a papaya salad?


Caribbean Fish at Secret Recipe


“Hey, Rich, what’s Caribbean food like?”

“I don’t know. Never had it.”

“Didn’t you live in the Bahamas at one point?”

“No, I lived in Bermuda. And before you go there, Bermuda is not in the Caribbean — it’s 700 miles off the coast of North Carolina. It’s closer to the USA, actually.”

This is a conversation I have had a few times over the years. In a way, I am being a bit too technical. While Bermuda is not in the Caribbean, it does have a “sorta” cultural affinity. I have been told that Bermudian food is “sorta” close, but I wouldn’t know; I have no point of comparison. Eating at Secret Recipe reminded me of this.

They have a fish dish that’s labelled “Caribbean,” and I couldn’t honestly say if it was authentic or not. However, eating it did remind me a little about Bermuda. There, local food is mostly fresh ocean fish with a bit of sauce on it. And that’s what Secret Recipe served me: a generic tilapia-like white fish with a light cream sauce on top. And, while it was not great, it was good enough to bring me back someday to eat it again when I want an easy “not Chinese” fish dish.  The fish itself is served on a bed of french fries, and both the sauce and the fish’s juices soaked down into potatoes and giving them a unique flavor. I’m into that sort of thing, because I do like having unusual things on fries.  The plate comes with a small side salad, and the cream sauce also works as a nice, warm dressing. So, I mixed the fish with both the fries and the lettuce and tomato.

Secret Recipe is fairly trusty, and sometimes the allure is more the convenience. It’s hit and miss with some expats. Some like the place, and others don’t. To each their own.  It’s a Malaysian chain that’s quite common in the region, and it’s a safe choice when travelling in a big Chinese city you may not know much about. The food is pretty much fusion between Asia and the western cuisine. Changzhou actually has two of these places. One can be found in Xinbei — inside the Lafu supermarket at the TV tower. Wujin’s Secret Recipe is located near Starbucks in the Injoy Mall.