I just got back from dinner in Guilin, and thought I would post a warning on the board for other souls who might fall prey to what I nearly did. Wanting to sample the local cuisine, I foolishly allowed myself to be taken in by a tout on the main pedestrian street who promised that his restaurant was authentic, cheap, clean, etc. Mind you, I speak very good Chinese, so there was no question of miscommunication. The meal was fine, though nothing special, and the majority of other patrons were Chinese, though they were almost all eating Korean food, which should have been a sign. But the real surprise was the bill, which amounted to Y440, more than we have spent at any time on such a meal anywhere in China in the many years I have been coming here. Looking at the bill (which fortunately was itemized) I saw several dishes that we did not order, others that were not served, and some items (drinks) that we brought in with us. I protested loudly, got those items knocked off the bill, but it was still more than I thought fair, so I told them that they were going to get nothing more than Y300 from me and that they should be happy with that, since I was quite ready to go to the police to take care of the issue. Meantime, the other foreign tables in the place were watching with a great deal of concern, which one of my friends did nothing to assuage when he went up to them to warn them to watch the bill, Reckoning that they were better off without us in there causing more trouble, the proprietor wisely accepted my Y300 offer and we were out of there.
Be warned--the people in Guilin on the main tourist streets are generally out to rip off tourists, so don't be fooled! A much better place is just along the river to the south of Wenming Lu, where there are loads of local restaurants serving good food at reasonable prices.
Thanks for the warning! I am going to Guilin in 2 days and since your post I have asked some local friends in Nanning and Guilin about this. They said it happens to unsuspecting tourists all the time there.
I have been to almost 50 cities and villages in China and never heard of something like this happening. Without your warning I am sure that I would have fallen into the same trap. Judging by the prices of Zhuang Zu cai in Nanning, a good meal for 2 in Guilin should be about Y50.
Thanks again for the post!
Depending on what you order, you certainly can do Y50 for two, though we ordered rather a lot, and quite a few dishes that we ordered are (even in normal places) expensive. But in any event, even though I should have known better, I foolishly let myself be taken in. Fortunately, I was at least able to get some of my dignity back before leaving.