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Best Chow in Guangzhou

Hello all!

I am planning a two week trip to Guangzhou (with some day trips to Shenzen), and I would like to get recommendations on where to eat. I am NOT limiting myself to Cantonese cuisine; since I am not going anywhere else in China, I will have to rely on restaurants around Guangzhou to represent all of Chinese cuisine.

To make the thread as complete as possible, I'll quickly summarize what previous hounds have posted, then list some restaurants I have seen in travel books.

Does anyone have any opinions on any of these, or tips on restaurants not listed here?

From hounds:

- Xin Yun Lou (辛运楼) (also called "Lucky Fellow Restaurant" on their business cards, but good luck trying to find the place by that name) at 322 Ren Min Middle Road (人民中路), phone 8322-0738.
- row of small restaurants on Pan Fu Road (盘福路), just south of Yue Xiu Park (越秀公园).
- second floor of the International Financial Building (国际金融大厦), there is a large restaurant that is pricy but supposed to be good.
- Guangzhou restaurant 广州饭店 on Shang Xia Jiu Bu Xing Jie (上下九步行街) (pedestrian street), at the corner of Wen Chang Nan Lu (文昌南路)
- Mei Jing (美景) Restaurant on Ren Min Bei Lu (人民北路) across from the Liu Hua Park (流花公园)
- congee restaurant called Zhou MFEMF (粥城) ("Congee City")
- Lee Garden for lunch or dinner
- Ban Xi Restaurant next to Li Wan Hu Park (荔湾湖公园)
- Dong Jiang (东江) on YanJiang Lu (沿江路).
- Tao Heung Hotpot Seafood restaurant in the Landmark Hotel.
- bing sheng - sprawling local mid-range family restaurant chain, no reservations, get there early (5.30-6pm).
- yin ji - steamed rice paper rolls (chang fen of cheung fun in cantonese).
- the chinese resto at the white swan hotel

From Lonely Planet:

- Wuzhanji (corner of Longjin and Liwan Lu)
- Nanxin (47 Dishpu Lu)
- Chuanguo Yanyi (Nanfang Securities Building)
- Lucy's (3 Shamian Nanjie)
- Tao Tao Ju Restaurant (20 Dishpu Lu)
- 1920 Restaurant and Bar
- Panxi Restaurant (151 Longjin Xilu)
- Kohinoor (8 Lujing Lu)
- Bingsheng Restaurant (33 DongxiaoLu)
- Thai Zhen Cow & Bridge (54 Shamian Beijie)
- La Seine (33 Qingbo Lu)

From Eyewitness Travel Guide:

- Taotao Ju (Xiao Bei Lu 202)
- Taste of India
- Guangzhou Jiujia (Wenchang Nan Lu 2)
- Mao Jia Fandian (Beijing Nan Lu Da Xia 6/F)
- East River Seafood Restuarant (Dong Jiang Hai Xian Jiu Jia)
- Qiaomei Shijia (Shamian Nan Jie 52)

Any comments? Would love to hear specific dishes to order. I will be going with about 25 people.

Josh

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  1. I only have 2 strong memories of eating in Guangzhou (hey, it was pre "foodie" days) and one involves a Hard Rock Cafe, though I can say that Mao Jia Fandian, if it is the one I'm thinking of, is a pretty big chain that you can find in many cities across China serving mediocre Hunan food. The only real recommendation I can make, especially if you're looking for non-Cantonese food and its the only place you'll be in China is Dongbei Ren, its also a chain, with branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou, but their food is excellent and the decor is interesting, you couldn't get much farther away from Dongbei (ie northeastern China or "Manchuria") than in Guangzhou, but all the waitstaff comes from the region and its a lot of fun. They have a huge menu, with pictures and english, I'd suggest the saurkraut and blood sausage stew or the stir fried roe deer, but there are also a lot of more "normal" dishes, including a good sweet and sour fish and a number of excellent stewed and braised items, plus great dumplings.

      1. re: Luther

        Unfortunately, I haven't been to Guangzhou (its on a long list of places left to go in China), but in my experience the China Lonely Planet writers are not foodies, and most of their recommendations have been disappointments, merely the safest (ie. most bland) restaurants to offer a large audience.
        Its not always perfect, but use dianping.com to get a basic gage of where Guangzhou people are eating. If you can't read Chinese then use google translate.

      2. the recs for Bing Sheng, Yin Ji and the Chinese resto at White Swan you copied above are from me, and having been back recently, I can confirm that they are still good.

        If you have a driver and are up for a 20-30 min ride, there's a place called Ji Cun (trans. Chicken Village) in Panyu, along one of the main roads leading to Panyu town. Address and photos from a previous visit on my blog here: http://www.e-tingfood.com/2009/06/gua...

        Most amazing steamed chicken I've ever had - it's not meaty, but full of flavour. I haven't been back recently but my dad has and says they've renovated/in the process of renovating so the entrance is a bit obscured (might be done by the time you get there), but still plenty of people are going - proof that there's no stopping the Chinese when it comes to good chicken!

        Shenzhen:
        Laurel Restaurant (several branches, the one in Portofino isn't the most convenient but is best with alfresco seating, but avoid the one in Lowu Commercial Centre) - good for Cantonese - I like it better at lunch for dim sum.
        Jin Yue Xuan - also one of my favourite haunts for dim sum, right above Che Gong Miao MTR station so it's very convenient. Both are on the 'fancier' side and not exactly cheap (you're looking at 50-100 yuan per person for lunch
        )Bashu Feng - a chain, but pretty good Sichuan food

        2 Replies
        1. re: e_ting

          The White Swan ans its restaurant (the Jade River restaurant) have been renovated and re-opened. Is the restaurant still good?

          1. re: goldilocks76

            Wanted to try it last month, but they were still working on renovation. Hope that is really finished now, as they started with that two years ago.

        2. Bingsheng Restaurant is definitely one of the best restaurants in the city for Cantonese cuisine. It's quite cheap, so there is almost always a wait every evening, but the food is well-worth it. They also have another location on Tian He Dong Lu.

          La Seine's got some pretty decent French food but I'm assuming that you're not here to eat French cuisine.

          You should also try some hot pot while you're here. Xiao Fei Yang ("little fat sheep") is a popular hot pot chain that has various locations around the city. Their broths are very flavourful; so much so that you don't even need sauces for dipping. DUring the winter there is always a long wait every evening here.

          You'd probably also want to try dim sum while you're here. DOng Hai Seafood Restaurant at Citic has very very good dim sum. ALthough pricier than most places, the quality there really is top notch. Try the xiao long bao (steamed soup dumplings), steamed turnip cake, and their bean curd rolls. Actually practically anything you order from the dim sum section is pretty good; I'd stay away from the cold appetizers, though, cause they're skimpy in portion size and quite mediocre in taste. However, note that Dong Hai is only open for dim sum on weekend mornings. Oh, and also, the menu is in chinese so you may want to bring a translator along..

          1. I only had chance to sample the extensive menu from Guangzhou restaurant/jiujia (one and the same) during lunch HIGHLY recommended. The olive/conch soup and pork neck muscles were the best I had anywhere.