Given that Guangzhou is supposed to be the Cantonese food capital, there is surprisingly little discussion of it on these boards. Any recommendations?
(I have trawled through the few threads that exist, and have marked down the cheung fun place, but there doesn't seem to be any concensus on other highlights.)
Having been to Guangzhou, here is my trip report:
Turned up at 8pm and were lucky that they hadn’t run out of specials. They were taking last orders at 8.30. We had the specials that everyone recommends: the Weng Chang chicken, the stirred fired milk curd, and the stir fried bamboo, fungus, lotus etc. We particularly liked the stir fried veg. Milk tarts for dessert were also good, really excellent pastry. We also liked that they brewed the tea by the cup, rather than letting it stew in the pot, as we have found to be the norm, even in very high end places. I slightly had the feeling that this is a restaurant that is living on its reputation and its location, but we had a good meal.
No.2, Wenchang Rd., GZ - look for the big neon sign. Restaurant is inside and upstairs, but there are people waiting to direct you.
The execution of the dishes was exquisite, but we just couldn’t love this place. We had a reservation for 6.30 (the latest you can reserve for). Service was slow, we didn’t get out of there until 9.30. This was partly because of being continuously told that things had run out and having to re-order. The three types of tofu was finished, our waitress recommended the pineapple buns but these were all out too. We had eel and onion hotpot, which had only a couple of tiny slivers of onion and was overwhelmingly peppery. Fried aubergine with a topping of pork in oxtail stock surprised us with the first cooked tomatoes we’ve been served since being here. We could have been in Italy, and it would have done the Italians proud, but it was not what we really wanted in China. The best dish was a stir fried goose and dried asparagus (but I wonder if this was actually lotus root, or at least asparagus seems a mistranslation). Glutinous rice balls were overwhelmingly vanillla-y and sickly sweet.
I can see how people who eat Cantonese at home every day would like this fusion cooking, or how Chinese speakers could navigate the menu to get more classic dishes if they preferred. (There was a menu supplement which appeared to be the classic dishes, but it only had pictures and Chinese, no English.) I’m sure we would have liked it more if we had ordered better.
Flagship Restaurant (the one we went to):
At the southern foot of Haiyin Bridge, 33 Dong Xiao Rd. Haizhu District
Tianhe Dong Branch 168, Tianhe Rd. East , Tianhe District
Wufeng Branch 1-4 F, Wufeng Hotel 438, Jiangnan Dadao Blvd South Haizhu District
We had cheung fun at Yin Ji, part of a mini chain, addresses below. We went to the branch on Bailing Road, which was located amongst a row of packed hole in the walls shops soups, serving rice noodle soups and the like. There was no English menu, but they understood our pronunciation of “Cheung Fun” (quite lucky given that N’s pronunciation of the street where we were staying almost had us taken to the wrong part of town by a taxi driver). They then pointed to what must have been a long list of types of cheung fun on the menu. We shrugged, and were given two orders of pork with mushroom and spring onion. On a second trip we came armed with Chinese characters and got one beef and one pork, both great. The shop also does congee, which was the more water-y Guangzhou style, and was fine but not special.
NB 1. You order and pay at the door and then sit down, which makes the point-to-what-some-other-diner-is-having method of ordering unsustainable.
NB2. Good, freshly made cheung fun seem to abound in Guangzhou. In the suburb of Foshan, down a side street near the station, you could see the cheung fun makers and we had excellent noodles there too, although the sauce was not as good as at Yin Ji.
1. No 519, Huifu Dong road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
2. 79, Shangjiu Road, Liwan District, Guangzhou
3. No. 236, Guangfu Zhong Road, Liwan District, Guangzhou
4. No. 86, Bailing Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
5. No. 345, Wenchang Bei Road, Liwan District, Guangzhou
6. No. 199, Wenming Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
7. No. 19, Jiangnan Xi Road, Haizhu District, Guangzhou
Restaurant on Panfu Lu *maybe* Liushen Xiguan Guangzhou
One of serval crowded restaurants on Panfu Lu. It was fine but not special. Best thing we ordered was a beancurd skin dish, which turned out to be in a soup with white beans. Bean curd skin (erroneously billed as bamboo pith) with luffa and coriander was also nice. We only ate in this restuarant because we needed a quick meal close to our hotel. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone go out of their way to eat here.
Trying to find the name of the restaurant (Liushen Xiguan is my best guess, based on google maps), I see that in Tai Le (新泰乐, 63 Panfu Lu, 8354-5431) comes recommended by mutliplte people on the internet. Apparently, they’re known for fatty pork, and for eel dishes.
Our focus was on excursions, so we often got back late, and it is difficult to find places that serve late in Guangzhou. That meant that we ate a lot of street food. Special mention goes to the lychees that we bought from a street vendor. Apparently emperors in Beijing used to order up their lychees from down south and, on this showing, I can see why.
With more time I would have liked to try Tang Li Yuan (唐荔园) , in Liwan Gardens. The setting around the lake sounds really pretty; apparently it is possible to eat on the lake itself, with the waiters paddling out on a boat. I would have assumed this was a tourist gimmick, but the place has a strong recommendation from chowhound klyeoh. Next time.
Another place which gets a lot of love from Chowhounders is Ji Cun. Note that this is near to Guangzhou South station in Panyu (maybe 15 mins by cab), so could be do-able on the end of an excursion where you take the train from Guangzhou South (e.g. Quingyuan by bullet train - but make sure you book the return in advance in case the train gets sold out).
There is relatively little on chowhound about Guangzhou, so I thought I would also post this website, which I found when googling for the name of the place we went to on Panfu Lu, and which looks pretty useful:
Great report! There is so little in the CH archives outside of HK, Beijing and Shanghai. And I love your link. Wow, there is more to GZ than I realised. I am there twice a year but after some bad experiences I don't venture out much. I will have to give it another chance. Thanks again.
On the left side of Dishifu Lu (second biggest shopping street after Beijing Lu) are three old times restaurants, each at least 80 years old and very famous. As I stay at a hotel at this road each time I am in Guangzhou I have visited all of them repeatedly. My favorite one is Guangzhou restaurant, which has the best sweet sour pork I ever had and also many other great dishes. But for all three it is better to book a table or go early, can be very full. Guangzou restaurant also offers Dim Sum breakfast every day.
If you want to go for a big selection of sea food, try Fishers restaurant, a little outside of GZ, inside Fishers hotel. Big selection of freshest fish and sea food.
There is also a very famous chicken restaurant a little outside, have been there once and it was great, but you will need a local to find it and especially order, as normally no foreigners will go there. Very simple place with no decoration. If you are interested in that and have a local to accompany you tell me, I will search my notes for name and location.
Also, don't go for food late in GZ, most restaurants close very early!
Thanks for the tip. I have the address to the chicken restaurant (thanks to e-ting on chowhound): Ji Cun (trans. Chicken Village) in Panyu.
Ji Cun 鸡村
550-575 Ying Bin Lu
It does seem that there is some concensus on Guangzhou. You're the third person on chowhound to recommend it. Thanks for the tips about reserving/ eating early.
Yes, thats it. But as said, only go there with a local or if you speak and read Cantonese. I doubt anybody there speaks English. And don't expect anything over the top. It really is a local eatery, but the chicken is really great.
Also, for the adresses, get somebody to write the for you in Chinese. Most taxi drivers will not be able to read/understand english written address!
Be very careful in cabs, too, many drivers are not trustworthy. Let hotel door man make sure cab knows where he is going and get restaurant to call cab to take you back to hotel. Maybe it's better for men but as a woman almost every cab I have been in alone in GZ has tried to rip me off. It's frightening.
Yours was not the only warning about cab drivers, someone else told us that many of the cabs on the street were unlicensed “renegades”. But we never had any problems. We generally knew the geography of where we were going, and we never had a car take off in seemingly the wrong direction (expect to get to the nearest expressway) or a trip that took longer than expected.
We did avoid the cabs near Guangzhou station/ bus station, who tried to offer us a (vastly inflated) pre-negotiated rate instead of using a meter. It's impossible to pick up a cab near there. The line at the cab rank is very long, and the only people who will pick you up instead of take the passengers from the line are touts. But the stations are right next to the metro, so cabs not really needed.
The one must, if you are hailing a cab on the street, is to have the name *and address* of the place you are going to written down in Chinese. Even if you know the location of the place on the map, the drivers are not interested in trying to follow where you are pointing to.
On Tiju East Cross Street, number 4 I think, there is a very good mom and pop joint that does pulled pork chinese burgers, tofu and spicy noodles, its across the road from the bank of china branch on the corner. on the corner upmarket restaurant. The name escapes me but it is very plain looking but nice simple fooid amend friendly people, closes quite early about 7pm I think.