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Guangzhou’s local food scene is deliciously and largely flavored with Cantonese and northern Chinese delicacies, though if you’re craving some comfort food from back home you’ll also have no trouble finding good restaurants serving tried-and-true Western favorites. Here are five of the best food experiences in Guangzhou:
1. Bingsheng. This perpetually packed local institution located in the Haizhu District is a great place to sample a variety of Cantonese classics such as roasted goose, fish congee and pork dumplings. Just be sure to pencil in some time to fully survey the restaurant’s encyclopedic 60-some-page menu. There’s also a branch across the street from the Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou in the Tianhe District.
2. South Sea Fishing Village. Open since 1986, South Sea Fishing Village is another excellent spot to dig into authentic Cantonese cuisine. Specialties such as crispy pigeon, deep-fried pork dumplings and abalone draw loyal legions of locals who often wait in lines that go out the front door, so plan on arriving early.
3. Eating on Shamian Island. You’ll feel worlds away from Guangzhou as you walk down the tree-lined streets and past the restored European-style buildings that dot this small island in Guangzhou’s Liwan District. There are a number of restaurants on the island, but if you want to take a break from Cantonese, grab one of the tables on the patio at laid-back Lucy’s, which serves burgers, pasta, steaks and pints of beer.
4. Stroll along Shangxiajiu Street. This pedestrian-only shopping street is a good place to hop into a restaurant for a dim sum lunch, nibble on street food specialties such as fried pancakes and steamed buns and to stock up on dried seafood and other packaged snacks.
5. Sip Herbal Tea. Start your day by pulling up a stool amongst locals at one of the city’s many tea houses and sipping a cup or two of medicinal tea, which is made from Chinese herbs and is often used to remedy a variety of illnesses and medical conditions.