Guangzhou

5 of the best restaurants in Guangzhou

As the inaugural Michelin Guide Guangzhou launches, CATHY ADAMS finds the best restaurants in southern China’s biggest city. Illustrations by NIK COOLE

‘I’m so spoilt living in Guangzhou,’ says Wai Zhou, founder of Eating Adventures and a local foodie champion. ‘The cuisine here is the finest in all of China.’ The old Chinese saying ‘Be born in Suzhou, live in Hangzhou, eat in Guangzhou, die in Liuzhou’ suggests that she’s not the only one to think so.

Zhou and I are having dinner at Bingsheng Zen Tea House, a cute vegetarian restaurant on the cusp of Xiaogang Park. It’s my third meal in Guangzhou, and the tastiest I’ve had all weekend. Which is quite a statement, given I’ve had lashings of dim sum and cheung fan (a Cantonese delicacy of steamed rice noodle rolls), washed down with all kinds of exotic tea.

Guangzhou – formerly Canton – is the capital of Guangdong province, and the spiritual home of Cantonese cuisine (sorry, Hong Kong). As Guangzhou welcomed its first Michelin Guide at the end of June, it’s finally getting the official recognition it deserves.

And thanks to a high level of domestic migration over the past few decades – some estimates put the number of Chinese from other provinces as high as five million –Guangzhou’s food scene is not just limited to Cantonese cuisine. You’ll find that the city is laced with restaurants serving dishes from provinces as far away as Sichuan and Xinjiang.

Here’s a selection of the best restaurants in Guangzhou.

Bingsheng Zen Tea House

Guangzhou food

At the main entrance to Xiaogang Park, this vegetarian restaurant serves small plates in cosy private rooms overlooking the park’s trees. There’s a large selection of tea (pu’er, longjing green tea and a tasty apple and date infusion) and mushrooms trussed up in numerous different ways, including fungi-based dishes that look like salt and pepper squid and sweet and sour pork. It’s ideal for a long, lazy weekend lunch.

146 Qianjin Lu, Haizhu

Yu Yue Heen

Guangzhou food

Four Seasons’ dizzying one-Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant overlooks the CBD from the 71st floor of the Guangzhou International Finance Centre. Dishes span classic dim sum – turnip cake, char siu bao, siu mai – as well as seafood dishes and barbecued meats. The signature mango pudding is especially delicious. 

fourseasons.com/guangzhou

Dian Dou De

Guangzhou food

Dian Dou De – which means ‘anything is possible’ in Cantonese – has several branches around town, but the Liwan outpost is the original and best. It’s decked out in traditional xiguan style (wooden benches, red lanterns hanging from the ceiling) and its signature dish is its egg tart, which some claim (controversially) is better than those in Macao.

587 Long Jin Zhong Lu, Liwan

Huangsha Aquatic Products Market

Guangzhou food

The largest seafood market in southern China, right on the Zhujiang River, is not for the faint-hearted. There are huge Boston crabs, monumental tiger prawns and wrinkled geoducks ready for consumption. Inside the main market building is a selection of restaurants that will cook the fresh seafood you’ve just bought downstairs with nothing more than a squeeze of lemon and some garlic.

15 Huangsha Dadao, Liwan

Liwan Mingshijia

Guangzhou food

Sometimes called Liwan Famous Eatery, this super-traditional Cantonese restaurant on the old town’s Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street serves the fattest dumplings you’ll find anywhere in Guangdong (and in mainland China). If you’re not here for dumplings, there’s also wonton noodle soup, hand-pulled cheung fan and congee to try. 

99 Dishifu Lu, Liwan

Eating Adventures offers walking food tours in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Hong Kong. eatingadventures.com

Cathay Dragon flies to Guangzhou from Hong Kong 14 times a week

EDITOR’S PICKS

Discover More

Cathay Travell Book

ABOUT

Discovery online brings together all the inspirational travel writing from our two inflight magazines, Discovery and Silkroad. Be sure to look out for the print editions when you next fly with Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.
Discovery Book Silkroad Book