Guangzhou’s bustling malls offer bargain after bargain to enthusiastic shoppers. But a more interesting experience awaits on the city’s famous “pedestrian streets” and “specialty markets.”
Pedestrian streets are lively thoroughfares lined with supermarkets, tea shops, clothing boutiques, jewelry stores, entertainment venues, hawkers and restaurants. These vehicle-free zones make shopping on the street an enjoyable experience compared with what you will become used to in Hong Kong.
- Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street
- Beijing Road Pedestrian Street
Specialty markets are the place to go if you’re looking for something unique. They are often given obvious names based on what is up for sale. The Yuansheng Craft Street for example, is the go-to destination for traditional Cantonese art and crafts such as embroidery, ceramics and wood carvings.
- Hualin Jade Street
- Fangcun Tea Market
- Qingping Market
- Xiguan Antiques Market
- Yuansheng Ceramic and Jade Craft Street
Cantonese (sometimes called Yue) cuisine, famous the world over for its diverse ingredients and flavors, originates from China’s Guangdong province.
Lovers of Hong Kong’s dim sum and roasted meats will find themselves in for a treat on a trip to Guangzhou.
The diversity and freshness of ingredients used in Cantonese cooking are down to the region’s proximity to the sea and surrounding fertile land, resulting in the year-round availability of fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables. Fresh ingredients are also the reason for the mild, subtle seasonings used in Cantonese cooking, which are intended to enhance the ingredients’ natural flavors rather than mask them. Those accustomed to the heavier spice and sweetness of overseas Chinese takeout dishes may be surprised by the light, natural flavors of authentic Cantonese cuisine.
Famous Cantonese dishes include:
- Braised sea cucumber
- Char siu (BBQ pork)
- Chinese steamed eggs
- Claypot rice
- Congee (Cantonese-style rice porridge)
- Dim sum
- Roast goose
- Roast suckling pig
- Steamed or braised abalone
- Steamed fish with spring onions, ginger and soy sauce
- Stir-fried beef with flat rice noodles
- Soy sauce chicken
- White cut chicken (boiled, salt-marinated chicken)
Everything with four legs except a table
The Chinese have a comical saying that they “eat everything with four legs, except tables, and anything that flies, except for airplanes.” It is a common misconception that this applies to the whole of China, but in fact it is most applicable to Cantonese cuisine. The abundance and variety of wildlife available to Guangdong people throughout history have given rise to creative dishes that make use of all edible parts — from the nests of birds to the feet of chickens.