Selection of dim sum in bamboo baskets and two cups and pot of tea

A chef’s guide to Guangzhou’s best restaurants

From Cantonese dim sum to noodles, and with some of the world’s best street food, Guangzhou is fast becoming China’s new gourmet capital. In fact, the illustrious Michelin Guide has featured several of the city’s best restaurants, including Jiang by Chef Fei, which was awarded its first Michelin star in 2018. Executive Chinese Chef Huang Jing Hui takes us on a gastronome’s guide to the city

A hand opening a dim sum steamer to reveal dumplings, and dipping sauces by the side

For an unparalleled choice of dim sum

Yum Cha, which literally means to ‘drink tea’, originated in Guangzhou and is a quintessential Cantonese eating experience that stretches back thousands of years. And Dian Dou De is the place to drink tea and sample some of the city’s high quality and diverse range of dim sum. “Dian Dou De translates to ‘anything is possible’ in Cantonese and this is reflected within the food,” Hui says. “They serve traditional dishes such as egg tarts, har gao (shrimp dumpling), cheung fun (rice rolls) and char siu bao barbecue pork buns. Dian Dou De has several outposts, but the one in Liwan is the best. The locals love this place because the restaurant itself is steeped in culture and heritage and it’s decorated in Guangzhou’s traditional Xiguan style.”

Wok-fried black and white pepper Sri Lanka king crab served in a white bowl

Popular Chinese dishes

For classic Cantonese fare prepared with a modern twist, Jiang by Chef Fei respects time-honoured traditions, but brings a revolutionary element. “We’re known as one of the best Cantonese restaurants in the city. We have a variety of Cantonese dishes on the menu such as lobster in steamed eggs with Hua Diao (Shaoxing) wine and crispy pork with caviar,” he says. “Our wok-fried black and white pepper Sri Lanka king crab is a real showstopper.”

 “Another popular dish at Jiang by Chef Fei is Wenchang chicken, which originates from Hainan province.” Hui says, “It’s lightly seasoned to allow the true taste of the meat to come through. The chicken is served whole, including the head and feet. It’s said that the white meat symbolises purity and the wholeness represents unity.”

Fresh shrimp wonton noodles in a wok with chopsticks and half a lime

For signature noodles

There’s nothing more comforting than a big bowl of hearty noodles. Whether they are stir-fried or sitting in a bath of rich broth, noodles are a Cantonese staple. “Jian Ji still uses traditional noodle-making methods. Their ee-fu noodles are flattened by bouncing them on a bamboo pole,” Hui explains. “It’s great that they’re still preserving this traditional technique. Their fresh shrimp wonton noodles and pork knuckle noodles are second to none.”

Stuffed baozi (steamed dumplings) with dipping sauce

For an authentic street food experience

Guangzhou comes to life at street markets and food stalls, it’s where you’ll get an authentic local taste and a real feel of the place. “I love street food because they’re my memories of what true Guangzhou is. We have deep feelings for local, memorable snacks,” Hui says. “Things like niu san xing (beef offal), congee (rice porridge) and freshly made stuffed baozi (steamed dumplings) are all famous and can be found at Shangxia Jiu Lu Pedestrian Walk.”

Sweet milk pudding being drizzled with a sweet treacle-like sauce

For sugar, spice and everything nice

Desserts play a vital part of Cantonese cuisine and visitors can find all sorts of sweet treats dotted around the city’s eateries. Satisfy your sweet tooth with some of the city’s bestsellers such as sweet tofu pudding, red bean paste, guilinggao (turtle jelly), black sesame paste and sago. “There are plenty of Guangzhou delicacies to try, such as Tang yuan (sweet gluten soup dumplings) from Jia Shu Tang Wan Wang and double-layered milk pudding from Wen Xin Lao Pu,” Hui says. “They’re both made using old-style methods and adhere to absolute quality.”

Words by Angela Hui

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