Many who visit Guangzhou do so on business or in transit, diluting the city’s reputation as a tourist destination in its own right. Much to visitors’ delight, however, China’s third largest city...
Formerly known as Canton, Guangzhou is famously the birthplace of Cantonese cuisine, and the quality of food on offer throughout the city reflects this. This style of cuisine is characterised by its emphasis on sweet and mellow sauces, stir-fried vegetables, steamed seafood and roasted meats. From the wafting aromas of street food to world-class fine dining restaurants, quality Cantonese food lurks around every corner in Guangzhou. When hunger sets in, talk a walk down Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street. After taking a minute to enjoy the atmosphere, aromas and excitement of this bustling street, enjoy some of the best Cantonese cuisine on the planet at one of Shangxiajiu’s famous restaurants. Taotaoju Restaurant, Wenchang Chicken and Guangzhou Restaurant are all well and truly deserving of their hype. One meal not to be missed while in Guangzhou is roasted whole suckling pig. This famous dish has a proud history in Guangzhou dating back some 1,400 years. Not surprisingly, the skill of roasting the pig has been finely honed over the years. Panxi Restaurant and Datong Restaurant are both safe bets for anyone on the hunt for great roasted suckling pig. There’s a good chance the local cuisine will get a little tiresome at some point. When this happens, there’s an endless array of international dining options on offer catering for every taste and budget. If the taste buds are craving French cuisine, there are several excellent options scattered around the Guangzhou Art Museum, not far from the city centre.
It hardly needs to be said that Guangzhou is a fantastic shopping destination. This sprawling city’s retail opportunities cater for bargain hunters and high-end fashionistas alike, with bustling markets and world class shopping malls competing for shoppers’ attention. At one end of the scale is Qingping Market, the largest street market in Guangzhou. More than 2,000 vendors make up the kilometre-long strip, with everything from antiques and jewellery to plants and even rare animals on offer. Continue the bargain hunt at the First Tunnel of Guangzhou, a well-known underground clothing market near Guangzhou Train Station selling a huge array of not-so-genuine designer items. Antique lovers will rejoice on discovery of Xiguan Antique City in central Guangzhou. Extending half a kilometre, this huge antique market is comprised of over 100 stores hawking everything from porcelain statues to Tibetan rugs. Expect to find eras from the Tang Dynasty right through to the Republic of China represented here. Even if antiques don’t really appeal, Xiguan is still worth a visit purely for its calm, tranquil atmosphere. For a more modern shopping experience, visit the complex containing one of the world’s tallest buildings, CITIC Plaza. Adjacent to the famous skyscraper is a five-level shopping mall home to more than 100 stores including high-end fashion boutiques, beauty salons, restaurants and specialty stores. While in the area, be sure to check out Backstreet, a casual outdoor shopping facility situated behind the CITIC Plaza.