Formerly known as Canton, Guangzhou, the namesake of Cantonese, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong Province. The birthplace of China’s maritime Silk Road, Guangzhou is located just north of Hong Kong and has been a hotbed for tourists recently. With attractions like Chimelong Safari Park, Canton Tower and Shamian Island, Guangzhou is a fun place to explore and eat local cuisine. Here are the top ten must try foods in Guangzhou.
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10. White Cut Chicken 白切鸡 Bái qiē jī
White Cut Chicken is an extremely simple but fresh dish in Cantonese cuisine. The plain chicken is boiled with no added spices or flavors for fifteen minutes. The trick is to use a local, organic chicken for its natural flavor. After it's done, peanut oil, ginger and scallions are added just to compliment the taste ever so slightly. Most of the flavor will be in the taugt skin.
9. Eight Treasure Chinese Winter Melon 八宝冬瓜盅 Bā bǎo dōng guā zhōng
Eight Treasure Chinese Winter Melon is a soup that is eaten in the hot Guangzhou summers. The name comes from the uniquely carved winter melon used as a bowl that is boiled and dipped in cold water to maintain it's shape. The soup ingredients can include ham, turkey, crab, oyster, frog, chicken stock and some pulp from the winter melon.
8. Dragon Fighting the Tiger 龙虎斗 Lóng hǔ dòu
Probably the scariest Guangzhou specialty on this dish (for foreigners at least). This dish is called Dragon Fighting the Tiger because it's made of snake and wild cat meat, resembling both a dragon and a tiger. Black chicken might be added, giving the dish an additional ingredient of the "phoenix." All of the ingredients are cooked in a soup with winter mushroom and dates.
7. Double Skin Milk 双皮奶 Shuāng pí nǎi
Similar to pudding or flan, double skin milk is a very simple but sweet dessert traditionally made from the milk of a water buffalo, sugar and egg whites. The milk is simmered with a layer of sugar and egg whites on top, hence the name "double skin." The soft milk dessert is very healthy and you can add raising, fruit, lotus seeds, or red bean.
6. Taiye Chicken 太爷鸡 Tài yé jī
The name for Taiye Chicken comes from the mayor of an Ancient Guangzhou city in the Qing Dynasty. After he retired from office, he allegedly invented the dish. The chicken is boiled to about 90% cooked in a special salty soup then smoked with black tea leaves and honey. After it is done, it is cooled down, sliced and coated in some special soup with honey for extra salty and sweet flavor.
5. Egg Tarts 蛋挞 Dàn tà
The famous Hong Kong Egg Tarts were actually first introduced in Guangzhou in the 1920s during the First Opium War. Almost as a fusion between Western and Chinese cultures, egg tart style and recipe hasn't changed in decades. They are the most popular dim sum and yum cha item and have become so mainstream that even KFC in China carries it.
4. Hefen Noodles 河粉 Hé fěn
Hefen is a broad rice noodle that was created in Tianhe, Guangzhou and is incredibly prevalent in Cantonese cuisine. The unique feature of this noodle is that it's incredibly slippery. They are elastic and chewy and can come in a variety of styles, like stir-fried, steamed, with soy sauces, etc.
3. Rice Rolls/Chang Fen 肠粉 Cháng fěn
A Dim Sum favorite for everyone is the Rice Rolls or Chang Fen. The ultra-thin rice noodle is wrapped delicately around another Cantonese favorite, Char siu meat. The rolls are liberally coated in soy sauce for even more flavor. The name literally means "Intestine Noodle" but only because of the way it looks, not because of the ingredients in it, so don't be afraid.
2. Roasted Suckling Pig 烤乳猪 Kǎo rǔ zhū
Roasted Suckling Pig has been a delicacy and banquet dish in Guangzhou for over 1400 years. There are two main cooking styles for suckling pig. One is made with a low fire and a little bit of oil to keep the skin smooth. The second way is to use a big fire with lots of oil to melt the skin. The beautiful golden color of the pig is complimented by the extremely tender texture of the meat.
1. Dim Sum 点心 Diǎnxīn
One of the most popular, iconic staples of the Cantonese cuisine is Dim Sum. Instead of being served full portion meals, Dim Sum is all about ordering lots of bite-sized snack portions in steamer baskets to share with everyone. Typically served with tea, Dim Sum dishes range from soft shrimp dumplings to chicken feet and everything in between. In classic Dim Sum houses, waiters roll metal carts around and you simply pick the baskets you want.
To find any of these foods at place near you, search their names in the Spoonhunt app!
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