Last day in Guangzhou and it’s time to hang out with Bear Woman’s relatives and to really experience Guangzhou cuisine.
Dim Sum in it’s Homeland
First things first, dim sum. This cuisine, meant to be eaten in the morning, originated right here in Guangzhou. It’s a nice opportunity to bond with family, drink some tea and eat a variety of small Chinese dishes, tapas-style. The restaurant that Bear Woman’s relatives chose was 稻香酒家. We started with some tasty 腐皮捲 (fried beancurd rolls), huge sesame balls and jello-y 馬蹄糕 (water chestnut cake). For dumplings, we had some 潮州粉粿 (Chaozhou dumplings) with its transparent chewy skin stuffed with peanuts, chives, mushrooms, pork, and dried shrimp. For a more savoury dish, we had the seasoned tripe over daikon soaking in all the flavours of the delicious sauce, as well as the 鳳爪 (chicken feet), which was nicely seasoned as well. We can’t forget about Bear Woman’s favourite 腸粉 (rice noodle rolls) with a soft outer layer, savoury meat filling, covered with a sweet soy sauce. My favourite dish was the red rice noodle roll with a magical crispy centre. To add some substance to our meal, we had the 糯米雞 (sticky rice on the outside with savoury egg yolk, mushrooms and pork on the inside). What a great way to begin our Guangzhou cuisine adventure!
After breakfast, we took a walk around Yuexiu Park and visited the Guangzhou Museum to learn about the history of Guangzhou. After that, we walked over to the Five Rams Sculpture. The myth goes that the land was barren and people were suffering many years ago. Then five rams came and gave food and blessings to this city, which has since become prosperous. This is why Guangzhou is sometimes referred to as the “City of Rams”.
Meal Fit for a King
Enough sightseeing, as it was time to eat again. We headed over to 侨美食家 for another feast. We started with a light tofu stew, which was smooth and tasty. To justapose the light stew, we had an impressively spicy beef stew topped with what appears to be million pieces of peppers. Then, we had some stir-fried noodles, which is one of my favourite noodle dishes. It’s the broad noodles (河粉) stir-fried with soy sauce and beansprouts. I usually have this with beef but even without, it is still very tasty. Then the star of the meal arrived – the squab (乳鴿). We had ordered 4 for the 6 of us, which was plenty to go around. You can eat this by itself or dipped in pepper and salt. If this was not enough protein, we also had some simple, yet delicious 白切雞 (boiled and sliced chicken) reminding me of the Hainanese chicken rice chicken. To end things on a sweet note, we had some Portuguese egg tarts.
After this scrumptious lunch, we continue our sightseeing. We checked out the luxurious White Swan Hotel as well as the surrounding Shamian Island and it’s colonial architecture.
Surprise Bubble Tea Find
We came across “The Alley”, which is extremely popular in Vancouver according to Bear Woman, so we had to stop by for some bubble tea. We had their 黑糖鹿丸抹茶 (Brown Sugar Deerioca Matcha Latte) and it was really good. The tapiocas or “deeriocas” were really tasty and special. Definitely can appreciate the hype for this. Because my mom can’t take too much caffeine, she had ordered just the milk with tapioca and it was not something I would recommend.
Watch Out for That Pinky Toe
We eventually made our way over to the Canton Tower and walked around the base and took some pictures. We had to take a washroom break and I noticed some other tourists wearing strappy sandals into the squatties, which made me anxious. All I could imagine was if one of their pinky toes slipped out and touched that dirty, wet, squattie floor. I just can’t. But I digress. After we came out, we saw that that the sun has set and the lights have turned on! There were colourful lights projecting onto the tower and it was quite pretty! Apparently there was a light show happening on the other side of the river. It was so crowded on the first day of the event that the organizers now had to limit access and it required pre-booking. We decided to pass this time. Didn’t want to get crushed.
Feast #3: Congee Hotpot
Time flies when you’re having fun, as it was time for dinner (already). We were definitely not hungry after two amazingly filling meals but we were on our way to meet my mom’s friend for some more feasting. The restaurant of choice was 毋米粥. The set-up is really neat with many private rooms. Apparently this was a hotpot place which uses a congee-like broth. We started with some super thick Chinese donuts and some rice noodle rolls. Then we had a lovely seafood pot with abalone, mushrooms, conch and many surprise thumbs of ginger (beware). Then the server changed the stew pot with a hotpot with white, thick, congee-like broth. When stirred, there weren’t any visible rice pieces. It was quite interesting. This became the base to cook various seafoods, starting with a nicely sliced white fish, fresh (jumping out of the dish) shrimp, ending with some vegetables. Because the flavour of the broth was on the bland side, there was soy sauce to dip the various food in. The rest of the fish was then deep fried and served. The whole meal become a 3-hour gala so it was time to head home and rest our bellies for the day.