I’ve been in southern China, specifically Guangdong Province, for the past couple weeks and was reminded of how seriously the Cantonese take their food and eating. Back in the early 80’s I lived in Hong Kong and learned first hand how much the Cantonese love to eat. Food was everywhere and people ate all day long it seemed, and late into the night. I remember once in the early 90’s I was in Guangzhou for a couple weeks working on a Cantonese language project. One night my Cantonese colleagues and I finished up our work at about 11:00 pm. I had a flight out the next morning at 7 am and figured I’d head back to my hotel and go to bed. But they had other plans. They suggested we go out and get something to eat. Why not? A little snack would be good. Boy, was I wrong. We found a small restaurant with tables spilling out onto the sidewalk. The dishes kept coming and coming. We ended up with 12 different dishes and ate until 2:00 am.
One the first things the foodie may notice in Guangzhou is that there is food and eating everywhere. It is common for small restaurants to set up tables along the sidewalk and at the best places people will be lined up waiting for a table.
The number of restaurants in Guangzhou is staggering. Street food is also pretty serious business in Guangzhou as well. Busy pedestrian malls, night markets, near bus and train stations, and shopping areas are packed with vendors selling snacks from their carts. The streets are lined with countless small shops selling everything from milk tea to ice cream. And everyone is eating.
Of course Cantonese food is probably most notable for its dimsum and the dimsum in Guangzhou is spectacular. I will be doing several more posts on the eating scene in Guangzhou as it is one of the major cuisines of China.
Also watch for an upcoming posts on eating in Chaozhou and Taiwan.
There are tons of restaurants in Guangzhou. Also, many shops selling milk tea and ice cream.
It’s really cool that shops and restaurants stay open pretty late there. In the U.S. if you want to go get some good food in the late night you’re most likely out of luck (unless maybe you live in New York).
These busy street vendors and restaurants remind me of Korea. I wish we could see some places like this in the US, because even though it may not be up to standards and regulations that are required in the US, I’ve always found that usually the best food can be found at places such as this.
I am so happy that China is close to my country and have a chance to try their food someday!!!
While reading this article, what came to mind is that none of them are obese like in America, even though they are eating all the time. But on the subject of the restaurants, I think sometimes the best restaurants are the ones without all the fancy decor; it’s more about the food.
The obsessive food culture in Asia is vastly different to that in the United States. When I would visit China, each meal would be eaten family style. Most, if not all, dishes were made to share in a large group which brings people together and keeps portions controlled. Most dishes are relatively healthy and there are always multiple vegetable dishes to go around. In the US, it is much more common to eat alone. When people do eat together, it is far more common to order individual meals which are usually much heavier and far more unhealthy which leads to the obesity problem that Americans face which Asian populations do not.