Guangzhou, a major city in southern China, is renowned as one of the culinary capitals of the country. Its food culture is rich in history and flavor. Here, you can savor a diverse array of dishes, from traditional Cantonese cuisine to modern culinary creations, each offering a unique taste and style. Let’s explore some of the must-try local delicacies in Guangzhou.
Cantonese Dim Sum
Partaking in dim sum is an integral part of Guangzhou’s culinary tradition, deeply ingrained in the locals’ heritage. Cantonese dim sum encompasses a wide variety of exquisite, bite-sized treats, each with its distinct flavor and charm, ensuring a delightful dining experience.
Cheung Fun (Rice Noodle Rolls)
Cheung fun, one of the most famous foods among Guangzhou’s traditional delicacies, is celebrated for its delicate texture and rich fillings. It is crafted from rice noodle sheets and can be filled with an array of ingredients, including meats, seafood, and vegetables, then steamed to perfection.
Rice Noodle in Soup (Laifen)
Laifen is a type of rice noodle where rice paste is evenly stirred with hot water to create smooth, translucent rice noodles. Traditional Guangzhou-style Laifen comes in a thick broth made from pork bones and rice paste. It’s garnished with peanuts, dried shrimp, char siu (roast pork), shiitake mushrooms, lard bits, and diced radishes, creating a delectable medley of soft and silky textures, sweet and salty flavors.
Sampan Congee (艇仔粥)
Sampan congee is a traditional delicacy from the Xiguan area of Guangzhou, known for its delectable and silky-smooth texture. To make this congee, fish slices, squid, sea cucumbers, and other seafood ingredients are cooked with the porridge, along with ingredients like green onions and shredded ginger.
Har Gow (Shrimp Dumplings)
Har gow is one of Guangzhou’s famous dim sum offerings, celebrated for its thin, translucent skin and delicious filling. Crafting these dumplings requires fresh shrimp, pork fat, and vegetables, combined with ingredients like bamboo shoots and mushrooms, all enveloped in paper-thin dumpling wrappers and then steamed to perfection.
Char Siu Bao (BBQ Pork Buns)
Char siu bao, a well-known classic breakfast item in Guangzhou, is famed for its soft bun exterior and sweet, succulent barbecue pork filling. Crafting these buns involves chopping char siu meat into small pieces, stir-frying it with ingredients like soy sauce and sugar to create the filling, and then wrapping it with fermented dough before steaming.
Wonton noodles, also known as wonton mein, come in both soup and dry varieties and are an essential part of Guangfu’s culinary culture. Making wonton noodles involves using high-quality alkaline noodles, paired with ingredients such as fresh shrimp, pork, and a variety of seasonings like fish paste.
Clay Pot Rice (Bao Zai Fan)
Clay pot rice, a traditional fast food in Guangzhou, is known for its tender, flavorful meat, and rich, savory sauce. To create clay pot rice, washed rice is placed in a clay pot, combined with an appropriate amount of water, and mixed with ingredients like meat and vegetables. The dish is then slowly cooked over low heat.
White Cut Chicken (Bai Qie Ji)
White cut chicken, one of Guangzhou’s traditional signature dishes, is celebrated for its tender, succulent meat and mild yet flavorful taste. To make white cut chicken, tender chicken is blanched until it’s just cooked, then taken out to cool. It’s subsequently chopped into small pieces and served with a sauce made from ginger and green onions.
Lo Mai Gai (Sticky Rice with Chicken)
Lo mai gai is a dish that primarily features sticky rice and chicken, along with ingredients like shiitake mushrooms and dried shrimp, all steamed to perfection. To make lo mai gai, soaked sticky rice is mixed with various ingredients, then wrapped in lotus leaves and steamed until it’s cooked to perfection.
Crispy Roast Goose
Crispy roast goose is one of Guangzhou’s traditional signature dishes, prepared using high-quality, tender goose meat that’s marinated and roasted in a special oven. This dish boasts a vibrant red color, a crispy skin, tender meat, and a delightful fragrance. You’ll savor the crispy skin, succulent meat, and the rich flavor of goose.
Cantonese BBQ is a classic of Cantonese cuisine, encompassing dishes like roast duck, roast goose, roast chicken, crispy pork belly, char siu (barbecued pork), braised duck, braised goose, red-cooked pigeons, and more. Its fast service and delicious flavors have won the hearts of many.
Double Skin Milk
Double skin milk is a traditional dessert in Guangzhou, known for its rich milk flavor and smooth texture. To make double skin milk, milk is first boiled and then allowed to cool, forming a milk skin. Beaten egg whites and sugar are added to the milk skin, and the mixture is steamed.
Ginger Milk Pudding
Ginger milk pudding is made with ginger juice and milk as the main ingredients, along with sugar and other seasonings. After stirring and allowing it to set, it solidifies. Making ginger milk pudding involves pouring hot milk into ginger juice, adding sugar, stirring well, and allowing it to set.
Water Chestnut Cake
Water chestnut cake is a traditional snack in Guangzhou with a long history, believed to date back to the Tang Dynasty. It’s made by mixing water chestnut flour with sugar water and then steaming it. This creates a sweet, smooth, and chewy cake. The two most common varieties are two-colored water chestnut cake and Pantang water chestnut cake, known for their delightful appearance and delicious taste.
Stir-Fried Rice Noodles
Stir-fried rice noodles are a highly popular dish in Guangzhou, made with high-quality rice noodles, various seasonings, beef or pork, and vegetables. The dish offers a delicious taste and a fragrant aroma with rich layers of flavor. It’s not only suitable for lunch or dinner but also a delightful option for afternoon tea or late-night snacking.
Beef Offal with Radish
Beef offal with radish is prepared by slow-cooking beef tripe, intestines, liver, lungs, and white radish with a blend of spices including Sichuan peppercorns and star anise. The ingredients simmer for hours until they soak up the sauce, then they’re sliced into small pieces and served on skewers, creating a dish with a lingering taste.
Bowl cakes are a unique Guangdong snack made from a mixture of glutinous rice flour and clear rice flour, steamed into an opaque, chewy cake. These cakes come in various flavors such as brown sugar, coconut, and osmanthus. They offer a sweet and fragrant taste, a smooth and chewy texture, and a delightful bite.
Guangzhou locals place great importance on health, so stewed soups are a must on their dining tables. There’s a wide variety of soups in Guangzhou, with one of the most common being chicken soup. Made from fresh ingredients and slow-cooked, the soup is rich in flavor, nourishing, and truly delicious.
Sweet soups are beloved desserts in Guangzhou, coming in a variety of flavors, including red bean, mung bean, lotus seed, and almond tofu. These sweet soups use fresh ingredients mixed with an appropriate amount of sugar and egg white, which are then steamed. They offer a refreshing and sweet taste, are moisturizing and delightful, and have excellent nourishing qualities.
After savoring these 20 classic Guangzhou dishes, you’ll feel like you’ve also tasted the history and culture of this city. Whether it’s the unique flavors or the rich textures, they reflect the Guangzhou people’s love and pursuit of fine cuisine. Here, you’ll find not only the temptation of delicious food but also a rich cultural heritage and the passion of life. Guangzhou, the city of gastronomy, eagerly awaits every one of your visits to introduce you to the stories and emotions hidden behind the food.