I'm constantly amazed by the huge selection of food you can try in the South of China. My wife Ting is from Guangzhou, so we often spend time exploring the back lanes looking for food, and filming street food videos for our YouTube Channel. It's so full of delicious food here! It would truly take a lifetime to eat everything! Guangzhou is the capital city of Guangdong, which is famous in China and throughout the world as the home of Cantonese food, known here locally as Yuecai or 粤菜. Cantonese food is perhaps the most famous Chinese food around the world, mainly because the first and second wave Chinese immigrants came from the south of China; Guangdong, Fujian, and Hainan.
Here, in Guangdong, and the rest of the south of China, you can find elegant, refined cuisine that is best experienced in hole in the wall restaurants and high end restaurants alike.
Dim sum is the first thing I always eat in Guangzhou, simply because it’s so satisfying and makes you feel so happy! In the old days, dim sum was pushed around on carts and people would choose what they wanted as they ate, and still is in many places outside of China, but now most restaurants in Guangzhou are sit down and order places, where you’re given a menu and a pencil to tick off the dishes you want to eat beforehand.
It can be quite difficult to order the best dishes if you can’t read or speak Chinese, so you can bring this guide along with you and show the photos of the food to the server.
10 Must Try Dim Sum Dishes
1 Har Gao - Xia Jiao - 虾饺 - Shrimp Dumplings
I always order up one or even two steamers of Har Gao shrimp and pork fat dumplings. They are absolutely fantastic. The silky rice flour wrapper, the springy shrimp, and the bursting pork fat makes these dumplings an all time favorite dim sum dish.
2 Siu Mai - Shaomai - 烧麦 - Pork And Shrimp Dumplings
These go along perfectly with the Har Gao dumplings. These juicy pork and shrimp dumplings are often also filled with bamboo shoots, water chestnut, or dehydrated shiitake mushrooms. I’m also guilty of dipping these in a chili sauce, I just can’t help it!
3 Char Sui Bao - Chashaobao - 叉烧包 - BBQ Pork Buns
There’s nothing like eating classic chashaobao in a local dim sum restaurant in Guangdong. The fluffy bao dough and the soft, juicy, and slightly sweet BBQ pork is so satisfying!
4 Cheong Fen - Chang Fen - 肠粉 - Rice Noodle Rolls
These come in a few variations, but the basic concept is always the same, you have a steamed rice flour that is stuffed with your choice of filling and rolled up. I usually get the xiachang 虾肠 shrimp roll, but you can also order it with beef, pork, or plain. You can also find this dish on the street for breakfast or in many little family run restaurants specializing in all different types of changfen.
5 Feng Zao - Fengzhua - 凤抓 - Chicken feet
Chicken feet! Dont’ dismiss them until you try them because when they are done right, they can be absolutely incredible. They are first fried and then steamed, which gives the skin around the feet an extra fluffy and satisfying texture to chew on. They are usually covered in a slightly spicy bean paste which lends a lot of flavour and makes them very delicous!
These molten egg custard steamed buns are one of my favorite dim sum dishes. They are stuffed with an oozy, gooey egg custard that is sweet, a little granular, and when served steaming hot, you won’t be able to stop eating them!
7 Luobago -Luobuogao - 萝卜糕 - Fried turnip cake
The radish cake! Another famous dim sum dish you must try when you go for dim sum in Guangdong. It’s basically shredded turnip and rice flour in a pan fried cake.
8 Dantat - Danta - 蛋挞 - Portugese egg tart
Portugese egg tarts are famous all throughout Southern China, and is heavily influenced by the Portugese pastel de nata, and is said to have been found first in Guangzhou in the 1920’s. They outer pastry dough is soft and flaky and the inner egg custard is sweet and very enjoyable!
9 Pidan Shourou Zhou - 皮蛋瘦肉粥 - Century egg porridge
This one is for the more adventurous eaters! If you want to try century egg, but don’t want to try a bite out of a whole egg, you can order up this famous rice porridge in almost any dim sum restaurant and get a taste for the real deal. Little pieces of fermented, potent century egg are mixed in throughout the porridge, giving you an intense flavour that you’ll either love or hate.
10 Chaomian - 炒面
I always like to order one fried noodle dish. In Southern China, the most common noodle to fry is thin, yellow egg noodles with beef and served with a chili sauce that you can dip each bite into.
My 3 Favorite Dim Sum Restaurants in Guangzhou
Guangzhou restaurant AKA Guangzhou Jiujia or 广州酒家 is one of Guangzhou’s oldest and most famous dim sum restaurants. There are now many chain locations throughout the city, but you should visit the old one in the city center for the classic experience.
There are so many options to choose from, but I recommend trying their famous har gao shrimp dumplings, and choosing some of the classic dishes I listed above.
Guangzhou Jiujia 广州酒家
2 Wenchang S Rd, ShangXiaJiu, Liwan Qu 文昌南路2号
07:00-14:30 and 17:30-22:00, come before 11 for dim sum
Dim Dou Dak
Dim Dou Dak is one of Guangzhou’s few restaurants that serves dim sum all day. You can come here for dinner! They have excellent dim sum of all types, but are famous for their hongchangfen, a rice noodle roll with a crispy pastry and shrimp stuffed inside, they are definitely worth a try!
Dim Dou Dak 點都德(聚福楼)
White Swan Hotel Dim Sum
If you want to eat extremely delicious and elegant dim sum, White Swan hotel has undoubtedly the BEST dim sum in Guangzhou. The prices are expensive, but it is so worth it. You can eat truffle siu mai and the most delicious and plump shrimp ha gao dumplings from heaven!
White Swan Hotel Restaurant 广州白天鹅宾馆
沙面南路一号 Shamian Nan Lu Yi Hao
Come for morning dim sum. The lineup might be long.
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