Food

5 must-try street foods on Guangzhou’s Xihua Road

Jul 17, 2019

The southern Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou has a reputation for being one of the country’s food capitals.

This is the birthplace of Cantonese cuisine, which prioritizes simple cooking techniques such as steaming, baking, and stir-frying in order to preserve the ingredients’ original flavor.

Situated on the Pearl River Delta, Guangzhou is blessed with coastal access to fresh seafood. Expect a lot of fish, shrimp, and seasonal vegetables when you come.

The Guangzhou skyline.
The Guangzhou skyline.

Although Cantonese food is most associated in the West with lavish banquet halls and seafood restaurants, there’s also a long tradition of street food in Guangzhou.

One street in particular, Xihua Road 西华路, is famous for its no-frills eateries serving local fare in an unpretentious atmosphere.

Xihua Road in Guangzhou is particularly known for its street food.
Xihua Road in Guangzhou is particularly known for its street food.

Here, you can spend a whole day eating street food for just a few bucks. This is our list of five must-try dishes on Xihua Road, and the best places to find them.

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Rice noodle rolls 肠粉

This iconic dish, known as cheung fun in Cantonese, has many variations. Some come with shrimp inside, some with roast pork, but the street variation is simple: broad rice noodles with meat and lettuce sprinkled on top.

It only takes minutes to make. First, a batter of ground rice and water is spread over a cloth. Then come the accoutrements. The whole thing is steamed, and bam, it’s ready to be served.

Where to Find It

芳记小食店 Fang Ji Xiao Shi Dian

280 Xihua Road 西华路

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Wonton noodles 混沌面

We all know wonton. Those tasty morsels of pork, shrimp, and crab roe offer an umami explosion with each bite.

(Read more: Wonton noodle soup was actually supposed to be a post-theater snack)

The best shops make their own noodles, and no one does it better than 兴兴旺面家 Xing Xing Wang Mian Jia.

The ingredients are simple—flour, duck eggs, and alkaline water—but combined, they create egg noodle strands with just the right amount of chewiness and salinity.

Where to Find It

兴兴旺面家 Xing Xing Wang Mian Jia

356 Xihua Road 西华路

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Clay pot noodle rolls 啫啫煲

This dish is called jeje pot in Cantonese because of the way the clay pot sizzles when it’s fired up.

The shop to try it at is 珍珍小食店 Zhen Zhen Xiao Shi Dian, which simmers thick noodle rolls in clay pots.

(Read more: Vegan clay pot rice is a modern twist on a classic dish)

After the rolls are cooked for a bit, the veggies and meat are added.

Then the lid is covered for 90 seconds, allowing the rolls to soak in its signature “secret sauce,” which the shop says is made from 20 different herbs.

Where to Find It

珍珍小食店 Zhen Zhen Xiao Shi Dian

183 Xihua Road 西华路

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Beef entrails 牛三星

This dish is called ngau sam sing, literally “beef three stars,” in Cantonese because the “stars” refer to the heart, liver, and tenderloin.

These three cow parts are thrown into boiling water for a few minutes and then taken out.

(Read more: Our (very) comprehensive guide to Cantonese barbecue)

The secret to this dish is in the broth, which is made with ox bones simmered over a couple hours.

The result is a clean beefy taste.

Where to Find It

牛佬牛杂汤 Niu Lao Niu Za Tang

135 Jinhua Straight Street 花直街

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Black sesame soup

Top off your street food journey with dessert. In Guangzhou, the digestif of choice is soup.

There are many kinds—coconut soup, mango soup, sweet bird’s nest soup—but black sesame is the classic.

(Read more: 8 quintessential dim-sum desserts, illustrated)

At 芝麻糊世家 Sesame Hushijia, toasted sesame seeds are crushed by hand into a paste.

The mix is then poured into a large pot, where water is added and cooked for 20 minutes.

The process is simple, but the result is a smooth, fragrant soup.

Where to Find It

芝麻糊世家 Sesame Hushijia

383 Xihua Road 西华路

GuangzhouStreet food

Credit

Producers: Venus Wu and Frentee Ji

Writer: Venus Wu

Videographer: Frentee Ji

Editor: Hanley Chu

Narrator and Mastering: Victor Peña