Restaurants & Bars 8

First day in Guangzhou -- long

Jeremy Osner | Aug 26, 200108:53 PM

Guangzhou rocks! We are staying in the White Swan hottel, a pleasant place on Sha Mian island -- this tiny island feels like a resort although I don't think it quite is; people live here and there is heavy auto, bicycle and pedestrian traffic between the island and the city.

The city (by foot) is right across any of three pedestrian bridges, the closest of which is about 1/4 mile from the hotel. This bridge lets out onto a huge open-air herb market, walking down the street (Qing Ping Rd.) and breathing the different aromas feels positively restorative. There are only a couple of noodle shops there and none looks particularly appetizing; today I am going to make an effort to venture deeper into the city.

Last night we had our introduction to Cantonese cuisine in the form of a seafood banquet at Dong Jiang, on the banks of the Pearl River. (Our guide tells me the restaurant has 7 locations in Guangzhou.) What a scene! The first floor is for ordering dinner; prominence of place is given to a huge array of aquarium tanks containing every specie of shellfish I could think of, and several more besides. (Something that looked like live coral? A couple different types of grub?) Also several varieties of fish and eels. Behind the tanks is counters for ordering non-seafood; but all the action was up front. The second floor is a big dining room; upper floors are banquet rooms.

We had: shrimp, oysters (breaded and fried), flounder, crab, giant scallops, sea snail, eel, and a couple other denizens of the deep that I am forgetting now. The oysters and flounder were particularly good and the crap and scallops rocked my world. After dinner they served delicious lardy crackers (guide called them "pancakes") that put a nice finish on things.

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