Conveniently nestled near the beautiful Pearl River Delta is China’s third largest city, Guangzhou. Historically, the city was used as a trading port due to its strategic positioning along the South China Sea. As such, it has transformed into China’s biggest and busiest transport hub. Located across the bay from Hong Kong, a two-hour train journey away, means that Guangzhou (or ‘Canton’ to most visitors) is one of the most well-connected cities in China. Twice every year, thousands of importers convene in Guangzhou for the world’s largest trade show, the Canton Fair. With your days occupied with meeting manufacturers supplying a range of textiles, fashion items, automotive parts, etc., you’ll no doubt work up an appetite at the end of each day. If you’re after something more than quick takeout, some of the region’s finest restaurants are in Guangzhou. Here are the five best places to eat during your visit to the Canton Fair.
1. Panxi Restaurant
If it’s your first time visiting the Canton fair, or China for that matter, and you’re looking for a quintessential Cantonese restaurant, Panxi is your best bet. Established in the late 1940s, Panxi is famed throughout Guangzhou for its traditional and affordable dim sum. Its food and Southern Han Dynasty imperial gardens attract tourists all year round. The restaurant is particularly popular amongst Canton fair visitors who are looking for the tranquility the restaurant’s setting provides. It’s ideal after a long, busy day canvassing the long halls of the fair. Considering how many people visit the fair, it’s worth making a reservation in advance and avoiding the crowds of hungry fair-goers. Meals average under $40 per person.
The Dim Sum might grab the headlines on the menu, but keep in mind that the restaurant is well known for its award winning traditional Cantonese dishes. If you’re in the mood for an after dinner treat and hoping to see more of the sights and sounds of Guangzhou, a walk around the street Panxi is located on will offer a variety of local delicacies, like mooncakes.
If you’re staying in the heart of the city, the Mandarin Oriental hotel is one of the best places to stay for the fair. One reason to stay is that its in-house restaurant, Jiang by Chef Fei, is at the cutting edge of Chinese cuisine. Led by the award winning young chef, the menu offers an exciting new take on traditional Cantonese favorites. The ingredients may sound simple at first, but the creativity in their assembly is why Jiang is so popular for business travelers visiting Guangzhou.
If you’re looking for a high-end dining experience, the luxurious interior trims and private dining booths offer the perfect environment to conduct meetings or enjoy some privacy with your partner. The impressive decor does little to distract from the incredible food, however. If you’re after a local Guangzhou favorite, the Dim Sum is prepared impeccably. The delectable flavors found in the tenderly fried sirloin with chili offer something more accustomed to a western palate. The elegance and culinary experience on offer at Jiang offer a wonderful contrast after a long day walking through the endless array of booths at the Canton fair. A full course meal at Jiang averages to about $70 per person.
Once you’ve booked your seat for dinner, take advantage of our online discount and book your car ride back to the hotel!
If you’re looking for the comforts of home, Wilber’s is considered a staple for Western visitors. Located in a recently restored colonial-era villa, the ground floor offers a popular bar and cocktail area. Providing the perfect opportunity to unwind after a long day negotiating with vendors at the fair. The restaurant level upstairs, in contrast, offers some italian favorites and delicacies. For those looking for a taste of the seas, the squid ink pasta is worth trying. This delights are especially well-enjoyed if you’re lucky enough to be seated in the leafy and relaxing patio area or the magnificent rooftop veranda. The veranda showcases a fantastic view of the city. For those looking to have their mind made up for them, for just over $50 per person the set menu includes their famous mushroom soup and risotto.
4. La Seine
It may be far from the romantic avenues of Paris, but La Seine offers visitors the chance to dine on elegant French cuisine. Arguably as good as anything you might find along the Champs-Elysee. The interior offers a calming, cosy experience, perfect to relax in after a busy day at the fair. The purple and cream color scheme may stand out amongst other restaurants you visit during your visit to Guangzhou. However, the colors won’t be the focus of your attention for long once the food arrives. Paired with one of Guangzhou’s best wine lists, the fantastic array of dishes include baked escargot and homemade foie gras. The pan fried goose liver with figs and red wine sauce is another favorite among guests.
Despite the elegant, formal approach to their menu, La Seine won’t chase you away if you arrive in your comfortable jogging shoes. After all, most Canton fair visitors will choose to wear comfortable shoes, considering they’ll be on their feet all day. One bonus this restaurant offers is its proximity to the Xinghai Concert Hall. If theatre is something you enjoy, you may consider attending a show at the concert hall to unwind before your dinner at La Seine. Considering how popular the restaurant is year round, it’d be best to book your table in advance.
5. The Oakroom
If you started in Hong Kong before making your way to Guangzhou, you’ll have hopefully taken in one of the many rooftop views on offer. If you’re after an elegant rooftop view to accompany your meal, the Oakroom is where you’ll want to be. Situated in the heart of the CBD, the Oakroom is on the 16th floor of one of Guangzhou’s most luxurious apartment blocks. The extraordinary views of the city mix perfectly with the restaurant’s elegant, and modern interior design. If your day has been particularly busy, the Oakroom even offers an ‘All You Care To Drink’ special between 7 PM and 9 PM every night.
The drinks aren’t the only attraction, however. Offering a combination of Chinese and European gastronomy, their menu is sure to offer whatever you’re in the mood for. Some innovative schemes complement the award winning service. Including the bold idea of having guests pay only however much they felt the meal was worth. If that doesn’t show you how much confidence the restaurant has in its food, then nothing will!
It goes without saying that the Canton Fair is a great opportunity if you’re importing goods from China. Considering how vast and time consuming the fair can be, any experienced visitor will tell you to do your research on who to meet and where their booth is before entering the fair. The same research can and should be done for your hotel and dining arrangements. The fair is guaranteed to be busy in each edition. After spending all day on your feet, the last thing you’ll want to do is stand in a queue at a fast food outlet or restaurant waiting to get something to eat. Our guide to the best places to eat during the Canton Fair will ensure finding a place to eat is the least of your worries during your stay in Guangzhou!