Guangzhou Res­tau­rant


For cen­turies, Can­ton has been in­ter­na­tion­ally known for its in­no­va­tive food cul­ture. Global trade links from the 18th cen­tury on­wards cre­ated a class of very wealthy, dis­cern­ing pa­trons who – due to strict laws that pro­hib­ited an os­ten­ta­tious public dis­play of wealth by mer­chants – had to find some other way to en­joy their money. As they could af­ford high-qual­ity, in­no­va­tive cui­sine, this de­vel­oped into an en­dur­ing pas­sion for good food, which re­mains de­li­ciously ev­i­dent to­day.

Above: The in­te­rior of Guangzhou Res­tau­rant; Be­low: the fa­mous jade burial suit at the Mu­seum of the Mau­soleum of the Nam Yue King; Right: Wil­low pat­tern plate

His­tor­i­cally, the Can­tonese were the he na­tion’s mi­grants, as well as po­lit­i­call and so­cial in­no­va­tors. At least in part due to the city’s long ex­po­sure to the out­side world, these fac­tors give con­text to the city’s fab­u­lous – and his­toric – food cul­ture.

Com­bined with open­ness to out­side in­flu­ences, Can­ton’s ex­pand­ing wealth and ris­ing mid­dle class in the 1920s cre­ated great op­por­tu­ni­ties for the cater­ing trade. Near the jade mar­ket, the Guangzhou Res­tau­rant, es­tab­lished in 1935, is an en­dur­ing ex­am­ple of this trend.

This de­servedly fa­mous lo­cal land­mark is the orig­i­nal res­tau­rant; other branches have since opened else­where in the city. Prices are rea­son­able, and qual­ity re­mains very high – a full and var­ied meal for two to three peo­ple will come to about ¥300 ($49). Beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated pri­vate rooms are set around a su­perb cen­tral court­yard.

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