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Snacks

These snacks and dim sum are not just something to eat; rather, they are an integral part of Guangdong's food culture. Guangzhou's snack cuisine consists of a wide spectrum of choices which are roughly classified into seven varieties: oil-fried small dishes; porridges; rice noodles; cakes; sweets; glutinous rice dumplings and variety of small dishes. These snacks are low-priced and available throughout the city.

In addition to main dishes, Guangdong is also noted for its elaborate snacks and dim sum. Throughout the province cities provide different culinary delights, such as morning tea in Guangzhou and kung-fu tea in Chaozhou and Shantou. These snacks and dim sum are not just something to eat; rather, they are an integral part of Guangdong's food culture. Guangzhou's snack cuisine consists of a wide spectrum of choices which are roughly classified into seven varieties: oil-fried small dishes; porridges; rice noodles; cakes; sweets; glutinous rice dumplings and variety of small dishes. These snacks are low-priced and available throughout the city.

These dishes include deep-fried twisted dough sticks, smiley dumplings, fried breadsticks, crisp fried dough twists and more. Some dishes are salty, some sweet, some sweet with a slightly salty flavor, some sweet and soft, and others sweet and crisp.

Porridges are available under a good variety of names and often sold along with oil-fried small dishes. In Guangdong porridges rice is typically boiled until it bursts and strong seasonings are emphasized.

Assorted Pork Organs Porridge

The soup for this porridge is meticulously prepared by boiling scallops, tightly rolled dried skin of soybean milk and pork bones and is therefore very tasty. Each of the pork balls in the porridge is a mixture of 70% lean pork and 30% fat, and therefore very delicious. Only fresh pig liver and stomach are used for this porridge further enhancing its unique flavor and tastiness. This porridge has always been immensely popular.

Sampan Porridge

The main ingredients of this porridge are fresh river shrimps or sliced fish. These are boiled with jellyfish, fried peanut kernels, crispy dumplings, garlic chives and ginger. This porridge is often prepared for immediate consumption and is best when it's steaming hot and very fragrant, leaving a lingering taste in the mouth. In the past, Litchi Bay in the western suburb of Guangzhou was a popular gathering place for men of letters and refined scholars at dusk in summer. While cruising the river, they were served with Sampan Porridge (literally, "Boat Porridge") prepared on dedicated boats. The owners of the boats delivered bowls upon bowls of Sampan porridge on the shore and to tourist boats on the river. Over the time Sampan Porridge has become the most famous porridge in Xiguan.

There are a wide variety of noodles including rice-flour noodles, wonton noodles, Shahe noodles, pork intestine noodles and Guilin rice-flour noodles. Among local people the wonton and Shahe noodles are the most popular. Pork intestine noodles are often offered in the morning and sell out very quickly. Rice-flour noodles and Shahe noodles are often boiled or fried with various meat ingredients such as beef brisket, trotters, fish balls, shredded pork or sliced fish.  E-fu noodles are the most famous Guangdong noodles.

La Chang Noodles 

Often referred to simply as "La Chang", these noodles are a typical breakfast for Guangzhou folk. Some people even say that a morning tea without "La Chang" is just like an opera without a diva. "La Chang" emerged during the 1920s as a special small dish in Guangzhou. Originally peddled by street vendors, "La Chang" made its way to restaurants to during the 1930's and, during the 1940's �C 50's into a few time-honored restaurants such as Ai Qun Restaurant, Tao Tao Ju and Da San Yuan. Since then La Chang Noodles have become a traditional delicacy in Guangzhou.

Shahe Noodles

Shahe Noodles are a popular rice flour product in Guangzhou named after Shahe Town where they were invented. Shahe Noodles are prepared with rice immersed in water from the Nine Dragon Spring on Baiyun Mountain. The rice is then ground into flour paste, steamed and cut into strips. Shahe Noodles have been around for more than 100 years. They are clear, thin and flexile. Common cooking methods include dry frying, wet frying, boiling in soup, and mixing with salad.

Chencun Noodles

Chencun Noodles have been around for a century. They are prepared using more than 40 different methods the most popular ones being steaming, which makes them soft and slippery; frying which makes tender and soft; and boiling in soup, which makes them fragrant and flexile. It's generally believed that steamed Chencun noodles sprinkled with sesame oil, soy sauce, sour ginger shreds and roasted sesame seeds produce the best taste with extra fragrance and crispiness.

Wonton and Wonton Noodles

Wonton Noodles, with crisp noodles, tender wonton fillings and a fragrant soup,are one of the favorite small dishes of Guangzhou. The soup is boiled with shrimps, dried sole, and fine pork bones. The wonton is made with fresh pork, shelled shrimps and eggs, and cooked in a thin rice dough wrapper. After cooking, the wonton turns semi-transparent, clear and tempting; hence, its nickname of "glassy wonton".

There are soft cakes, sponge cakes, radish cakes, taro cakes, water chestnut cakes and rice cakes…all of which are steamed and incredibly delicious.

Radish Cakes

A favorite dim sum among the citizens of Guangzhou. Radish Cakes are made from glutinous rice flour and shredded radish. Most families make Radish Cakes during the Chinese Lunar New Year though restaurants offer them all year round.

Water Chestnut Cakes

Cakes made of water chestnut are mostly see-thru and clear, with a crisp and elastic covering which is done to an attractive golden color.

Although they account for just a small part of Guangzhou's dim sum cuisine, sweets are popular among local people due to their special features. Local folks' favorite sweet dim sum includes Double-Layered Milk Pudding, Green Bean Bun, Red Bean Bun, Almond Paste, Coconut-Peanut Soup Soft Balls, Stewed Papaya with Sugar, Stewed Egg with Sugar Icing and Egg Pudding. They are low-priced and highly nutritional...some with reputed medicinal effects.

Double-Layered Milk Pudding

Invented at the end of the Qing Dynasty, this dessert is double-layered and very tasty. As a dairy product, it is nutritional and low in fat. A spoonful of this creamy pudding leaves a lingering, pleasant taste in the mouth.

Ginger Milk Pudding

This dessert was invented in Shawan Town in Panyu, a town flowing with milk and honey. Raising water buffalos for milk is the primary sideline business of local farmers. Water buffalos in Panyu produce high-purity milk which contains a lot of fat. The milk is used to produce a good variety of dairy desserts, the most prominent being Ginger Milk Pudding.

sweetened green bean paste

A favorite dessert among local people, sweetened green bean paste is fragrant, refreshing, and effective in helping the eater fend off the summer heat. It is immensely popular in Guangzhou due to its unique flavor.

Turtle Fungus Paste

Turtle Fungus Paste, in its natural flavor is slightly bitter, but can be sweetened a little bit to be enjoyed by adding some honey. It was invented in Wuzhou, Guangxi Province. With eagle-mouth tortoise and smooth greenbrier root as its primary ingredients, it is a kind of health-promoting food prepared by boiling the ingredients over an extended period of time. It has served as a medicinal food, effective in stimulating metabolism, clearing away internal heat, moistening the lung, for arresting coughs, improving the complexion, nourishing the yin and strengthening the kidneys. 

Glutinous rice dumplings  (Zongzi) are of two types, either sweet or salty. Sweet ones are easier to make and typically contain beans, lotus seeds or egg yolks. Salty ones are more difficult to make, often containing salty pork or ham. Both types are steamed in lotus-leaf wrappers. Glutinous rice dumplings are a favorite food among local people and peddled by street vendors throughout the city.

Lotus-Leaf Wrapped Glutinous Rice Dumplings 

This dish is fragrant, mellow, and effective in clearing away internal fevers. Originating in Zhaoqing, Guangzhou's citizens have developed many variations such as those filled with scallops, pineapples, and beans.

Glutinous rice dumplings  (Zongzi) are of two types, either sweet or salty. Sweet ones are easier to make and typically contain beans, lotus seeds or egg yolks. Salty ones are more difficult to make, often containing salty pork or ham. Both types are steamed in lotus-leaf wrappers. Glutinous rice dumplings are a favorite food among local people and peddled by street vendors throughout the city.

Lotus-Leaf Wrapped Glutinous Rice Dumplings 

This dish is fragrant, mellow, and effective in clearing away internal fevers. Originating in Zhaoqing, Guangzhou's citizens have developed many variations such as those filled with scallops, pineapples, and beans.

Small dishes are often offered at roadside stalls and include beef haslet hot pot, fried field snails, pig blood soup, beef bone soup and sour and spicy vegetables. Each dish has a unique flavor and, although sales are small, roadside food stalls are a common sight in every neighborhood.

Crispy Fish Skin

True to its name, this dish provides extra crispiness and is typically made of grass carp, which is frozen after cooking. It's often sprinkled with garlic chives, soy sauce, peanuts and sesame making it extra fragrant and crispy. The garlic chives inhibit the smell of the fish skin while the peanuts and sesame add to the crispiness of the dish.

Mixed-Flavor Beef Haslet and Radish

In this dish beef intestine, shoulder and lung and radishes are stewed on a slow fire for hours in a sauce that contains five seasonings including bell peppers and star anise. After the beef haslet is thoroughly done and the radishes have absorbed the sauce and the beef haslet flavor, the beef haslet is cut into small cubes and eaten by impaling them with a small bamboo stick and dipping them in pepper sauce; hence the name of the dish. It's quite a delightful culinary experience.

Fried Field Snails

Field snails are characterized by their thin shell and thick meat. This dish, fragrant yet spicy and sweet, was invented in Shunde. The snails are typically fried with perilla leaves which eliminate their earthy flavor and accentuate the delicate taste. This dish is one of the favorite small dishes in Guangzhou.

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