Halal Restaurants We’ve Tried in Guangzhou
Chinese food outside mainland China is usually modified to suit the palate of the people where it is served. In Pakistan and India, for example, Chinese food is typically served with a thick, spicy sauce and vegetables that are stir-fried to oblivion. This desi-fied Chinese cuisine is said to date back a few hundred years when a small Chinese community from the Hakka region settled in Calcutta in the late 19th century. They tweaked their recipes and incorporated locally available vegetables, herbs, and spices to suit the Indian taste buds. Chinese food has, since then, become the most popular foreign cuisine in India. This is why majority of restaurants in Pakistan and India dedicate a section of their menu to Chinese food. What about halal restaurants in Guangzhou?
“But what are you going to eat in China?!”
Some of our friends have asked us with alarming concern. A lot of us who have never set foot in China naively think that halal food is unavailable and that you never know what exotic ingredient you’ll find in your bowl of noodles. How conveniently we forget that there are more than 21 million Muslims in China! A quick chat with a family member who often travels to China assured us food was not going to be an issue at all.
We traveled to Guangzhou earlier this year to attend the Canton Trade Fair. This blog post is about the halal food we ate during our stay in the city.
Bosphorus Turkish Restaurant, Guangzhou.
It was past midnight when we arrived at our hotel in Guangzhou. We had traveled from Dubai with a 9-hour stopover in Hong Kong. We were exhausted and famished, and had no clue where to go to eat. While waiting for our room keys, we did notice some Pakistani and Arab men carrying bags of food across the hotel lobby and back to their rooms. The hotel we stayed at was the Asia International Hotel, and quite fortunately for us, there are several halal restaurants within walking distance.
Following the direction from where the Arab men with bags of food were coming from, we found ourselves in front of Bosphorus Turkish Restaurant. They were still open, and we were warmly welcomed inside. Finally feasting on warm, tender grilled chicken, rice, and lentil soup was comfort food for our tired selves.
Bosphorus Turkish Restaurant
Mediterranean, Turkish, Middle Eastern
No.9 Zhaoqing Building, No.304 Huanshi Zhong Road Yuexiu District, Guangzhou 510000, China
+86 20 8356 3578
Flamingo Turkish Restaurant and Patisserie, Guangzhou.
We woke up bright and early the next morning and walked around the vicinity of our hotel to check breakfast places out. Crowne Plaza was nearby. We noticed a Turkish restaurant and were delighted to find out they were open for breakfast!
They had a lavish and very opulent velvet interiors in the restaurant. We chose to sit outdoors surrounded by potted plants. A staff was watering the plants nearby. Further beyond our green wall, children were playing ball and riding bicycles.
The portion size, as you can see, is quite generous. We ordered coffee afterward. They offer cheese pide (Turkish-style pizza), soups, hummus, salads, lamb chops, etc. In the evening, people gather to have sheesha.
Flamingo Turkish Restaurant and Patisserie
Mediterranean, Turkish, Middle Eastern
1/F, South Section, Zhonghuan Plaza, No.18 Jianshe Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou, China
+86 20 8302 2065
Hadramout Restaurant, Guangzhou
This restaurant was discovered by chance. We were taking an evening stroll near our hotel’s vicinity and saw a building that contained small shops. Initially we thought they might be selling at wholesale price, but it turned out that everything was quite expensive. On the second floor of this building was Hadramout Restaurant.
The place was packed for dinner at 8pm. It was, after all, the Canton Trade Fair season. People were laughing and enjoying their meals. Several tables and chairs were crammed to accommodate the number of diners. Beyond the crowd we noticed curtained cabins similar to the Middle Eastern restaurants here in the UAE. This was where we were seated. Masood had mandi while I had fried fish with rice and soup. The food arrived swiftly—despite the rush—and tasted fresh and delicious. To sum up we had basically forgotten that we were sitting in a restaurant in China, not the UAE.
Did you notice our bill was written in Arabic? The Chinese staff were fluent in Arabic.
2/F Hong Hui International Trading Mall, Yi Dong Building, Huanshi Middle Road, Guangzhou, China
+ 86 20 22812688
LSG Sky Chefs at the Canton Trade Fair, Guangzhou
The food court at the Canton Trade Fair is massive and has several food outlets but there is only one halal restaurant. They offer Chinese cuisine only which, in fact, makes it a challenge for a lot of foreigners. Masood had some crepe with egg and a banana. I ordered rice with chicken and chill beef. Despite its poor presentation, I actually liked the food. The beef was good.
Halal Food within the 115th Canton Fair Complex
Outlet: LSG Sky Chefs, located in the following Areas:
A: No.14, Hall 7 of Floor -1
B: No.3, yellow zone, fast food area of Floor A
C: No.4, Canteen of Floor A
Asia International Hotel Room Service, Guangzhou
Exhausted from our daily trip to and from the Canton Trade Fair, we decided that we’d order room service on our last morning in Guangzhou. The staff in the kitchen knew only a few words of English – those that are printed on the menu. Try requesting a modification and you’ll spend the next hour on the phone talking to multiple people explaining what you wanted. In any event be prepared get exactly what is on the menu.
Since the restaurant wasn’t halal I ordered eggs with mushroom together with toast, and french toast for Masood. Not filling at all.
If you are a tea-lover such as ourselves we highly recommend that you bring Lipton (or your brand of choice) tea bags and a packet of NESTLÉ EVERYDAY creamer. I tried other brands of creamer but this one is uniquely the best if you like thick, sweet tea. We steep 3-4 teabags in a cup of hot water and then add sugar and creamer. Buy freshly baked bread. There are so many bakeries in China and all of them make delicious, fragrant bread. The bread and your delicious chai make for excellent breakfast in a foreign country.
Andalus Restaurant, Guangzhou
The original plan was to dine one last time at Bhosporus Restaurant before we left Guangzhou. Along the way we spotted Andalus Restaurant. At this point I was seriously wondering if I’m ever going to have Chinese food in mainland China!
We were led to the first floor. The restaurant was empty just before noon. A small, 50-something Chinese woman was busy cleaning the floor. The owner then came out to meet us as we waited for our meal. We found him to be a very kind and friendly gentleman. Moreover he asked about our visit to the city and even generously offered his number should we need any help.
Andalus Restaurant serves Turkish, Arabic, and Italian Halal food. The menu provides a variety of options from seafood, lamb, pasta, burgers, soups, fresh salads and desserts. We ordered some salad, rice and grilled fish. The fish was fresh, marinated well, and delicious. Their prices are comparatively higher than other restaurants in the area.
Turkish, Arabic, and Italian
No. 304 Huanshi Zhong Road, Zhaoqing Building, Floor 1-2, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
+ 86 20 83604434
Saba BBQ Restaurant, Guangzhou
On our final evening in Guangzhou we were invited to dinner by my sister’s brother-in-law. He also lives in the UAE but since he attends the Canton Trade Fair each year he is like a pro about anything Guangzhou related. We went to Saba BBQ Restaurant which is his favourite place in the city. The restaurant specializes in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Egyptian cuisine. It was a little past nine in the evening and the place was packed. It was crowded and noisy, however it was the kind of happy chatter that shows you that folks are having a good time.
So much food was ordered that evening for four people. I was certain there’d be leftovers. Toward the end of the meal, however, we managed to polish everything off! We walked the entire way back to our hotel to compensate for the indulgence. I highly recommend this place.
SABA BBQ Restaurant
Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Egyptian
Tianxiu Bldg, No.300, Huanshi Zhong Rd., Guangzhou, China
+86 20 8355 9944
Halal Noodles, Baiyun International Airport
Chinese food. Finally! I wasn’t hungry. We had time to kill so we spent it exploring the airport. It was during this exploration that we discovered a halal Chinese restaurant. I told Masood that we must have noodles that wasn’t modified by any foreigner. This was so good, you guys! You must try this place out whenever you are in Baiyun International Airport.
I don’t remember the name of the restaurant but they serve delicious hand-pulled beef noodles.
Baiyun International Airport (Level 1, International Departure Hall)
Have you been to Guangzhou? What is your favorite halal restaurant in the city?