What if you are in a city that you never visited before, and it’s 11pm, in a remote area and you are hungry? We were hanging out near Xinghai Music Conservatory in the northern part of Central Guangzhou, and wandered slightly off to get a really late dinner.
We were previously at the Ping Pong, an arts and music bar right next to campus (opened by a Frenchman, and also serving trademark French/Chinese-style rhums), with occasional performances by some brand names of Chinese independent music. Using the advice from one of the school’s security guards posted nearby, we set off to a nearby street some five minutes away.
As we arrived to it, we picked the one of the two that had more people. Seeing and hearing the foreigners that we were, patrons of the nearby table started chatting us. They were nice and soon helped us order some American beer (while we wanted some local Zhujiang) as well as some food, more importantly.
Don’t (necessarily) let yourself be fooled by the looks. Indeed, the hygiene is questionable, and it’s not very clean-looking. They had live shrimp, but our friend Nick picked the dead and cooked ones b/c the former dwelled in too murky waters. Neither of us got sick on the next day, so we can assume that the stir-frying does its sanitizing job.
The shrimp was were in fact some of the best that I ever had, just because they were bite-sized, and have been perfectly fried such that the meat was still tender, and the shells crisp enough to be eaten whole. It was minus the head, most of the times, but I can believe that the fatty heads were perhaps the tastiest part of the poor animals.
Also had a garlic stir-fried veggies platter (choy sum) and “pork” fried with noodles. I wish I was hungrier so to be able to try more. But the shrimp were like the popcorn/chips with the beer (eventually a mix of Zhujiang and Bud in the same glasses that our newly-made friends and the place’s regulars poured for us).
The owner of the place is a quiet man surnamed Liu, who worked the kitchen with his wife.
In all, the three dishes (and lots of beer bottles) set us back about RMB60 for all three of us. Don’t be fooled by this post: there are tons of places like this one. The take-home message is that it’s always a good and safe bet to try a place that has a lot of locals eating at.