Eating Through China in Dongguan

Eating Through China in Dongguan


Dongguan is a city near the Pearl River Delta. It is the town where our 9″ EZ Grip Silicone Tongs are manufactured, and we were lucky to have a chance to meet and spend time with our friends who live there. Dongguan is an industrial city, and there are people from all over China who have moved there to pursue job opportunities. In this way, there is a wonderful melting pot going on in this area of China, and our friends led us through some of the highlights meal by meal.

Our first stop was for Hunan cuisine at Fashion Restaurant in downtown Dongguan. It was explained to us that Fashion Restaurant is a new place is a new building in a part of town that is  beginning to grow and shift as new hotels and global money continue to flow into the city. The place was packed at 3pm on a weekday, and the food was delicious.

Steamed fresh water fish with ginger, taro with pork loin, duck with green pepper and chilis, and spicy vegetables with all kinds of chilis. The fish was my favorite, so tender and buttery with a tangy ginger and soy punch. Yum.


Beef Bone Broth Soup Course.

Just a few hours later, we were eating again in a much more traditional setting. Food seekers- please keep in mind that many of the restaurants we visited in China, and in Asia in general, do not have an Internet presence or an Anglicized name/address that we can share with you. I truly wish I could tell you the name of this amazing amazing place, but it will just have to continue to exist in the world without my ability to spread the word.

This restaurant was described to us as a “Farm Restaurant,” where all of the ingredients were grown or sourced by the people who work there. This was Cantonese cuisine, and we were told that until about 20 years ago Dongguan was a mostly Cantonese speaking area. This was the food that most closely reflected the local culture of Dongguan, and dining at this restaurant right outside of town felt very special.

Leek flower with dried anchovies.

Roasted Goose. The highlight of the meal, and our favorite dish in all of China. This goose deserves a ticker tape parade and a Liz Taylor-worthy diamond.

Bao buns.

Melon with lily, boiled peanuts (and lychee-like fruits), tofu with pork, fish belly with green pepper.

At this point in our Chinese eating adventure, we began to notice a mealtime pattern. When the group sat down to the table, there was a 20 minute discussion about what to order, followed by another 10 minute conversation with the server about what was good that day, what was in season, and how much of everything should be ordered. The deliberations all seemed to pay off, because everything was inevitably fresh and excellently prepared. In hindsight, we were so lucky to visit China and connect with locals in Dongguan, because due to the size of our party at every meal we were able to taste and explore so many different kinds of dishes that would have been ridiculous to order if it had only been the two of us. There were always many different tastes, textures and food groups on the table, and still, always way too much food- even for a group of 5.

Between meals, we really enjoyed our time Dongguan! We went for a 3 hour bike ride around Songshan Lake, taking in the pretty scenery and getting a feel for the local recreational spirit.


Boy were those red bean filled yogurt pops were a revelation on a hot day!

Our final meal in Dongguan was enjoyed at a small Szechuan restaurant. The food alternated quickly between super spicy, creamy, and mild.

Steamed egg in broth and pork lips with tomato. Both absolutely delicious.

Boiled fish and cabbage with HOT chilis.

Potato with chilis and special Chinese bacon.

Coming from New York City, which is its own kind of international melting pot, we were truly gracious and impressed by the opportunity that we had to taste so many regions of mainland China in Dongguan without jumping around from city to city. Join us next week when we share our adventures in Hong Kong, which is a city close in proximity to Dongguan and Shenzhen, but culturally and food-wise very different in many ways.

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