Shangxiajiu, literally means vertical 9, horizontal 9 in Chinese; it refers to the fact that 9 vertical streets and 9 horizontal streets make up this small shopping district. Think lots of people, lots of cheap clothes and lots of food.
Okay so that had nothing to do with food, but I had to show you that.
My apologies that this post is going to be a little bit scattered, because I thought rather than showing you everything I ate. In this post we will stick to the interesting or yummy things only.
Huangshanghuang Lawei Shop
2-3 Shangxiajiu Pedestrain St,
Liwan, Guangzhou, Guangdong
In the hearts of many Chinese people Huangshanghuang reigns king as the best Chinese deli, with the most authentic flavours. Wait, let’s back up a little and let me show you what a Chinese deli is.
Nothing, absolutely nothing could have prepared me for a whole entire wall, full of cured whole chicken. So, I stood there, jaw-dropped, like a tourist, while other shoppers rushed past me to buy what they needed.
Of course, no Chinese deli is complete without a large variety of different cures of Chinese sausage and a large selection of Chinese ham. I do have a rather unhealthy obsession with Chinese sausage. There is something so addictive about the salty sweetness of the oily sausage. Steam it together with rice and I’m a very happy girl. Since most of the Chinese sausages are sold raw there was no way we could have purchased some, however we did each fill up a small plastic bag full of fun-sized Chinese sausages and jerky in an array of flavours (yes that does exist!). So I happily snacked on those as we browsed through endless clothing stores.
Guangzhou HuangZhenLong Herbal Tea Company
They are everywhere and I saw at least two on my walk around Shangxiajiu alone. Well, they are what their name says: they sell herbal tea or “凉茶” (“cold tea” in Chinese). Whether you think Chinese medicine is amazing or it is absolutely rubbish, let’s just look at this bottle of insanely bitter black liquid and call it tea. They have a variety of teas with different therapeutic properties, the one I got was for cold prevention and coordinating general balance in the body. It is probably the most bitter from their range, but I was coming down with the sniffles and it was only the 2nd day of my holiday, so I sculled the whole thing down anyway. I don’t know if it was because my immune system was being wonderful to me or the stuff actually worked, but I was very relieved that I didn’t become ill.
Tao Tao Ju
These were textbook perfect: taut, gelatinous skin, taking on a little of the umami imparted by the balanced, plump prawn filling. The best har gow I had on this southern China adventure.
My all-time favourite and done so well. I’m in love with this version and this thankfully was hot. The rice was sticky, clinging onto the strong fragrance of the lotus leaf, hiding away a balanced moreish filling of chicken, Chinese sausage, duck egg yolk and shiitake mushrooms.
Always a crowd-pleaser around the table and this one certainly was no exception. The interior was especially gelatinous, paired with the nutty sesame exterior and the sweet mung bean paste on the inside, these little ones were delicious. So delicious that I ended up stealing half of dad’s.
I’m putting this in just for trivia, because I didn’t really like silk worms. They aren’t really repulsive and their squelchy texture was actually quite interesting, but the muddy taste they left on my palate didn’t quite agree with my taste buds. That was alright, because my dad and his friend quite happily polished off the whole plate, saying it was cleansing and refreshing.
Would I recommend Tao Tao Ju? Not really, since I don’t think is worth it for the cold food, but you may want to go just so you can say I’ve been there. However, personally I would visit again, because I’m in love with the lo mai gai and love makes you crazy. I want some right now in fact, but I guess I’d have to wait until the next time I visit Guangzhou.