Apart from being one of the most picturesque cities in China, Guilin's local cuisine and snacks are also quite special. Being located on the beautiful Li River, fish is a large part of people's diets. The Guilin rice noodles are famous throughout China. A visit to Guilin just isn't complete without trying some of the local food.
Guilin rice noodles have been the local breakfast staple since the Qin dynasty and are renowned for their delicate taste. Legend has it that when Qin troops suffering from diarrhea entered this region, a cook created the Guilin rice noodles for the army because they had trouble eating the local food.
Today, the Guilin noodles are famous throughout China and can be found in places such as Shanghai and Hong Kong. Of course for the most authentic Guilin Rice Noodles, visitors must eat them in their home town, Guilin. The rice noodles are made from oil and rice flour. The noodles are cooked in broth and served in a bowl of soup made from pork, beef, garlic, peanuts, peppers, and radishes. The peppers are added by the diner, so visitors who do not like spicy food can simply not add it.
Specifically, the local specialty is noodles with horse meat, but this dish can also be ordered without the horse meat.
Guilin noodle is a staple of Guilin people's diet and is a wonderful and cheap dish. During meal times the many small rice noodle restaurants are always packed with diners.
Yangshuo Beer Fish is Yangshuo's most famous dish. It is made from fresh caught Li River carp. The fresh fish is fried in a wok along with beer, hot and green peppers, garlic, onions, celery, tomatoes, soy, and sugar. Visitors are amazed at how delicious the fish's skin is and how fresh and tender the meat is. Eating Yangshuo's beer fish will be an unforgettable culinary experience.
Yangshuo's famous West Street has many restaurants serving this delicious dish. The Tao's Authentic Beer Fish, and The Older Sister of Peng's Beer Fish come highly recommended.
Girdle Cooked Beef Steak (Niupai ganguo) is one of Guilin's most well known local dishes. This kind of beef steak is cooked with different seasonings, such as chili, cassia bark, and fennel. It is similar to eating hot pot, except no broth is used in the wok. Diners can control the heat to cook the meat to their specifications. The griddle cooked beef steak tastes spicy, and its flavor is unique. It is very different from that of a Western steak. If desired, diners can add some beer to the wok to make the steak even tastier. After the steak is finished, vegetables, bean curd, pickled cabbage, noodles and a bowl of broth can be added to the wok and cooked in the steak's juices. This delicious dish can be found at most hot pot restaurants in Guilin and Yangshuo.
Lipu Taro Looped Meat is a famous traditional dish served in the traditional Guilin banquets. It is always found during festivals or important events. This dish is made of taro from Lipu County (104 km south of Guilin) combined with streaky pork, red pepper, garlic spread, Guilin fermented bean curd, wine, honey and many other seasonings. Before the streaky pork and taro are steamed in bamboo steamers, they must be deep-fried in vegetable oil. The finished dish is golden in color and aromatic. The taro's flavor and the pork's freshness blend perfectly to create a wonderful dish. In addition, this dish has certain health benefits, such as eliminating heat and purging fire, as well as softening the complexion. This famous dish is available at almost every restaurant in Guilin.
A dumpling made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves, Zongzi has a history of over 2,000 years. It is most famous for its connection to China's Dragon Boat Festival. This festival honors the great poet Qu Yuan who lived in the Warring States Period (403-221 BC), who being unhappy with the political situation committed suicide by drowning himself. The local people fearing that Qu Yuan's body would be consumed by fish threw Zongzi into the river to feed the fish.
Zongzi, can be filled with a variety of fillings. There are bean Zongzi, chestnut Zongzi, pork Zongzi, and lotus seed paste Zongzi, just to name a few. In China different areas have different styled fillings. Guilin, for example, has traditionally made Zongzi stuffed with taro, pork, preserved pork, and chestnuts. The best part about this traditional Chinese food is that it can be refrigerated and when wanted, just heated in a microwave.
Guilin cuisine is known for its snacks and the use of spices, especially chili. The famous Guilin chili sauce used widely in cooking by locals, is made of fresh chili, garlic, and fermented soybeans, and is considered one of the city's Three Treasures. The other two of the Three Treasures are Guilin Sanhua Jiu, a variety of rice baijiu, or liquor distilled from rice; and Guilin pickled tofu.
For a list of places to eat in Guilin during your tour in the beatiful Guilin city, please come to Guilin Restaurants page.