1. Bei Yuan Restaurant
Seventy-year-old Bei Yuan Restaurant is set inside a beautiful garden and serves up equally enticing dim sum dishes. 200–202 Xiaobei Rd; +86 20 8356 3365
2. Nan Yuan Restaurant
An oldie but a goodie, Nan Yuan Restaurant lures locals and travelers alike with its lakeside location, traditional Chinese design and delicious steamed goodies. 142 Qiajin Rd; +86 20 8444 8380
3. Guangzhou Restaurant
Established in 1935, Guangzhou Restaurant has long been heralded as one of the top dim sum spots — popular with diners of all ages. 2 Wenchang S Rd; +86 20 8138 0388
Where to stay: Check in at Lavande Hotel — the rooms are spare but sleek and come with a work desk and free WiFi. It’s also a seven-minute walk to Zoo Station on the Guangzhou Metro metro. 26 Tianhe S Rd
Where to go: Guangzhou is nicknamed the “City of Flowers” thanks to its blooming terraces and enormous parks. The most scenic of them all is Yuexiu Park, located northwest of Tianhe, where you’ll find a 3.9ha orchid garden, pavilions, Ming dynasty-era city walls and the historic Five Rams sculpture, one of the city’s symbols.
Where to eat dessert: For a sweet after-dinner treat, go for the popular banoffee pie at the charming and cozy Social & Co. This wickedly addictive combination of a crispy crust, banana and dulce de leche (a pasty-textured, sweetened milk confection) is a slice of heaven in every bite. Shop 112–113, 6 Huajiu Rd; socialandco.com
Where to drink coffee: Starting to crash? Put a spring back in your step with a visit to Hay Coffee. Founded by Edwin in 2017, the café serves up locally roasted beans in a minimalist space that’s punctuated by street art and figurines by American artist and designer Brian Donnelly (better known as Kaws). 43 Qiaoyi 1st St; fb.com/haycoffeecompany
How to get there by train: The new Beijing–Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong high-speed railway launched a few months ago, cutting travel time between Hong Kong and Guangzhou from two hours down to about 45 minutes. If you’re taking this new train, be sure to book online in advance, as tickets tend to sell out during peak periods — including holidays and times when large-scale conferences and exhibitions are held. For those traveling from Hong Kong, one-way tickets start from HK$243 (about P1,650) and trains depart from the Hong Kong West Kowloon terminus. Find out more on waytogo.ph or visit www.ticketing.highspeed.mtr.com.hk.
This article first appeared in the December 2018 issue of Smile magazine.