Guides for China
Foshan Tourist Guide (March
Where to Eat:
Foshan has thousands of restaurants featuring food
from all parts of China and much of the World. It
has extremely few dedicated Vegetarian Restaurants,
and what their exists is usually related to a Buddhist
Temple - because Chinese Buddhists are all vegetarians.
There is nothing definitive about this of course,
as China is always the land of contradictions. However,
a few basic facts before we list the few restaurants
that have stood the test of time:
• Do not expects standards of vegetarian cooking
to be Western, they are basically for Chinese Buddhists
• Some stock used may have a regular base, such
as Chicken bouillon (Unusual, but happens)
• Chinese Buddhists do not eat onions, considering
them unhealthy, whilst garlic is banned from all kitchens
as being the reincarnation of the Devil!. However,
they do eat a lot of fresh ginger root and coriander
• Vegan's should visit another country - apologies.
Vegetarian food is always hard to find in China, but
Foshan has several dedicated restaurants that serve
good and varied vegetarian cuisine. I cannot guarantee
this is vegan, and vegan's will experience a very
hard time in China!
John's Bar, Martino's,
Little India and the Rhine Cafe will all serve dedicated
vegetarian dishes. The top hotels will also offer
genuine vegetarian cuisine, of which I would only
name: The Foshan
Hotel (Crowne Plaza), Carris
Anne Hotel, also called the Carrianne Hotel and
formerly the Hua Qiao Hotel, Golden
City Hotel, and the Fortuna
Hotel at Le Cong. These are listed separately
as they are ordinary restaurants which cater for vegetarians.
Otherwise for authentic vegetarian cuisine you options
are limited, but are available. Before describing
them I will give you a very useful tip: All Chinese
Buddhists are vegetarian, so if a Buddhist temple
has a restaurant associated with it, then this should
only serve vegetarian food. Do not expect this to
be vegan, but it is possible. Vegetarian restaurants,
like their meat serving counterparts, do tend to come
and go with frequency, so below are the ones I know
This is located on Zumiao Road nearly opposite
the Carris Anne Hotel. It is actually a secluded
part of Renshou Buddhist Pagoda Temple, which
itself was established in the 13th Century. The
Pagoda is quite easy to spot, being a large red
tower that overlooks the walls to the street.
The restaurant is at the far end, and found by
entering a doorway located furthest from the city
centre (Bai Hua). Go in here and walk straight
ahead, bearing left whenever you can. You will
come to a nondescript concrete building that has
a door set on the left corner. Go in here and
up a flight of stairs. Marvel you are now in a
quite exclusive and vegetarian restaurant! The
staff do not speak English, but all the food is
vegetarian (No meat whatsoever is sold here).
My good friend Neil likes this restaurant a lot,
and I hope he will add a few lines about what
to order in due course. The food is excellent
vegetarian cuisine, and quite distinct from all
similar establishments. It is definitely the top
class restaurant of its kind in the city, and
has been around for more than 10 years. Regardless
of what staff may try and tell you, opening times
are based on regular Chinese eating times, being:
12 midday until 2 pm; and 6 pm until 9.30 close.
|The Place Up The Alleyway
This is actually a very good restaurant, and very
traditional regards Buddhism. It is located just
off Dai Fu't Lo (Lingnan Dong Lu) so get yourself
to Foshan TV tower and on that side of the main
road. You could actually walk this in 10 minutes,
or catch a cab. You need to go North on this road,
ie - the tower is on your right and you are headed
away from it as it recedes behind you. You will
come quite quickly in a cab to a set of traffic
lights where all the traffic either goes left
or right. Your taxi driver will want to do likewise.
Be forceful and make him go straight ahead! The
road narrows considerably, and you need to stop
at the first sideroad on your right - about 80
yards down this road. This is not a salubrious
area, but quite safe all the same. Go down the
sideroad about 30 yards and there will be a row
of shops set back on your right mainly featuring
an open fronted furniture seller. The entrance
to the vegetarian restaurant is the last doorway.
Head up the stairs and you are there. In 2010
they plan to take over the furniture showroom
next door - and we will see what happens.
The food is excellent and pukka vegetarian, and the
bill is small. Again Uncle Sam has been advising them
on culinary arts, and they are developing a wider range
of dishes, as evidenced each time I have been there.
The owner is not a native Cantonese speaker, although
her Cantonese speaking is now better than my own. The
staff won't really have any worthwhile English skills.
However she is a warm and friendly person, and whilst
retaining her professional dignity, does like to stop
and chat with customers. A very nice and genuine person.
You will need a Chinese friend to help you order, unless
you fancy pot luck? There are some photo's of dishes,
and the main vegetables are on show outside the kitchen,
so pointing and mining will work also.
Open: 11am to 2pm and 5pm to 9pm.
Tel: (Foshan 0757) 8303 1633
Mobile: 13318 333 889
4 other Foshan vegetarian restaurants have opened and
closed within the last couple of years, although our
information is that there is still one survivor located
in Nanhai 'Gui Cheung' = near Jusco. Therefore our next
listing is in Shunde Long Jiang Town
Shunde Long Jiang
To get there from Foshan you will either need to catch
a green bus from the small bus station city (University)
side of the main Foshan bus station, or get a cab (Y80
is a very reasonable fare. If you hail one of the infrequent
green taxi's, then know this should be from Shunde and
looking for a return fare, which can be a lot cheaper.
Note: occasionally a green cab is from Guangzhou, and
these are a very bad idea!
This restaurant has been open for more than 5-years,
and is the brainchild of my Chinese 'Brother' Uncle
Sam. It is located precisely next door to Long Jiang
Buddhist Temple and Mountain, and is the purple building.
The cuisine is excellent, and although I am not a veggie,
they do serve some wonderful food here. Look for the
curry (Potatoes, capsicums and broccoli), fish steak
(Made from anything except fish, and pukka), and the
knots of small mushrooms in an apparent bacon wrapper
(Not bacon). There are still pictures of Caroline and
myself on the walls, as we were honoured guests at their
opening ceremony in February 2005.
Being proper Chinese Buddhist restaurants, none of these
restaurants favour serving alcohol (but they will go
and buy it and bring it to your table), nor smoking
- although they make exceptions.
Recommended Restaurants that also sell
Mushroom Soup Restaurant
This eatery is not a vegetarian restaurant, and is
located 5-minutes further away than Long Jiang. It
serves the very best mushroom soup I have ever tasted!
This dish has about 5 seasonally available fresh mushrooms
in it of all shapes and sizes, which are added to
what can best be described as a Russian Borsch soup
base, with slivers of orange in it. It is so unique
that once I have perfected the recipe at home, I will
add this dish to our recipe section - simply stunning!
Now from experience, I do realise that many vegetarians
do not like to eat mushrooms - the why escapes me
as a carnivore, but it appears to be so. Believe me,
if I would travel an hour to eat this soup, then you
Location: Lah't Lao (Shunde, Lei Liu). It is the next
small town on the green bus from Foshan to Long Jiang
(Shunde Long-gong), and best you get off after crossing
the river, going straight on at the first traffic
lights, and stopping at the next set; which is quite
a complicated road junction. You need to turn directly
left here into the town proper, and will hit a small
roundabout within a hundred yards or so. Go left here,
and immediately left again. The restaurant is at the
far end of this road, just before the major junction
at the top of a very small rise. You need to order
this soup in advance, so please get a Chinese friends
help before setting off or you may be disappointed.
Au San's Restaurant, Gao gong
This is a late inclusion, because it is very off the
beaten track, but does serve excellent vegetarian
food as well as meat dishes. I love some of the vegetarian
dishes here and soups, but what really makes it for
me is that you can go out to their allotment and choose
which vegetables you want to eat. They will cut and
prepare them for you, and serve at table within a
few minutes. Awesome!
The restaurant is located on the larger of two islands
set in the middle of the Mighty Pearl River at a place
called Jiu Jiang (Gao gong in Cantonese), which is
technically part of Nanhai County. To find this restaurant
is tricky, but give us a call for directions or see
the google interactive map on our Home
Page. You need to allow 1-hour travel by coach
from Foshan, plus ferry crossing and walking a mile
or so. It is worth it all believe me.
click here to skip the directions
Whilst a taxi will charge you Y80 (and probably get
lost en route), the local buses cost Y5 and take you
to the town. Go to any main bus stop on Foshan Avenue
(Foshan Dai Do), and catch bus number 326 which runs
every five minutes. If it is full, wait for the next
one. This bus will be a modern white and yellow one,
with the name 广洲 (Guangzhou) to 九江 (Jiu Jiang)
on the front. Put 5 RMB in the slot upon entry and
enjoy the ride. The destination is the new bus station
in Gao gong. Get off here and you will see some weird
looking small buses which are maroon and white. Get
on bus Number 3 and put 2RMB in the slot. This goes
to the riverside, and you will notice two islands
on your right across the promenade. Get off this bus
just before it leaves the riverside and re-enters
the town. Ok - well, they will understand where you
want to get off eventually and let you out. You are
headed for Hoi Sow Doh island (Sow as in female pig
- Cantonese - Hai Shao Doh in Mandarin). Cantonese
works best in these parts by the way.
Go to the immediate ferry ramp and board the car ferry
when it is in dock. Pay half RMB each if on foot,
2 RMB for a motorbike, and 10 RMB for a car. The taxi
will refuse to go on the ferry if you came that way,
and the island does not have any taxi service. You
will arrive on the second island, and going up the
ramp there is a large sign with a guy advertising
Chinese rice wine. This is the restaurant you want
to go to. Turn left immediately at the top of the
ferry ramp, and walk a country-mile. Au San's restaurant
is the very first one you will meet - and on your
right, down some steps on the river side. If you get
lost, their telephone number is: and they will collect
you on their own motorcycles from the ferry upon request.
Welcome to very rural China, and an excellent meal
set in an extremely ambient place.
Dishes of note: I always have the Chinese potatoes,
which look a little like large brownish, gnarly, mangol
wurzels - they are kept by the kitchen door. My version
has pork strips in it, but Uncle Sam has them without
meat - and they are very delicious indeed! - and uncommon
even in China. This restaurant is a bit 'do-it-yourself',
but new patrons will receive a very warm welcome and
great smiles. Their eldest son (Who we named Simon)
does speak a little English. For vegetables have a
wander around the two vegetable patches and point
st what you like the look of. Allotment to table =
5-minutes, and that is 'Fresh'!
Last week we had an excellent vegetarian dish which
was composed of fingers of celery and 'Ba Choi' (Cabbagey
leaves, 'cheung choi' also works well; ('Choi' is Cantonese
for both Lettuce and Cabbage); done in a hot chilli
sauce. But not too hot = excellent cuisine we will order
again. Here you will need local help ordering, so come
and join us one Sunday lunchtime, or email us for details
and we will arrange it all for you.
Foshan also has an excellent Indian restaurant called
'Little India'. It is run by two real Indian guys
(From Birmingham, England), and caters for all Indian,
Sri Lankan, and Pakistani cuisine, whether on the
menu or not. It is expensive, but the food is pukka
and the meat halal. Both owners speak excellent English,
and know international cuisine extremely well. Therefore
if you know the name of the English Indian dish you
want to order, simply ask them to make it. However,
only the owners will do this for you, as the Chinese
staff don't really understand Indian cuisine that
is not on the menu. For instance, I changed the listed
Roti's for Chapatti's, and added a Tarka Dhal without
curry flavourings as a side dish. In UK we would say
this is 'Bostin' tucker!
These people also understand what real vegetarian
food is all about, although vegan's will always encounter
problems in China. The owners are also top guys and
pleased to stop and chat with you = very welcoming.
I am pretty sure this place closes at midnight, but
please check first.
This is the only place that sells authentic Indian
Curry, and is a must do. To find this, stand on the
street with your right towards the Foshan Hotel. Walk
forwards 100 yards and go down the ramp which takes
you into the centre of the traffic island. Head straight
across, and if you got it right, then you will be
on the same side of the street on the other side of
this roundabout. Little India is located 20 yards
away in front, and has a couple of miniature elephants
outside the door, the windows are of arabian design,
and the building is painted white.
There are only two real ones in Foshan: John's Bar
John's Bar has relocated to the patio of the Golden
City Hotel, opposite and right a bit from the Foshan
Hotel. You may need to navigate the weird traffic
island pedestrian underpass thingymagig again. This
place is great for authentic Western cuisine, although
you may not find everything of your liking on the
menu. However, their Mexican stuff is Top Hole. The
draft beer is Tsingdao, and they have projector TV
featuring football matches from UK (Soccer in American
speaking, and F1)
Martino's is run by my good friend Bill and his partner
Peter. They are Canadian Chinese, returning to run
this restaurant in Foshan. They also serve real draught
beer in pint pots from Pearl River Brewery + a vast
selection of Western bottled beers, stouts and cider.
Bill will cook you anything to order, although his
Shepherds Pie is a total winner for me. I usually
eat this with a side salad and Poutine Quebecoise
(British chips with gravy and cheese topping). He
also delivers a mean curry, whilst also great beefburgers,
real pizza, and a great Mexican wrap thingymagig (Not
on the menu). There are several TV's scattered around
the joint, making this an ideal location to chill
from the Chinese streets outside. The staff speak
good English and will stop to chat and pass the time
of day, and have a laugh.
Both of these places are expensive already, and then
add a 10% 'service charge'. However, they both serve
genuine Western food and stay open until at least
2am - longer if there is a crowd in.
There is also one other restaurant that befits this
category called The Rhine Cafe. It is located on the
road between Sunlight Apartments and Foshan's main
cinema complex and is the place every rich Chinese
boy takes his new girlfriend to impress her on the
first or second date. They offer a special and separate
steak menu, but some of the vegetarian dishes are
Cantonese people do not normally make salad dishes
and naturally serve Cos and Iceberg lettuce cooked.
Breaking them of this habit can be a long, dubious
process, as they will consider you very weird. Putting
a salad together is also a mammoth task outside of
Western restaurants, as Cheese doesn't normally exist,
and tomatoes are only served in fruit salad's, accompanied
by very sweet salad cream instead of real cow's cream.
We suggest you either make your own, or go to John's
Bar or Martino's.
Being a Vegetarian in China is not easy, but finding
a good restaurant makes it very worth while. If you
encounter problems ordering vegetarian food, simply
say "mow yuk" (Cantonese meaning 'no meat'),
or indicate that you are a Buddhist in some way.
The Capital of Foshan Shunde County, Daliang; has
several authentic vegetarian restaurants also, but
is an hour's drive away. Nearby Guangzhou City has
numerous Vegetarian restaurants also - but this is
no use if you are living on a budget in Foshan City
Please feel free to contact us with information about
other established Vegetarian restaurants you like, any
comments, or information not listed above you seek.
This information is as supplied by China Expat's and
our friends, as dated 17th November 2010, and/or other
reliable sources. Please check this information yourself
as it may alter without notice, and whilst we try our
best to ensure it is correct, please do not hold us
responsible for any errors - this is intended as a simple
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