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Tourist Guides for China
Foshan Tourist Guide (March 2010)
Western Restaurants
Where to Eat:

Foshan has thousands of restaurants featuring food from all parts of China and much of the World. It would be ridiculous to try and list them all in this brief travellers guide, so we will simply mention our favourites and point you in the right direction. Please be aware that Chinese food presented in China is quite unlike the food available at Chinese restaurants in UK. It is delicious, but totally different.

Related Pages:
Restaurants - Introduction
• Western Restaurants - This Page
Chinese Restaurants
Vegetarian Restaurants
Fast Food
Late Night Eats and Drinks
Trendy Cafes, beer gardens and juice bars

Tips for crossing the language barrier:

1. The very first question you will be asked immediately upon entering is: How many people? Answer: Hold up enough fingers to cover all expected guests.

2. The next question they will ask is what do you want to eat? They will then take your order and dishes will arrive in the order they are cooked, which usually means the easiest ones arrive first. This is probably the sweet course if you ordered one. Best to order this after the main meal!

3. Westerners usually prefer to have an aperitif first whilst they peruse the menu and soak in the ambience. This is a very big problem for Chinese people, as they don't do this. However, order drinks and tell them you will order in a while. If a waitress become too persistent, then say "t'chi di" or "sic fan t'chi di" and she will leave you alone - if she speaks Cantonese?

Vegetarian Food
Vegetarian food is dealt with on a separate page which you can see here

Fast Food
We do not list 'Fast-Food' below either, and you can find this here

Indian Curry

Little India
Foshan 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 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 Indian food is all about, although vegan's will always encounter problems in China. However, this is not strictly 'Kosher' food, and Jews may also find the majority of clientele not suited to their personal disposition or view of this world? Expect a meal for four people, including drinks and special orders to come in just under Y1, 000 for the evening. Not cheap, but it is very real and genuine Indian cuisine! However, when you weigh this against the fact that China must be the only country in the whole wide world where it is impossible to buy even a simple sachet of ready-mix madras curry powder, then this is a very welcome oasis. 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.

This is the only place that sells authentic Indian Curry, and is a must do. To find this, stand on the street (Fen Zhong Dong Lu) 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.
Tel: 0757 82222254
Add: No 57, Fen Jiang Middle Road, Chancheng district
Highly recommended!

Martino's
The only other eatery in Foshan that sells an edible Indian style curry is Martino's. Curry dishes are not on the published menu, but are excellent - if made using a pre-bought curry paste of very satisfactory result. You will need to ask Bill for this, and his main dish is curried pork served on a bed of rice in quintessential English style. A mean curry, and very well worth waiting for. However, unlike Little India above, this is all you get - so no paratha's, chapatti's, or Indian side dishes. John's Bar also offers 'a curry', which is very bland by comparison - although my dog enjoys it.

Western Restaurants

There are only two real Western Restaurants in Foshan: John's Bar and Martino's. We include some others for diversion:

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.

They offer one of the best Beef Burgers I have ever tasted, and their Italian cuisine is quite authentic. Their menu offers both 'Fries' and British chips (Some with skins on). Tomatoe is served as a vegetable or salad, never as a fruit. The staff all speak very good English, and it is very centrally located. It is the only place in town for genuine Taco's. I always leave this establishment well watered and fed - but I also think there is something missing somewhere ... and I have no idea what that may be?

For a nominal fee of Y100 per month, you can advertise your company via cards and brochure on their notice board. They supply internet, and international newspapers in several languages free of charge to patrons. There is also an outdoor patio with BBQ for the enjoyment of late night reveler's.

This restaurant is open all day, and closes around 2am.
Address: c/o Golden City Hotel, Foshan.

Martino's
Martino's is run by my good friend Bill Cheung 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, fantastic pizza, and a great Mexican wrap thingymagig (Not on the menu). He also serves a selection of delicious things called 'Pockets', which are in fact 'Toasties' in British English.

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. Studio couch seating and Chaise Long adorn the eatery, and they host special Western Celebrations such as: Christmas, Valentine's Night, Thanksgiving, and Halloween as regular annual party nights.

This restaurant has wireless internet connection as standard, free; and proffers a very relaxing atmosphere. However, just as above - there is something quintessential missing?

Address: No 1 Fu Hua Lu, Foshan, Guangdong, China.
Telephone: (0086) 0757 8328 5461 for Reservations, Advance Orders & Free Local Delivery Service.
Open: 10 am until 2 am Every Day

Summary
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. Because they both use the best fresh ingredients, serving time may run into hours - , but this is nominally 30 minutes from order to table.

Steak
When ordering steak, Chinese use the American % method, with 50% equalling well done, and 10% equalling medium. They have a very serious problem regarding serving bloody beef meats. I ask for 1%, and usually receive medium. rare, which is ok-ish. You may end up battling both the waitress and the chef on this point, but stand firm and chill with a beer. It will all work out one way or another.

Caution: If you have ordered a sauce to accompany the steak, then this will be added in full or in part at table. There are probably around 8 main sauces to choose from, but know that any one served upon a 'sizzler' will splatter your clothes with fatty dross unless you use the tablecloth as a protection. A good restaurant will automatically do this for you, and most don't!

Chinglish Restaurants

By this I mean no disrespect, but use a simple expression to describe Chinese restaurants that offer Western food. There are only a few I would recommend as offering any food as known on a Western dinner table. They are a lot cheaper than grand hotels and the establishments mentioned above. They are also ideal if your party consists of Chinese people who do not like Western food very much - my wife is one of these!

The Rhine Cafe
The Rhine Cafe is one of Foshan's most exclusive restaurants, with a good steak entering it into the Western Restaurants category above. However, I have also experienced horrible pieces of stewing steak served here, taking half of it home for the dog. Another reason is that it has a mixed Chinese and Western menu, which again leaves me considering it is not a dedicated Western restaurant unlike the two above. 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. I have absolutely no problems with this restaurant and do rate it very highly, but not as a strictly Western restaurant.

They offer a special and separate steak menu, but some are good and others not. I am told the Fillet steak is about the best, but have not eaten this myself yet. This is a large squarish lump of beef dressed appropriately, lest there is any confusion. I believe they do sell this rare, but expect a small argument before your order is completed - it's the runny blood thingymagig again - so a Rare Steak = 1% cooked, and 10% relates to = medium.

Golden Sun Restaurant
Your best alternative is to head for 'Superline', and the nearby restaurant called Golden Sun. Whilst this is a small chain, the main restaurant is located a hundred yards South of the Golden Lake Hotel and on the same side of the road. The restaurant serves Chinglish food, but at a very good price. The beef steaks are reasonable, but again your best bet is a Pork Steak, British Chips, and sides to your taste. Ideal for taking Chinese people too also, as they will always find something satisfactory on the menu. This place has three storey's, and is mostly full at all times of the day and night. I say no more. This restaurant closes at either 12 pm or 2 am, depending on season, and has a full picture menu which is self explanatory. For this type of restaurant I would rate it Number One in Foshan City.

The Bull Bull Restaurant
This restaurant adjoins the Bentily Hotel and is 2 minutes walk from Dong Jian Century Plaza. Starting at KFC, walk up the sideroad to the cross roads 100 yards ahead. Turn right and cross the road. The restaurant is 100 yards down and on your left. It is marked by being next to a proper if small hotel (Bentily Hotel), and has several gigantic black Bulls outside the entrance. The local wet market is up the alleyway to the side.

I don't rate this restaurant quite as highly as the Golden Sun, but it is very convenient if you live or have business nearby. Some Western food on their menu is excellent, whilst other dishes are slightly odd. The pork steak is great and served as it should be - with an egg on sizzler platter. They also offer a pretty good curry and rice - which is served in a traditional bamboo round. Again they mix English and Chinese foods on the menu, so ideal for mixed cultural company. To sum up and not mention particular dishes - whilst I would most definitely go there again for sure, but it would not be my first choice.

Jens' Bar
This is the old John's Bar located directly opposite the Foshan Hotel. When John's Bar moved to the adjacent Golden City Hotel; Jens' Bar was created in its place. They have retained the outside patio area, and remodeled the inside to reflect a more modern and international look. The patrons are mainly Foreigners, and any single women patrons who look attractive are probably hookers. They have great TV and sound systems, and there is nothing wrong with it at all ... except I am just not convinced that for the price asked + service charge, that it is authentic Western cuisine attracting such a bill.

Jens' Bar is very convenient for international visitors, and is accessed by climbing a flight of stairs from the pavement with entrance on the second floor (First floor in UK speaking). You enter what is their bar and snacks area, which as well as TV has internet available and similar features. They also have a full restaurant service on the forth floor which I admit to not trying. However, I have studied the menu in detail, and it wasn't convincing to me. Perhaps I do them a disservice by not listing them in the category above - but this is my opinion so there you are.

John's Cafe Conversation
This confusingly named restaurant is in fact the food and drinks supplier for China Ceramic City in Shiwan area; and is totally unrelated to John's Bar above. The second floor cafe bar offers juices and beverages, whilst they also run a small restaurant on the top floor.

The restaurant has a decent menu which sounds Western, and almost is. The staff are efficient, courteous, and speak good English. The pizza, curry, and spaghetti dishes are all quite pleasant; but problems begin with the side salads and bread dishes - which are generally overly sweet. Meals take a long time to prepare, but are all freshly made to order. Their baked potatoes are served in a very interesting way - but are quite edible and recommended in a 'Chinglish cuisine' sort of way.

We gather they are not allowed to cook fried foods (Unpleasant odours), as beefburgers and chips (Fries) are not on the menu. However, we would have liked a Hot Dog as option, which should not present a problem.

That stated - if you are spending a day in China Ceramic City, then this place offers Westerners decent food at reasonable prices and no service charge! Smoking is allowed in this restaurant of course - but they do not offer ashtrays as part of standard place settings, and most patrons do not smoke. Given there is absolutely nowhere else outside nor nearby offering Western food, we do recommend this - if you are staying all day and need a decent lunch.

The Danube Cafe
This restaurant is not in Foshan City, but located in the nearby town of Long Jiang in Shunde County. I mention it only because it is my favourite restaurant of this type in China; and accepting the food served is a copy of Western cuisine - it is excellently cooked and served by pleasant and chatty staff who are also very efficient. The restaurant spans four floors, with the ground floor having a raised circular platform set with small tables to the side of an intimate dance floor, and ideal for newly dating couples. It is very romantic, especially on those evenings the piano player takes up residence. It is very ambient in all the right ways, as I dated here also.

I recommend patrons try the pork steak on a sizzler platter, side of fries, and broccoli with garlic. Many other items are delicious also, as the food quality is very high. The chicken wings are wonderful, as are several Chinese style special dishes such as: rice and meat served in banana leaves, gourd casserole which is a full meal containing meats and vegetables, and various barbequed items. Do not order sweet until you have finished the main meal - as it will probably arrive first. However, one highlight is the Indian pancake chef who has a stand near the entrance door. He cooks Chinese pancakes to order and is a very nice guy. My favourite was banana crepe with maple syrup.

The restaurant is situated immediately opposite Long Jiang Buddhist temple and the adjacent Vegetarian restaurant. The Green bus from Foshan stops right outside the door (But buses back finish at 8pm), or if travelling by taxi - simply head for the big hill and end up on the main road that passes directly North of the main temple entrance. The local name for this establishment is 'Dun-O-Be' with a pronounced last letter 'E'.

Tour Mall

I am referring to a traditionally Chinese fronted modern mall situated opposite Jusco supermarket in Nanhai, and quite near the main Foshan bus station. This mall is 4-storeys high, and occupied entirely by restaurants. It closes before 10pm, except for those peripheral establishments with direct street access. There must be several hundred of them! It would take many months to visit all of these, so here are some highlights:

Vietnamese Restaurant
On the third floor facing Jusco is a Vietnamese restaurant operated by Vietnamese people. The food is good, slightly unusual as you would perhaps expect, and very tasty. Chilli dishes are delicious without being overpowering, and Vietnamese specialties are predominant. They specialise in dishes with lemongrass, and sea fish (= no bones). The best fish is probably 'Yellow Flower Fish or Wong Fa Yue in Cantonese'. Their Broccoli in coconut sauce is very interesting.

Those with an eye for history may soon recognise that Vietnam and Canton share millennia of common history (and language), and this extends to culinary exchanges. It is the cooking with lemongrass (Called "Lemingrass hahaha", and other 'Thai' type ingredients that marks this restaurant as special and apart from the rest. Highly recommended!

Other Foreign Cuisine

Japanese Restaurants
Foshan has several Japanese restaurants, mainly located inside major hotels such as the Foshan Hotel. There is one at Tour Mall also, and one planned to open in Bai Hua. The one located in the Foshan Hotel (Crowne Plaza) has been established for many years and has an excellent reputation.

Thai and Malaysian Cuisine
Opposite Dong Jian Century Plaza, but on the opposite side from KFC, are two neighbouring restaurants purporting to be Thai. They are actually Chinese Malaysian in origin and do offer alternative menu's from the norm. You can easily find them because they have Thai script and menu's in the window (Thai script looks a very little like Arabic, but definitely isn't). Whilst my then Siamese girlfriend (Yupa) found both of these establishments to be genuine, but they are hampered by the fact that essential ingredients such as Lemongrass are unheard of and unavailable in China. Whilst they do use equivalent chilli's in cooking, they use too few, meaning the dishes served are far milder than Yupa would serve at home. However, both are definitely worth a visit, if only to taste something totally different.

Summary
Foshan does offer a plethora of extremely good cuisine and there are thousands of restaurants not highlighted above. One of them is where I held my Wedding Reception in Summer 2008, but to describe this needs maps, photographs, and local information in Chinese - as it's location is difficult to find and not easy for visiting foreigners staying for a week or so.
This information is as supplied by China Expats and our friends, as dated 10th July 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 guide only
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Image: Bank of China, Dong Jian Century Plaza, Foshan

Image: Footbridge connecting KFC at Dong Jian Plaza, with Gui Wah Fo Chong

Image: KFC at Dong Jian Century Plaza

Image: Bank of China behind You, KFC in front of You. Dong Jian Century Plaza, Foshan

Image: Same spot looking right towards Martino's restaurant. Bank of China on your right, KFC to your left

Image: Same place, opposite view. This is a very good private hospital on the corner. It is deceptively large and rises 5-floors.  DJ Cafe ahead on right. Kingdom hotel left 200 yards.

Image: DJ Cafe, near Dong Jian Century Plaza, Foshan

Image: Bentily Hotel

Image: Bull Bull Restaurant. Right side, alley to wetmarket

Image:  Hao Shun Lao restaurant, near Dong Jian Century Plaza, Foshan

Image: Alley to the wetmarket at the side of the private hospital. Bank of China behind you

Image: Chicken Restaurant

Image: Xi'an Restaurant

Image: Hunan Restaurant

Image: Hair Washey

Image:  Red Cafe, a western style reataurant next to the Kingdom Hotel

Image: Rave Party nightclub - one of the best in Foshan

Image: Turtle Restaurant

Image: RBT Restaurant

Image: Goose Restaurant

Image: Food Mall

Image: Jusco

Image: Johns Cafe in China Ceramic City

Image: Martino's Bar

Image: Christmas Turkey in Martino's 2008

Image: Johns Bar beefburger
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