My husband and I aim to try different foods/restaurants whenever possible and luckily Guangzhou has no shortage of exciting and original eateries to cater for our tastes. We tend to stick to Asian food, be it Sichuanese (waaay to spicy for me), Hong Kongnese (a bit bland) or South East Asian offerings (we particularly like the Lime Garden in TMall, Tiyu Xilu MTR) and choose to skip the pseudo-Western restaurants, like UNCLE or RABBIT (boring, tasteless, often badly-cooked dishes, like spaghetti, which clearly didn’t even stand next to a real spaghetti, as we’d say in Poland).
If we feel like something Western, we are likely to be heading to Papa Jones, Pizza Hut, OGGI or to one of the pubs in Zhujiang New Town (expat area). We cannot afford meals in fancy hotels and have long given up on any Chinese-run, steak-serving eating spots. When you don’t belong to that group of expats with high salaries AND their accommodation and travel funded by their employers, you might struggle a bit with finding decent Western eateries. There are neutral, acceptable places, like Mr Rocky, for example, but they are few and far between. At least from what I have discovered.
Recommendations are always welcome!
Few nights ago I found myself pondering about an interesting place to enjoy a dinner with work colleagues in and I must admit, I came up short. Neither my OH nor I could think of a place, which would cater well both for all-eaters and vegetarians, which wouldn’t be overly expensive and which wouldn’t be a nightmare to get to. Nothing. The winning suggestion came from another colleagues, who is familiar with Taojin area of Guangzhou.
Taojin is an area near Yuexiu Park, which is characterized by numerous Muslim restaurants and shops. I have only visited it a couple of times but have heard that some fantastic Indian restaurants and small shops selling Muslin breads can be found there and have been meaning to explore it more for quite a while now. A Turkish restaurant was suggested and we all agreed that it should do the trick.
AND IT DID.
Sultan restaurant proved to be a winner with all, including the vegetarian in our party. The place is conveniently located just behind La Perla shopping mall (I have never seen any customers there,seriously,how do they make money?!), about 3 min walk from Taojin MTR, exit D. We booked a table and sure enough, as soon as we walked in, the waiting staff (all Chinese) took us to our table, which was a small cove on the side.The place was packed. We found it extremely hard to decide which dishes to go for as the selection is huge and prices reasonable.
The menu is available in few languages (not often seen in China) and has plenty of vivid pictures to help you make your choice. In the end we went for a selection of salads, 3 types of bread, a plate full of kebab meat, several dips and a serving of baklava. It may not sound like much for a party of 6 but boy was it plenty! The breads themselves were massive! They come with all sorts of fillings, like cheese and spinach, mushrooms and egg,etc. Salads were super fresh and flavoursome. The kebab meat was juicy and not at all fat and the baklava super sweet and moist, like you’d expect it. The service was a bit spotty but generally ok and spoke good enough English to manage without a Chinese speaker around. The interior was nicely lit and decorated although I can imagine the atmosphere is different if you’re sitting at one of the small tables in the middle. All the foods plus two drinks cost our party around 500 yuan, which we all found very reasonable, especially if you add the English-speaking service, the amazing freshness of products and the pleasant ambiance.
We left full, satisfied and determined to return. It was so refreshing to try something different! I will definitely try to take my husband out for dinner at ‘Sultan’ but more importantly, I will attempt to explore the Taojin area of Guangzhou more as, who knows, that could be the place where we go for our non-Chinese meal. If you’re ever in that area, near the famous Garden Hotel, and can’t face another congee or bowl of noodles, do pop in to Sultan as the food is seriously delicious. I WILL BE BACK.