Foshan and Guangzhou Tour: Ish Meets China (Guangdong Province)

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to get a chance to visit the city of Foshan in Guangdong, China. Not may of you have heard of this city, but it’s only about 45 minutes away from the more popular Guangzhou.

In fact, I flew in too Guangzhou and drove straight to Foshan. The venue of a snooker event I was doing is located at this new mall here. We initially wanted to do the event in the more bustling city center of Guangzhou, but circumstances led us to Foshan.

I regularly go to China for work and I have often witnessed a lot of light pollution. The country is also notorious for having dangerous levels of smog. On this occasion, things were no different. Weather forecasts warned of hazardous air quality and heavy smog.
Guangzhou weather
Weather warning
As soon as I landed, I took a photo from the plane’s window and you’ll see that there’s hardly any visibility.
view from the plane
Looking outside my hotel window, I had a good view of UniPark Mall. It’s the venue for my event and as you can see below, even the view of the mall is obstructed by the heavy smog. With all the buildings under construction in the area, I realized that the smog is partly due to construction dust.

Nevertheless, I soldiered on. After alll of my previous trips to China, I never let any pollution stop me. The first item on the agenda is of course, food! Guangdong province is supposedly famous for dimsum (Isn’t China in general famous for that?) So, my colleague and I decided to try out one of the popular spots nearby. Unfortunately, the names are all in Chinese and I can only tell you that it’s the huge dimsum restaurant at the 4th floor of UniPark Mall.

Chinese Dimsum
We had an amazing spread: salmon tart, shrimp rolls, char siew bao (siopao), meatballs and xiao long bao
The star of the show was this shrimp roll which I never saw before.

That evening, we went for a walk around the historical district known as Lingnan TianDi. I know I said historical, but the place has been fully restored. everything looks brand new. The place is peppered with Western restaurants and pubs. Any foreigner will feel at home there but since we’ve already eaten, we didn’t stay very long.

After our event was finished though. the whole team went to enjoy some drinks at one of the Irish pubs in the area. there are also a lot of hotpot restaurants, noodle houses, burger joints, Italian bistros and just about any kind of restaurant you would expect to find in a cosmopolitan city.
Decor detail at one of the Chinese restaurants in Lingnan TianDi
The team enjoying dinner and drinks at The Paddy Field Irish Bar in Lingnan TianDi
The following day, we welcomed more members of the team and ended up finding even more dimsum. We discovered that ordering XIAO LONG BAO does not always mean that you will get the well-loved soupy dumplings.
In some places in southern Chins, Xiao Long Bao translates to mini meatball steamed buns. this is similar to what we would call mini bola-bola siopao in the Philippines.
Xiao Long Bao
Mistakenly ordered mini meatball buns (labelled Xiao Long Bao)
Xiao Long Bao
These are the actual soupy dumplings that we all know as Xiao Long Bao but they call it something else!
Nevertheless, the dimsum was good. I just stuffed my face even if I had no idea what was being served half the time. Sometimes in China, ignorance is bliss.
Because we didn’t have too much time for sightseeing, we cheated a little bit. Instead of exploring traditional Chinese villages and ancient structures from the Chinese Imperial past, we went to see all of those places in one spot.
The Central Television Nanhai Film Studio is the Chinese version of Universal Studios. It functions in exactly the same way. The sprawling facility houses several permanent structures which are meant to represent Chinese villages, a man-made lake, Imperial palaces, temples and many other buildings which have been put to good use in the making of films and TV shows.
The video above gives a sneak peek but here are some of my favorite photos from the studio:
We wrapped up our trip with a quick tour around the Ancestral Temple in the centre of foshan City. Here, the famous IP Man used to hold court. If you are unfamiliar, IP Man is the master of Wing Chun martial arts. If that still doesn’t ring a bell, he is the mentor of international sensation Bruce Lee.
A Kung Fu hall inside the premises of the Ancestral Temple complex has exhibits dedicated to Bruce Lee and his master. Elsewhere in the complex, there is a ceramic factory, wishing wells and many traditional Chinese cultural experiences such as performances of the Lion Dance.
Classic Chinese details all throughout the Temple complex
Tree get filled with red ribbons tied on its branches which I’m told represent wishes.
We were lucky enough to witness a performance of the traditional Chinese Lion Dance.
Here are the locations of some of the notable sights mentioned:
Lingnan TianDi: Jianxin Rd, ZuMiao, Chancheng Qu, Foshan Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China, 528000
Foshan Ancestral Temple (IP Man): 21 Zumiao Rd, ZuMiao, Chancheng Qu, Foshan Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China, 528000
Central Television Nanhai Film Studio: Foshan, Songgang Town, Nanhai District, Foshan 528234, China, Foshan