Guangzhou Cheap Eats: Western Appetite, Chinese Budget

Guangzhou Cheap Eats: Western Appetite, Chinese Budget
By Beth Green ,

Guangzhou Cheap Eats: Western Appetite, Chinese Budget

In Guangdong's food-centric culture, going out to eat is a frequent social event. It's easy to get in the habit of dashing off to a restaurant every mealtime, but the cost of all these ordered dinners adds up quickly, especially if you've got a hankering for more expensive Western food. Here's a guide to some of Guangzhou's cheaper foreign restaurants—for those with a Western appetite trying to stick to a Chinese budget.

If you're going to eat cheap, you'll never find Western food at prices that can beat a 4 RMB bowl of noodles or a 6 RMB two-veggies-one-meat economy rice dish. However, if your meal budget can stretch to around 30 or 40 RMB per person per entree, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the variety of foreign food you can choose from in Guangzhou. While Western restaurants are sprinkled throughout all of the city's districts, the ones that have the most budget options seem to be based in Yuexiu and Tianhe, especially near the Garden Hotel and Taojin Metro Station. Also, don't forget that many otherwise pricey Western restaurants may offer specials during lunchtime (usually from 12:00 14:00).  

1) Garden Hotel and Taojin Metro Station Area
If you're feeling broke but hungry for Western food, a walk around the streets near Yuexiu District's Garden Hotel are an excellent choice. The small streets to the west of the hotel are full of cafes and restaurants catering to all budgets, including a decent selection of low-priced Western fare. Among these, the always-open Mister Shawarma will serve up a lamb or chicken pita with your choice of toppings for 30 RMB and up and a healthy serving of thick French fries is only 10 RMB. Nearby Pizzeria Tomatoes have some low-priced breakfast options and many pasta dishes in the 30 to 50 RMB range. One street over, The Happy Monk has a menu with some cheaper dishes as well as some more expensive fare—a good place to go when you're splitting the check with someone, perhaps.

Mister ShawarmaView In Map
Add: 3& 7 Jianshe 6 Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
地址: 广州市越秀区建设六马路3&7 号
Tel: 020 8373 6860
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
Getting there: Metro Line 5, Taojin Station. Follow the signs to the Garden Hotel. Jianshe 6 Road is to the right.

Pizzeria TomatoesView In Map
Add: 3& 7 Jianshe 6 Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
地址: 广州市越秀区建设六马路3&7 号
Tel: 020 8768 6696

The Happy MonkView In Map
Add: 29 Jianshe 5 Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
地址: 广州市越秀区建设五马路29 号
Tel: 020 8376 5597

2) Elsewhere in the City
The Ikea Snack Counter on the first floor of the Swedish furniture store in Tianhe District offers 8 RMB Western-style sandwiches and 3 RMB hotdogs. Splurge on the 6 RMB coffee-and-hot-dog combo. Upstairs in the Ikea Cafe, the salmon steaks served with mashed potatoes or the smoked salmon cold plate, each for under 30 RMB, are probably the best deal for Western-style food around. A good selection of desserts and salads are also on offer, as well as the famous Swedish meatballs, sold in five-ball increments. The canteen-style cafe is often overcrowded, so it's best to arrive early and scout for seats.

Guangzhou Cheap Eats: Western Appetite, Chinese Budget

IkeaView In Map
Add: 156 Linhe Zonglu, Tianhe District, Guangzhou
地址: 广州市天河区林和中路156号
Tel: 020 8562 2345
Opening hours: 10:00-21:30
Getting there: Metro Line 1 or 5, Guangzhou East Railway Station.

In Zhujiang Xincheng District, Gail’s Place, an American-style restaurant and café, is a good place to go if you are not ready to break the bank. With food priced at 35 RMB and up and free WiFi for customers, it is a solid option and even offers vegan and vegetarian options.

Gail's PlaceView In Map
Add: 1F Stars Building, 172 Huasui Lu, Zhujiang Xin Cheng District, Guangzhou
地址: 广州市珠江新城华穗路172号,星辰大厦首层02铺
Tel: 020 8350 1667
Opening hours: 10:30-23:00

3) Lunch Time Specials
Lucy's Cafe, an old Guangzhou standard, offers surprisingly affordable American-style food in the leafy, foreign concession district of Shamian Island. The business lunches from Monday to Friday (11:00 to 14:30) are a good deal at 31 RMB and up. The outdoor seating on the back patio is a great place to unwind away from the din of Guangzhou’s traffic. They also have vegetarian options.

Guangzhou Cheap Eats: Western Appetite, Chinese Budget
Photo: terrilynnhardin

Lucy's CafeView In Map
Add: 3 Shamian Nanjie, Liwan Dsitrict, Guangzhou
地址: 广州市荔湾区沙面南街3号
Tel: 020 8187 4106
Opening hours: 10:00-02:00
Getting there: Metro Line 1 to Huangsha, Exit D. Cross over the walking bridge, continue straight on and turn left after Victory Hotel. 

The unassuming Le Vila Bakery Cafe in the CITIC Plaza's Back Street underground mall also offers lunch combos from 30 to 48 RMB, and includes some dishes based on healthy baked potatoes. You can also get your own yummy sandwiches custom made from 30 RMB and up at any time.

Le Vila View In Map
Add: Basement, Citic Plaza, 233 Tianhe Lu, Tianhe District, Guangzhou
地址: 广州市天河区天河北路233号中信广场B1楼后街1号
Tel: 020 3877 0329
Opening hours: Cafe 08:00-22:00; Lunch special between 12:00-14:00
Getting there: Metro Line 3, Linhexi

While you might pay a little bit more to visit one of Latin Grillhouse's three Guangzhou locations, meat-eaters are guaranteed not to go away hungry. Westerners used to having large pieces of meat in their diets will find the 68 RMB weekday lunchtime special great value for this all-you-can-eat South American-style barbecue and buffet. Cowboy hat wearing servers will bring skewers of meat to your table until you beg them to stop. Eat as much barbecued steak, lamb, chicken, sausages and more as you want but don't forget to leave room for items from the pretty dessert counter or fresh fruit drowned in their chocolate fountain.

Latin Grillhouse (Wing Kin Square Branch)View In Map
Add: 3F, Wing Kin Square, 29-31 Jianshi Liuma Lu, Guangzhou
地址: 广州建设六马路29-31号荣建大厦3楼
Tel: 020 8331 9118
Opening hours: Lunch 11:00-15:30; Dinner 17:00-24:00

Guangzhou Cheap Eats: Western Appetite, Chinese Budget
Photo: cityweekend

4) The Western Chain Option
And while it might be a no-brainer to seek out American-style fast food when you're broke in other countries, in China the relative value of a hamburger and fries is outrageous when compared to a bowl of noodles. However, Subway, McDonald’s and KFC are conveniently located throughout the city. All offer periodic specials that put their normally higher prices at under 20 RMB per person. Of special note is Subway's ongoing 15 RMB special for a six-inch sandwich. Ask the staff what the sandwich of the day is. 

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Keywords: cheap foreign food Guangzhou foreign food specials Guangzhou cheap eats Guangzhou best budget foreign food Guangzhou


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