Residing in China often leaves you with the greatest cravings for Western meals. Even in a city as large as Guangzhou, tracking down your favorites from home takes some time and learning about the city. If your craving is for hamburgers, the best places to go not surprisingly read like a who's-who of expat hangouts, and if you crave company and community along with your burger, that's not an especially bad thing.
Finding a good burger, or any burger at all, at restaurants besides these gets much harder. There are certainly numerous Western-style cafes around Guangzhou and countless other cities. However, only a minority of these will grill up a burger, and some are of dubious quality. Here is a roundup of six of the biggest, best and surprisingly creative burgers in Guangzhou.
1) Gail'sView In Map
Gail's is one of the most popular Western restaurants in town, and hamburgers happen to be one of their most favored dishes, selling about one or two hundred every month. Gail's has been around since 2000, and has two locations now, both in downtown and in Panyu.
Varieties: Hamburger, Bacon Cheeseburger, Chicken Burger, Mushroom Blue Cheese Chicken Burger, Works Burger (with fried egg), Specially Burger (with hot chilis and sour cream)
Weight: About 200 g.
Buns: Homemade buns, toasted
Toppings: Anything you want
Sauces: Ketchup, mustard
Prices: 45-60 RMB
Add: 1/F Stars Building, 172 Huasui Lu, Zhujiang New Town, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8350 1667, 3759 4226
Directions: Take metro Line 3 to Zhujiang New Town and use Exit A2 or B1. Walk down Hua Cheng Avenue and turn left at the second crossing at Hua Sui Road. The restaurant is on your left at the end of the block.
2) Hooley's Irish PubView In Map
Hooley's opened in 2007 and is run by some of the same folks that run Strange Brew listed below. They feature live music, open mic nights and sports, usually soccer and rugby. Hooley's serves classic hamburgers with fresh ingredients.
Varieties: Standard hamburger with a choice of cheese and bacon
Weight: 170 + g.
Buns: Homemade buns
Beef: Hooley's grind their own beef from North China. It comes from a company with Western management and a reputation for quality. In order to keep the taste and texture at its best, the beef has never been frozen.
Toppings: Lettuce, tomato, onion, caramelized onion and more
Sauces: Ketchup, mustard
Prices: 65 RMB
Add: 2 Tianhe Bei Lu, Tianhe District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 3886 2675
Directions: Take metro Line 3 to Linhexi. Walk to Tian He Bei Lu, turn right and walk to the end of the block. It's at the bottom of the Bing Hua Hotel.
3) Strange Brew
Strange brew is another well-known eatery and haunt for Westerners. They recently closed down their old location and expect to open at a new location near Zhujiang New Town in May or June 2010.
Varieties: They have ten varieties of burger and a build-your-own ethic. Creations include the standard burger and cheeseburger, as well as such innovative belly-fillers as mango-chutney, barbecue-onion and wasabi-cream. The latter is their number-one seller.
Weight: Under 170 g. (they prefer the slightly smaller size, as the largest paddies can tend towards mushiness)
Buns: Freshly-made toasted ciabatta buns
Toppings: Lettuce, tomato, onion and anything else they have which you like
Sauces: Ketchup, mustard and mushroom-cheese along with a wide variety of hamburger sauces used on the specialty burgers
Prices: 40-65 RMB
Add: New location will be in Zhujiang New Town
Tel: 134 5022 7140
Directions: Will be close to Zhujiang New Town metro stop on Line 3
4) Cascade CafeView In Map
Cascade Cafe gets plenty of Western customers as its located right in the landmark Garden Hotel. They serve many Western and Chinese favorites, including several standard burgers.
Varieties: Hamburger with a choice of cheese, bacon and fried egg
Weight: 180-200 g.
Buns: toasted hamburger buns
Toppings: Lettuce, tomato, cucumber
Sauces: Ketchup and mustard
Prices: 78 RMB, including a side of fried potatoes
Add: 1 F Garden Hotel, 368 Huan Shi Dong Lu, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8333 8989 (This is Garden Hotel's number. They can connect you to Cascade Cafe.
Directions: Take Metro to Taojin on Line 5 and use Exit A. Walk to Garden Hotel. (It's right by the metro)
5) Paddy Field 田野酒吧View In Map
Paddy Field is practically an institution in Guangzhou, a lively Irish bar right in downtown with live music and plenty of sports, standing out for its penchant for rugby. They cook up several kinds of burgers, but will basically let you build your own.
Varieties: Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Chicken Burger, Veggie Burger (with a curry potato paddie and veggies)
Weight: Around 200 g.
Buns: Homemade toasted hamburger buns
Toppings: Just about anything you want – pineapple, bacon, mushroom....
Sauces: All homemade sauces. They'll give you anything they've got in the house.
Prices: 50-70 RMB
Add: 1/F Central Plaza, 38 Huale Lu, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8360 1379
Directions: Take metro to Taojin on Line 5 and use Exit A. Walk to the back of Garden Hotel, which is right by the metro stop.
6) Lucy'sView In Map
Lucy's is beautifully situated on Shamian Island close to the Pearl River, and it's hard to turn down their outdoor eating section amidst the Banyan trees. Lucy's cuisine is extensively varied, and includes several simple burgers.
Varieties: Hamburger, Cheeseburger
Weight: 180 g.
Buns: Toasted hamburger buns
Toppings: Tomato, cucumber, onion
Sauces: Ketchup and mustard
Prices: 28-32 RMB
Add: 3 Shamian Da Jie, Shamian Island (next to White Swan Hotel ), Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8121 5106
Directions: Take metro Line 1 to Huangsha and use Exit D. Cross over walking bridge, continue straight on and turn left after Victory Hotel. You will come to Shamian Park and Lucy's is within the park.
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