Best Things to Do, See, and Eat in Shunde, China
March 3, 2019
by Amanda Janke
China is rich in culture and history, from the luscious tree-filled mountains and winding rivers to the brightly colored architecture and the laughter of children ringing through the air. In a small but bustling city just an hour south of Guangzhou, you’ll find a glorious adventure awaiting you in the heart of Shunde. Located in the Guangdong province, Shunde is known for its excellent food and is primarily a Cantonese-speaking city. If you choose to visit this appealing destination, you’ll find a number of essential things to do and see before you leave.
Things to Do
On any given day, you will find Shungfengshan park packed with people riding bikes, walking, having picnics, or fishing. You can recognize it by the three enormous arches at the entrance of the park. It is located at the foot of Taiping Mountain, which makes for a great photo opportunity as well as a quick but challenging hike if you’re up for it. While you may think it normal to hike in workout clothing and tennis shoes, be prepared to receive stares from onlookers as the hiking culture is a bit different. However, there is no need to be nervous, as the Chinese are known for showing their hospitality to foreigners. The park also has bikes you can rent by the hour for a fairly reasonable price, as well as a small playground, soccer field, swimming pools, and a large lake. Whether you are just looking for a stroll or a more strenuous activity, Shungfengshan park has something to offer everyone.
Qing Hui Yuan Garden
Located in the heart of Foshan City, Qing Hui Yuan Garden was built during the last period of the Ming dynasty and is now a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. It is known as one of the ten famous gardens in China. With pavilions, ponds housing koi fish, and scenic pathways, this garden is the perfect place to take some time to breathe, relax, and take in the beautiful sights of China. My recommendation is to go with either a tour guide or a Chinese friend who can show you around as well as point out facts from the garden’s rich history.
Bruce Lee Park
Shunde is also known for being the hometown of the famous martial arts expert, Bruce Lee. While Bruce was born in San Francisco, his father and grandfather came from Foshan. Costing only 50rmb to enter the Bruce Lee Park, this is a “must” for fans, who will find many activities once inside the park. It takes anywhere from 3 to 5 hours to get through the whole park, and bike rental is available. The museum hosts memorabilia from Lee’s life and the park itself is filled with ponds and greenery. Feeling adventurous? Rent a small bamboo raft and try to paddle your way around the pond as you realize just how difficult it is to maneuver yourself. This park is sure to provide hours of fun, whether you are a fan of Lee or not.
What To Eat
Shunde is famous for its food which Foshan chefs have been crafting over hundreds of years. While the food may take some getting used to, it is worth noting that as far as Cantonese food goes, you are in one of the best places in the country. Chefs here are able to cook a variety of specialties that will leave your taste buds asking for more, whether you are in a five-star restaurant or ordering food off of a street cart.
Dim Sum is literally translated as “heart’s delight.” Dim Sum is usually food that is served as a brunch, which comes in little steamed baskets or small plates. The Chinese way of eating is to share so don’t try to order just one thing off of the menu unless you are feeling voracious. It is best to go with a group and to share many varieties of plates. It is also usually served with morning tea. So, where is the best place to get Dim Sum in Shunde? You really can’t go wrong with any dim sum you find in this city. But in my experience, Hua Mei Garden in the New World Shunde hotel offers an amazing experience.
When in the food capital of the country, you may be wondering what dishes you should try to get the most out of your experience. Double-skin milk is the most famous dessert in Shunde and consists of boiled milk with two layers of sugary icing on the top and bottom. The best place to try this delicacy is the Empress, but don’t take my word for it, try it out!
Watersnake soup with chrysanthemum
Are you daring enough to try the soup with a reptile in it? Believe it or not, this soup is a traditional Shunde dish. While it’s not for the faint of heart, it may end up helping your heart. While it is usually eaten in the colder months to warm you up, this soup is also used for medicinal purposes. Arthritis, blood circulation, and sex drive are just a few of the things that snake is said to improve. Other vegetables and spices added to this soup make for a chicken-like taste that you won’t soon forget.
If you’ve never tried hot pot before, now is your chance. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Hot Pot is a wok filled with broth, heated to perfection as you are given raw meats and veggies to put in the pot to cook as you please. Because Shunde is a part of the Pearl River Delta, the fish is particularly fresh and used often for hot pot. Feel free to add spices as you like, though the flavor will speak for itself.
While Shunde, China is not a city that is often talked about, is a city that has much to offer both the tourist and the local. From walking through museums to eating your way through town, Shunde is an eclectic and exciting destination for your next adventure.
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March 8, 2019