The tire-manufacturer-turned-global-dining-guidebook-publishers at Michelin have unleashed their first-ever guide to Guangzhou, China: Of the 63 restaurants that populate the printed guide, eight have been deemed worthy of one Michelin star. No Guangzhou restaurants merited a two- or three-star rating; 20 received a “Big Gourmand” nod, designated for restaurants deemed “a good value for money.”
In its press release, Michelin praises the city’s “wealth of astonishing restaurants with a strong and historical Cantonese background.” (That “strong background” makes sense considering Cantonese food originates from the Guangdong Province, of which Guangzhou is the capital. Guangzhou is also known as Canton.) To that effect, one-starred restaurants like Bing Sheng Mansion, Lai Heen, Lei Garden (Yuexiu), Wisca (Haizhu), and Yu Yue Heen are praised for their takes on Cantonese cuisine.
Guangzhou, with a population of up to 25 million when considering the “functional urban areas” of China’s cities, is the country’s second-largest metropolitan area, smaller than only Shanghai. But it’s the fourth Chinese city to receive a guide, following Shanghai and the autonomous regions of Macau and Hong Kong. Michelin launched its Shanghai guide — the first in mainland China — in 2016, and was quickly criticized by local dining experts for focusing on “high-end and expensive” restaurants and failing to capture the “essence of local delicacies,” criticisms that are frequently directed at the fine-dining-favoring guides.