If you search "Guangzhou souvenirs" or "Guangzhou gifts" on the internet, you may find the results mainly focusing on foods and handicrafts. Everyone knows that Guangzhou is hailed as the paradise of gourmets and a place that maintains its unique traditional craftsmanship. However, if you're looking to take gifts home to your own country, some foods are not allowed to pass through customs while craftworks may be too expensive or too heavy to carry.
As true locals to Guangzhou, editors from Lifeofguangzhou.com will pick some of the best Cantonese-style souvenirs for you – including those famous pieces as well as lighter and and comparatively cheap items but still with that defining Cantonese character.
Most Official – Time-honored Brand Snacks
A number of locals would suggest you to bring some snacks back after visiting Guangzhou. Many old Cantonese restaurants and snack shops prepare packaged gift box of souvenir snacks for outbound visitors.
The official standard box includes La Chang (Cantonese-style sausage), cakes, crafts, moon cake, soup materials, herbal tea bag, sugar and so forth.
The package designs are apt to suit foreigners' tastes with Cantonese icons, such as the Canton Tower, kapok, traditional architecture and map patterns. Cantonese stories are written on the packaging to introduce Lingnan culture to the world.
Where to buy:
Pantang souvenir Street 泮塘手信街
Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street 上下九步行街
Souvenir shops of time-honored brands on the Pantang Road
Pantang Restaurant souvenir packages - all kinds of Cantonese-style cakes and pastries.
Traditional condiment brand Jammychai souvenir package
Most Expensive – Copperware
Xi Guan copperware, including cups, pots and bowls, is one of the most famous handicrafts in South China and was very popular among local people in the past because of it's durability. Now, copperware is rarely used in everyday Cantonese life and it has instead become an exquisite example of art.
In 2009, copperware was listed as a piece of intangible cultural heritage in Guangzhou. However few local craftsmen still continue in making copperware, with the exception of a shop ran by a veteran craftsman surnamed Su and his son.
Copper products in the shop are divided into two kinds - purple copper and yellow copper. The former is much purer and softer, mainly for artworks and the latter contains other metals and cheaper prices, suitable for making daily items and kitchenware.
The pieces are only limited to useful items at home like pot, bowls, basin. The craft workers have especially created some exquisite decorations such as an abacus, Chinese auspicious accessories and wind bell. It is no surprise that the prices of the hand-made are not at all acceptable for most people, up to hundreds of yuan for a small piece.
Where to buy:
Tiancheng Copper Shop, No. 138, En Ning Lu, Liwan district, Guangzhou
Shops on Yide Lu (一德路)
Purple copper pot and cups
Yellow copper abaci
Most Creative – Wooden Antique Shelf
This is a multi-layer wooden furniture that is used for displaying precious decorations at home. The wooden antique shelf (Chinese name: 博古架) is always found in the Chinese-style house.
Different from expensive porcelain and carving, some wooden items such as the platform "desk" for placing plants or flower vase indoor are choices for visitors to bring back. They are very different in size – ranging from one meter wide to 20 centimeter. Some hotels even place afternoon tea snacks on it to amuse visitors.
Where to buy:
Wenchang Bei Lu, Metro line one at Changshou Lu station
Wooden antique shelf
Afternoon tea set is designed to put on the wooden antique shelf.
Most Useful – Metro Tickets
Guangzhou Metro now issues one-day and three-day tickets for passengers, especially convenient for tourists in Guangzhou who can take the metro for an unlimited amount of trips in a certain period. A one-day ticket costs RMB 20 and is valid for 24 hours after the first entrance. The three-day ticket costs RMB 50 and is valid for 72 hours.
The design depicts the modern and energetic side of Guangzhou with artistic and colorful icons of local landmarks, delicacies and Cantonese dialects.
Where to buy:
They are available at Guangzhou Railway Station, Guangzhou East Railway Station, Guangzhou South Railway Station, Airport South, Jiaokou, Kengkou, Tianhe Coach Terminal, Gongyuanqian, Chigang Pagoda, Chen Clan Academy, Yuexiu Park, Tiyu Xilu and Zumiao.
Guangzhou metro ticket
(By Jessie Huang, Rik Glauert)