Cypress Rice, Haisu Zhong St., Guangzhou, China.

We found this place wandering around the centre of Guangzhou when it suddenly seemed to have gotten to be lunchtime. The street around the restaurant is filled with small eateries and street-food vendors, so the aroma is pretty fabulous and the sidewalk fairly crowded. This restaurant is in a bit more formal category than its neighbours, and probably one of over 100 like it in the city. It happens to produce quite wonderful typical Cantonese food.

Using the picture-pointing approach to ordering, we selected classic chopped barbecued duck, another dish that looked appetizing which turned out to be an unidentified part of young duckling, and a plate of blistered green beans and green peppers. We drank a tasty local beer.

I’ve had barbecued duck, mostly in Vancouver, maybe 50 times in my life but never better and rarely as good as this. The fatty skin was crisp, the meat was completely tender, but most of all there was a lovely subtle seasoning combining sweetness with I believe a mild hoisin flavour. The other duck part was more completely cooked, without skin, quite bony, but beautifully flavoured with an Asian spice that I couldn’t identify. The beans and peppers were cooked to perfection, the peppers soft and the beans just south of crunchy, flavour massively magnified with garlic, soy, and ginger.

Server went out of his way to try to speak English, help us identify dishes, and otherwise see to our needs. Cost for two: C$22. I doubt one could eat this well for that price in any restaurant in my home town. Food: 8.9, service: 8.0, ambience 6.2, value 9.0.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 30 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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