Sai Kwan

Sai Kwan

Xiguan or Saikwan is a traditional area of Guangzhou, China, which was located west of the old walled city. The Thirteen Factories trading enclave was located on its southern shore and the Shamian enclave was constructed beside it. Xiguan continues to have a distinctive culture within Guangzhou and some residents speak a distinctive dialect of Cantonese. Before the 20th century, Guangzhou was a walled city with many gates. Its western gates included the Taiping Gate and the West Gate 。”Saikwan” or “Sai Kwan” is a romanization of the local Cantonese pronunciation of the same Chinese characters. It was formerly the area’s more common English name, although Mandarin pinyin is now the official form within China. It was also sometimes simply translated as “Westgate” or the “western suburbs” of Guangzhou 。Xiguan” or “New Xiguan” is also an informal name for Guangzhou’s Liwan District.

Apart from its connection to Guangdong’s Lingnan and Cantonese culture, Xiguan is famed within China as the site of “Western Learning Spreading East” .There are varieties of customs in Xiguan, which are comparatively well conserved among districts in Guangzhou. Customs during the Chinese New Year, on Tomb Sweeping Day and Chinese Valentine’s Day, during the Mid-Autumn Festival, and at the Winter Solstice are more or less the same as those in other places in Guangzhou. During the Dragon Boat Festival, some male residents row dragon boats.The area’s culture is celebrated in Dongshan Shaoye’s song “Miss Xiguan”  and Liao Weili’s album Xiguan. Xiguan is the setting of the mainland Chinese dramas Exotic Wives and Local Husbands  and the Hong Kong dramas Point of No Return (2003) and When Easterly Showers Fall on the Sunny West (2008).

Delicacies which have earned the title of Chinese Famous Food are as follows: Peanut & Sesame Filled Cake of Ronghua Teahouse, Shuangpinai and Milk With Ginger Juice of Nanxin, Shrimp Wonton of Ouchengji, Jidi Congee of Wuzhanji, Ginger Juice & Milk Custard Tart of Qingping Restaurant, Sweetheart Cake of Lianxianglou Teahouse, Rice Noodle Roll With Beef of Yinji and Goose Liver Boiled Dumplings of Jinzhongge. Delicacies which have earned the title of Guangzhou Famous Food are as follows: Milk With Ginger Juice of Xinghualou Teahouse, Milk Paste of Fenghuang, Sesame Paste Sweet Dumplings of Rongde, Sachima of Satangji, Sampan Congee, Salty Pancake of Dechang, Stuffed Glutinous Rice Dumpling and Burst(Laughing) Deep-fried Pastry Ball of Liangyingji, White Sugar Lunjiao Cake of Guohua, Coconut Ice Cream and Grass Jelly of Shunji Bingshi.

The Chinese character Ji 記 is often used in a restaurant’s signage, often following the owner’s name. For instance, Kaiji is named for its owner Ye Jiankai.Double-skin milk in Daliang, Shunde owns a most famous reputation. The founder of Nanxin (南信) comes from Shunde, and set up a shop in Guangzhou in 1943.The name is actually derived from the cookery and taste. When it is cooked, it appears as there are two skins for the milk. Originally in Guangzhou, the most famous one would be Nanxin store, but it’s now combined with other famous snack to be sold. It looks as the white jelly and with sweet taste.Coconut ice cream of Shunji Bingshi is a well-known Xiguan snack. The restaurant was established by a street hawker named Lu Shun in the 1920s. Coconut juice, extracted from fresh coconut meat, diluted milk, eggs and refined white sugar are the ingredients. The delicacies of Shunji have been tasted by heads of foreign states and honored guests such as Norodom Sihanouk from Cambodia in the 1950s and 1960s. Since 1956, the restaurant has acquired the title of Guangzhou Famous Food.

Kaiji is located on Longjin Donglu. Its owner is Ye Jiankai and he is jokingly called Dousha Kai because of the restaurant’s food. Kaiji’s Tangyuan (sweet dumplings) served with green bean soup and Vanilla green bean soup clear away diners’ heat and toxic material and earn a high reputation in Guangzhou. The shop is Ye’s grandfather’s legacy.Shrimp Wonton Noodle of Ouchengji is famous. The soup served with this delicacy is the double-stewed soup made of shrimp-roe, flounder and pig bones. Fresh pork, shrimp and eggs are used in stuffing of the wontons. The wonton wrapper is so thin that wontons appear carneous after being cooked thoroughly, thus called glass wontons .Jidi Congee of Wuzhanji, alternatively called Sanyuan Jidi Congee, has been famous since Republic of China. Located in Wenchang Xiang, the restaurant is famous for its variety of congee, Jidi the congee in particular. This congee contains dried beancurd stick, gingko and flounder. The congee is also called Sanyuan Jidi Congee for the reason that the numbers of its ingredients in each bowl, namely pork balls, pork liver slices and pork intestine slices correspond respectively to the numbers of Zhuangyuan, Bangyan and Tanhua . Wuzhanji’s Jidi Congee earned the title of Chinese Famous Food in 1997.

Rice noodle roll was originated by the Hexianguan Restaurant in Pantang during the Second Sino-Japanese War and it has been a must in Guangzhou’s restaurants. Rice noodle roll with beef of Yinji is the most famous type. Rice milk is steamed into rice pellicle with meat smash, fillet and pork liver on it and the pellicle is rolled and then cut apart.Sampan Congee comes from Litchi Bay. It is called Sampan Congee because it was sold by Tanka people on sampans. Its ingredients used to be only river prawns and slices of fish. Now it has become a commonly seen snack and has gradually become a dish served in restaurants and hotels. Its ingredients are unceasingly updated, with salted jellyfish, peanuts and fried vermicelli.

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