Lunar New Year in Canton, China (pic-heavy food tour)

Last month, Nick and I visited Guangzhou/Canton, China for Lunar New Year. This is the biggest holiday of the year there – all homes are decorated in lucky red, streets are lined in lanterns, and businesses are closed for 1-2 weeks at a time. Children and unmarried young adults especially love this holiday, as they can go around relatives’ homes collecting red envelopes full of “lucky money.”
I was born in Canton and am extremely partial to good Cantonese cuisine. The people there place so much emphasis on eating fresh food, and spend a large portion of their income doing so. They go to the local outdoor market every day to buy ingredients for that day’s meal. My uncle frowns upon buying meat and seafood that were previously refrigerated, or veggies that don’t still have dirt on them. As a child, I absolutely loved tagging along at the market as he scurried from booth to booth, inspecting and smelling the ingredients while brainstorming dishes for dinner.

1. The Cantonese live for fresh noodles. First stop: The quintessential local dish is wonton noodle soup. We went to a shop where they beat fresh noodles (with a bamboo stick…apparently it’s an art) and fold pork and shrimp wontons every morning.
2. Left: Slurping up more noodle soup at a street-side vendor. Right: You pick veggies, meat and sauce to be braised together in a table-top pot. Hand-pulled noodles were made on the spot and tossed into the casserole. The noodles were thick and had a deliciously springy texture.
3. Dim sum (Chinese version of Spanish tapas) originated in Canton and is a beloved pastime there. I like the classic dishes, but these were tasty too: (clockwise, from right) sticky rice atop shortrib, tuna rolls, matcha green tea pudding cakes, and rice noodle with braised beef sauce.
4. Munching on spicy BBQ lamb skewers while buying festive decor for Lunar New Year…

5. If you’ve ever had dim-sum, you may have tried thin rice noodle sheets with shrimp, beef, or roast pork folded inside. This shop made every plate of rice noodles to order, and filled ’em with an ingredient of your choice. The result: delicate, paper-thin noodles hot off the steamer machine, perfect with soy and a touch of hot sauce.
6. One of my favorite photos from the trip. There’s a word in Chinese, “chan” (meaning loves to continuously eat or snack), that describes the subjects in this photo very well. My little brother’s eyes are closed in pleasure as he savors a candied fruit, and Nick is too engrossed with his egg puffs to look up. The vendors on the left are selling roasted yams.
7. This is congee or rice porridge with a savory broth, packed with mix-ins and topped with fried dough. Congee is my favorite comfort food, and this was the best I’ve ever had. On the coldest days, we’d stop by all bundled up, and warm up with a piping hot bowl of this on a shaky outdoor fold-up table.
8. Left: My pretty cousin, who is the same exact size as me. I gave her my ON rockstar jeans in “Russet” and love how she paired them with a leopard throw and mustard suede moccasins. Right: Freshly-pressed sugarcane juice.
9. Traditional Cantonese pastry – egg tarts. Melt-in-your-mouth filling with perfectly flaky crust.
10. My little brother is an absolute handful. To prevent him from running into the street or bouncing into the river, I convinced him that holding my umbrella and purse in exchange for 3 Yuan (50 cents) was a fair trade. Scarf, coat, and OTK boots here borrowed from my cousin.
11. Mickey D’s there has yummy wings (2 flavors), curly fries, and various red bean-flavored desserts like pie, sundaes, and McFlurries.
12. The Chinese (myself excluded) believe strongly in an inner system of “hot and cold.” When you eat too much of certain foods (like fried stuff), they believe your body “heats up.” A remedy for this is the unfortunate herbal or “cooling tea,” which allegedly cools your body back down. This tea is pitch black and unbelievably bitter. You can get it at many street-side shops or brew it at home using herbs and sticks (and probably dirt…because it tastes like dirt). My aunt and uncle made us drink it every few days to “stay healthy.”
13. One of the most delicious dishes I tried – crab and green onions over spaghetti in a Macau-style coconut curry sauce, served atop a mini burner to stay hot. When the noodles were gone, they provided soft Portuguese bread for sopping up the sauce…yum.
14. Left: It’s Chinese tradition to make dumplings together as a family on New Year’s eve and consume them for luck and prosperity. I’ve trained Nick over the years to be a rather efficient dumpling-folder. Right: Chef uncle cooking up a storm on the big night. His braised pork belly dish is one of my faves.
15. Left: I put aside my fashion dignity to stay warm. ALL of us grossly under-packed for this trip. When I looked at the forecast, I scoffed at the 40 degree temps (compared to frigid Boston) and brought just a light coat. What I didn’t know was that it was a damp, constant cold that chilled you down to your bones…and the homes don’t have heat! At night, we kept our heartbeats alive with electric mattress pads or microwaveable stones for clutching on to.

We all wore my cousin and uncle’s clothes – layers upon layers of it. Hopefully that explains why my little brother is rocking a leopard scarf or why Nick looks puffy (he donned 5-6 layers of garments). Right: Rice noodle rolls with peanut, spicy sauce, and sesame seeds. I know these photos are completely unrelated.

Readers – I hope you enjoyed my travel diary. Thank you for letting me share part of my “hometown” and culture with you. Next stop…the Philippines!

172 thoughts on “Lunar New Year in Canton, China (pic-heavy food tour)

  • .Tinacious Me. March 25, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    omg this looks so delicious!
    xo, Tina

  • Petite Therapy March 25, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I've always wanted to go to China for the new year! It seems like you guys hard a fun time. The food looks delicious…even the Mickie D's!! lol

  • Ida March 25, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Ugh, why did I look at this post? I'm so hungry now! The wontons look so yummy – those are one of my favorite foods.

  • TINA March 25, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    So yummy! I wish I had a bowl of congee now.

  • Anonymous March 25, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    i think, im in love with you <3

  • Helen March 25, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Oh I am so full from dinner, but reading your post made me crave some good authentic Chinese food!

  • Jackie @ This Is What I Enjoy March 25, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Oh man….that food looked so amazing! Thanks for sharing and I can't wait to see more!

  • JCHokie March 25, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    OMG, seriously I love every single food item that you posted. I was born in Taiwan and miss all of that! I love fresh noodles and the wontons look sooo good!

  • Anonymous March 25, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    YUM!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Arts March 25, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    looks like u had lots of fun, can't wait to see ur next trip photos

  • Lindy March 25, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    I love your blog! I use your styling ideas and try to adapt them to my wardrobe. Next month, I'm headed to the Philippines and China too spending a week in Canton to visit the village that my dad grew up in. I can't wait for your next installment. Lindy

  • jenny March 25, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    yay for Cantonese cuisine!!!

  • leen March 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Red Bean Pie!

  • Katherine March 25, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    OMG these post made me so hungry – everything looked delicious and thank you for the noodle photos! Noodles are hands down my favorite dish in the whole world 🙂

  • Anonymous March 25, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Oh my goodness, that looks so wonderful…I can't even stand it.

    Are you wearing any makeup in those pictures? Your skin looks so natural and beautiful!

  • elleandish March 25, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Delicious! 😀 Coincidentally I was just eating some steamed rice noodle sheets with soy sauce and sesame oil.. now I'm getting hungry again -_0 ! Justin is 1/4 Cantonese and we plan on going to HK & Macau in the future so he can finally get in touch with his roots. I cannot wait for the food!! Thank you for posting such beautiful photos :] And.. did you do any shopping? I remember the last time I went to Shanghai/Beijing I didn't buy much. Just wondering if you found anything of interest!

  • K March 25, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Hi Jean! This may be my first time ever commenting on your blog, content as I am usually with being a silent lurker, but in this case, I got all excited by your post, as Guangzhou is also my hometown. 🙂

    I'm surprised to hear that Guangzhou was so cold. Then again, the last time I was in Guangzhou during the winter, I had just flown in from Shanghai, and the cold there had just about finished me. Compared to Shanghai, Guangzhou felt like a cool fall day.

    And I remember that herbal tea! I forget why I tried it, but yes, it was pretty nasty stuff. I think I had thought that it would taste like that grass jelly drink. Needless to say, I was quickly corrected, but being a good Asian, I did at least finish my drink. No wasting!

    I'm afraid I always ignore my Cantonese relatives' warnings about lychee (or is it longan?) being a "hotness"-inducing food. Some foods are just too good to eat to be worrying about whether they will cause pimples on your face …

  • Angie March 25, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    what fun! i really enjoy these travel with jean posts because we get an insight on your exciting life & foooood. back to the good ole roots!

  • Sabrina March 25, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Awesome! Lovin' the delicious and wonderful food pictures. 🙂 Aside from shopping, I'm definitely looking forward to eating whenever I get around to visit China! I'm glad you had a great time in Canton, especially during New Year's!

    Sabrina x

  • Mary Ann March 25, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Heh, this is great Jean! I love all the food pics. Looks like you had a fabulous (albeit cold) time! When I was in Europe in November, I just wore jeans, winter boots, and puffy jacket for 10 days and threw away the notion of "fashion," lol! 😉

  • Ping March 25, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    omg your little brother's face is priceless!!!! i liked that he's sporting the animal print scarf, that made me laugh so hard!!

  • Hellen March 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    A more tasty "cooling tea" is chrysanthemum tea! My parents and I always drink it to cool our bodies down from being too "hot" and it definitely works…and tastes delicious! You can feel the refreshing effect as you drink it 🙂

  • Bethany March 25, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Dear Jean:
    Could you speak or read Cantonese? How about Mandarin?
    Do you mind if i ask you at which age you come to the U.S.?
    I am a Chinese and live in the U.S. now, i just hope i can speak and write as fluent English as you someday!

    I think you do not have Chinese accent in your English at all… How did u manage to do it?
    PS:I really love your blog.

  • March 25, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    We have the same ethnic background and both live in Boston. What are some of your favorite Cantonese places to eat in the area? I like South Garden in Quincy and Victoria's Seafood in Allston. I have taken family to both places and they approve.

  • Ping March 25, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    i forgot to say, i'd die without a heater!!! i will stay away from china during this time of the year.

  • Jackie March 25, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Can't wait to see your Philippines pics! I enjoy reading about your travels. I can't believe they have curly fries!! That's like McDonald's here meets Checkers T^T They look so tasty….! I love my junk food! lol

    You've made me hungry =/

  • Michelle March 25, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Aww! My favorite picture is definitely the one where your brother is in food heaven while leaning up against Nick…at least it looks like he is leaning. Too cute!! 🙂

    That crab and green onions dish looks amazing!!

    I loved hearing about your uncle's tradition of going to the market daily. Such a healthy lifestyle!

    Thanks for sharing Jean! Looking forward to the Philippines!

  • Toni March 25, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    JEAN. you're going to the philippines?!?! LOVE IT THERE. (i might have some bias though, i am filipino 🙂 just know the right places to go so you wont get caught by a whirlwind of street vendors or onlookers pondering over you because you and nick are pale. one of my favorite places is bohol because of their beautiful beaches and famous monkey, the tarsier! but i assure you this isnt the only breathtaking place! have lots of fun jean!

  • CynthiaC March 25, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Mmmmmm, I love egg tarts. Though I think they are a Hong Kong specialty, not mainland (though influenced by Portuguese/Macau).

  • Anonymous March 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Hi Jean,
    I'm usually a silent lurker…but I can't help but comment how cute 😛 yoou look in the last picture with the layers of clothing! Thank you for sharing your trip with us :)!

  • Phoebe March 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    #5 is totally making my mouth salivate. I love the kind with bbq pork and slightly sweet soy sauce. My brother is more partial to Cantonese food than I am (I lean towards Taiwanese), but hand me a bowl of wonton soup any day!!!

  • Kat March 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    I really enjoyed this post Jean. I have never been to Canton. I'm Cantonese too (3rd generation) and have just traveled to Hong Kong last October. That in itself was a huge treat; the food & fashion/shopping, & the food 😛

    I linked my posts of my HK trip in case you are interested. Anyway, it's great seeing some culture posts on your blog. It's inspiring. Oh and "yeet hay" I know what you're talking about! Thank you!

  • PetiteAsianGirl March 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Oh, how fun! You're going to have a great time in both countries.

  • OohLookBel March 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Jean, I loved this post! My dad was from Canton, though I've never visited there. Isn't it fascinating how customs like the heating/cooling foods cross over into other cultures? I have a cold and cough today that's due to the fried fish and chips I had yesterday 😛

  • PetiteAsianGirl March 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Thank you, but I am wearing concealer and some eyeshadow stick in all the photos but the last. When I didn't wear any makeup, I was approached as a grade school student.

  • Scarlett March 25, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Oh you guys went back to China?! How happy!!! Enjoy!!

  • PetiteAsianGirl March 25, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    I didn't know Justin was 1/4 Cantonese! I did pretty much no shopping. I had high hopes after hearing that things "ran so much smaller" in Asia…but truth of the matter was, although Asians are generally short, most of them were still wider and thus the clothes did not fit and were of poor quality (except for foreign brands).

  • My Dressy Ways March 25, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    How fun! Looks like you all had such a great time! The pictures are amazing! I shouldn't have read this at 11:30 at night because now I'm hungry! I've NEVER had freshly made noodles but I CRAVE them because I can only imagine what they'd taste like – somewhere along the lines of a sweet, sweet heaven.

  • PetiteAsianGirl March 25, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Hi K! What a coincidence : ) Yes, I love lychee/longan (and watermelon, too) and am always restrained due to the "hotness." I don't believe it one bit, though!

  • Anonymous March 25, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    reading your blog for a long time.
    I'm from china as well.
    Have you got time to do some research about clothes for petites in China market?

  • belleplusmel March 25, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    oh goodness. the dreadful health drink that almost feels like it can kill you! lol. must've been a great trip! nice pictures of all the food 🙂

  • PetiteAsianGirl March 25, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Hi Bethany! Thank you – I speak and read Mandarin, but unfortunately very little Cantonese. I came here around age 5. You just have to be brave and practice speaking it with everyone without fear. I admire everyone who came here later who can do that with confdience : )

  • PetiteAsianGirl March 25, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Hi there – unfortunately, I'm not that impressed by Boston's Cantonese offerings but perhaps I just haven't explored enough yet! For butchery items like roast duck, I like that little place to the left of Hei La Moon dim sum. I forget what it's called, and its NOT a restaurant…just a take out roast duck, pork, and chicken place. I usually get dim sum at HLM or Great Taste in Chinatown. Unfortunately, I used to live hear Victoria's Seafood and was repeatedly, sorely disappointed by them (and their sanitation practices). I also used to like Hong Kong Eatery very much but wasn't impressed the last time I went. Will check out South Garden sometime!

  • PetiteAsianGirl March 25, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Contrary to my high expectations, I found absolutely no petite-friendly clothes in China (that aren't the same brands available for sale in the US). I think Hong Kong may have better options. I went into lots of stores in Guangzhou and they were mostly very low quality pieces, or super expensive (hundreds of USD) for average quality items that were only available in one size. Hope you have better luck!

  • PetiteAsianGirl March 25, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Kat, thank you for sharing! I look forward to checking out your posts.

  • maggie March 25, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    When I go to Xindian, Taiwan, I do the exact thing you do — eat eat and eat! My grandma is like your uncle, even in her old age she gets fresh ingredients everyday with my cousin helping, although when need be, she will go to the grocery store. I just love rice noodles and soy sauce nothing else, and street vendor food!

    My grandma makes me drink the bitter health drink when I'm sick, and it's horrendous! My face looks like your little brother's when I drink it. I'm so sorry that you had to drink it every few days!

    xx maggie

  • PetiteAsianGirl March 25, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    I actually already went last month : ) Should have asked for recommendations prior!

  • Jess and Shanghai March 25, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    I studied abroad in Shanghai last year and the McDonald's there had taro flavored and pineapple flavored pies! I would have loved to try the red bean one though.

    Also, the rice crepes look absolutely delicious!

  • Florence March 25, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Love your food post! Fresh thin rice noodles are my absolute favorite. There's one street cart in NYC Chinatown that I go to religiously for this.

  • Christy March 25, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Everything looks delicious! Haha, this post made me so hungry 🙂 xx

  • Ella Pretty Blog March 25, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVED this post! My favourite part is the one with everyone drinking the "dirt" tea LOL!

    I hate being cold-to-the-bone too – good thing you could borrow clothes!

    Can't wait to see the Philippines section of your trip – will bring back fond memories for me since I used to live there 🙂

    I'll be taking my kids to Asia next week (their first time) – we've been stocking up on ALL sorts of medicine – hopefully we won't need any of it – fingers crossed.

  • what.jess.wore March 25, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Such yummy pictures. Looks like you had a great time. Thanks for sharing! 🙂 They had Doramon Zodiac McD Happy meal toys when I was in Taiwan last February. I got sick for a week otherwise I might have visited China.

  • jen March 25, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    whoa! you're coming here in the Philippines?!
    in contrast to the weather there in China, were having hot, humid weather here because summer is coming! I hope you'll enjoy you're stay here 😀

  • Marley March 26, 2012 at 12:00 am

    OMG this is FOOD HEAVEN!!!!!I am glad you had fun for CNY! 🙂

  • kristina March 26, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Awesome post! I'm an ABC expat in Shanghai and I really admire how you've captured Chinese new year in China! Hope you guys got to set off some fireworks 😉

  • Erica March 26, 2012 at 12:02 am

    How nice to know you're from Canton! My mom was born there. I love all of your food pics! I've never had any of those dim sum dishes you snapped. Interesting! And I would love a bowl of congee right now… Add some preserved duck eggs, and it would be PERFECT! 🙂

  • L.T. March 26, 2012 at 12:02 am

    What a great post! I went to Taiwan during CNY too and didn't realize that they ate so much! lol I also underpacked as well! it was so cold there without heat.

  • With Each Passing Day March 26, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Thank you for sharing your vacation with us. I am getting hungry looking at your food photos. The picture of your brother with his eyes closed in pleasure is Kodak moment. =)

  • CynthiaC March 26, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Hong Kong isn't that much better. Women there just get things altered or spend a lot of money. There are a lot of options for small-footed ladies though. I bought like 5 pairs of shoes at my last trip over Christmas!

  • Erica March 26, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Yes, I believe Hong Kong does have better options. I remember seeing a lot of nice clothes for petite people. In fact, I almost felt like a big person in comparison! And everyone dressed so fashionably, as I recall. I couldn't give any advice on the subject, though, since I was a clueless teenager the last time I was there.

  • Liz March 26, 2012 at 12:14 am

    OMG YESSS! More food posts, please.

    I just got back from stuffing my face in Shanghai in December, and now I see I need to hit Canton on my next trip (I'd heard as much, but the pictures really sell it, and I now have an addiction to egg tarts. Unfortunately, the convenience store near my home in Japan started selling them. My hips and blood sugar are not happy. Unfortunately 80% of the reason I travel is to eat the local foods, so these things happen a lot.

    Thanks for the food porn!

  • - A March 26, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Great and drool worthy post, I'm going to china next year and was wondering if you remember the names of the restaurants you posted above? Esp the crab and green onions spaghetti dish, would love to try that!

  • Lin March 26, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Love you blog! I'm dying to know, though… is Nick Asian? He looks perhaps half Asian. Either way, you two make a very cute couple! I haven't been back to China in about 7 years now, and plan to go back after graduating college! I miss it!

  • Gracie March 26, 2012 at 12:35 am

    By far one of my favorite posts from your blog. I enjoy reading other people's travel diaries simply because I don't have the means to do so at the moment and can enjoy the travel vicariously.

    Looking forward to your future travel logs!!!

  • Anonymous March 26, 2012 at 12:53 am

    What about Japan? Japanese are even smaller. I was thinking about going there to shop at one point of time but heard things are expensive there though. – Angela

  • leen March 26, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Japan is fantastic for petite shopping. I'm a bit bigger and taller than you Jean (5'1), and I found that I was at the larger end! One store only carried up to 25 in jeans and that just fit me. In another store the shop assistant gave me a XXS in a singlet top and I had to ask for a S. Of course all stores will be different, but it was the only country where everything fit me off the rack and in some instances, I had to ask for a larger size. I hope one day you will visit Japan. It's my favorite holiday destination. It can be expensive especially in the department stores, but honestly the fashion in Japan is so unique I happily paid for it.

  • Jennifer March 26, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Hi! I love this post about your trip to Guangzhou. I am Cantonese too and am so jealous you got to see Guangzhou during Chinese New Year. I was born in the US and never got a chance to visit. This inspired me to go one day. And I'll take note of your experience with the cold weather and bring more winter clothes.

  • Y March 26, 2012 at 1:46 am

    I don't know if Japanese sizes are necessarily smaller, but I do think their clothing is more petite friendly due to the fact that the average Japanese woman tends to be shorter. There are a lot of one-size stores. If you like Hong Kong fashion (florals and frills), you'll like Japanese clothing. Also, fun fact: Western brand stores in Japan only have size 0 and size 2 out.

  • Y March 26, 2012 at 1:48 am

    I should clarify that they're not necessarily smaller relative to the sizing in China. Clothes are definitely cut smaller than American brands.

  • Jen March 26, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Dear god, the crab dish looks the best *A* everything looks so good!! Haha, i know what you mean about the herbal tea.. i think it's every Chinese/Asian child's nightmare to have to drink it XD (ones that live overseas anyway)

  • yorkshirejc March 26, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

  • contrary kiwi March 26, 2012 at 3:50 am

    I loved going to Guangzhou and seeing all the yummy fruit! Unfortunately we didn't get an opportunity to see much in Guangzhou because of work, but I still enjoyed my time there. I definitely can't see the appeal in chewing sugar cane, but man did I love the egg tarts! Or egg anything in China really xD

  • Anonymous March 26, 2012 at 4:09 am

    Your trip looks like so much fun! I've never visited Canton although it's where my ancestors are from (all my relatives now live in Hong Kong). Is the cuisine much the same?

  • Ri(t)ch Styles March 26, 2012 at 5:55 am

    Lovely pics!!! I love food stories!! Your brother is cho cute!


  • Anonymous March 26, 2012 at 6:03 am

    I regularly visit HK and there are fashionable petite clothes available over a range of prices. You can also get tailored suits and shirts made at a reasonable cost. However, the quality and style at certain stores, like G2000, seems to have recently deteriorated or perhaps it has been sporadic.

    Bela Anzu

  • Honglei Li March 26, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Hello! Jean! I am from China too and had been living in Hong Kong for many years. I haven't celebrated Chinese New Year in my hometown for many years neither. I like this post!
    As for clothes in China, they are several petite friendly brand in China. Based on my experience, the alteration in China is much cheaper than in US or UK.
    There is a petite friendly brand in China, 淑女屋 (Fairyfair), they do very dedicate size starting from 150/76A. Here is the link When I was in Hong Kong, I often buy clothes from this brand and they look perfectly fit on me.
    My size is 31/22/33, 5''1'.
    I just want to thank so for your introduction to JCrew sale information. I just received my JCrew wool trouse and altered the waist. It fits me perfectly now and I am so happy to have the first work trouse after about 10 years! I am planning to setup a fashion blog like yours to explore my clothes journey. I just ordered a Brother sewing machine and plan to alter my clothes.
    I can't wait to share with you my findings!

  • Anonymous March 26, 2012 at 6:50 am

    The last time I went to Guangzhou was two years ago in Sep/Oct and I shopped up a storm! I literally went with an empty suitcase and bought so much that I had to send a box back home. All good quality too. I think the season really varies as the time before that was round Lunar NY (same as your trip) and I didn't buy as much. Maybe try a different period for your next trip?

  • Krecipe March 26, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Delish!!!! Everything looks so yummy!! I'm planing to visit Taiwan soon. Hope I could try those food you've tried 🙂

  • Suzie Q March 26, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Looks like such a fabulous trip! All the food looks so yummy! I definitely want to visit China and try all the authentic Chinese food. Great photography!


  • Anna March 26, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Wow Jean, it`s so great to see your hometown and all the little anecdotes.
    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  • Helen March 26, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Have a similar lunar year experience like you!!!

  • Annabelle March 26, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Some of the worst-tasting things I've ever had were Chinese traditional medicine teas, but it looks like you had more than enough delicious stuff to balance it out! Looks like a great trip.

  • Anonymous March 26, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I love this post!

    It combines everything that I like: fashion, travel, and food. I've been thoroughly entertained by the descriptions and photos. Looking forward to the next one!

  • Annapurna March 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Thank you so much for this post – it was such a treat! I spent most of January in India and I really miss how the food tastes there …fresh ingredients are so much better in other countries – especially in Asia. everything is "organic" because they cannot afford fertilizer – lol. I miss the vegetable peddlers coming to our home every morning with veggies that had been pulled out of the ground that morning. My mom's cooking – which is always great here – tastes so much better there because of the raw ingredients. It was a revelation.

    I echo the other poster who wrote that petite-friendly clothing is easier to find in Japan. Clothes are cut slimmer and shorter there and the quality is outstanding. I am already plotting a return trip.

    Your cousin looked great in the red jeggings – did you inspire her to pair them with mustard yellow?

  • Annapurna March 26, 2012 at 9:41 am

    BTW…Japan does not have to be expensive! The clothes are not cheap but it is possible to find very inexpensive lodging and food – and the quality of everything is INSANE. As far as tourist destinations, it is as good a value as Thailand.

  • Tang March 26, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I love this post! I briefly visited Beijing 2 years ago, but would love to visit here where I can use my Cantonese. The food all looks so darn good!!! Did you stay with family the whole time? Just wondering if you would recommend anywhere to stay.

  • Rosie March 26, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Thanks for sharing! Your photos are amazing and really capture the bustle of the city. I love the picture of Nick and your little brother.

    My family is from Guangdong, so seeing all those foods makes me nostalgic for the big family dinners from my childhood. You're making me hungry, and making me want to visit Canton again!

  • xoladiihoneyxo March 26, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Did you know, there's not that many places that sells egg tarts in Hong Kong even though many people would think so, especiall Bostonians because we practically have it everywhere. I enjoyed these photos and thanks for taking the time to take them and upload them on here =] You made your little brother to work but that's a good idea… haha, at least he's not being a bad little boy running everywhere! =]

  • Molly March 26, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Oh my god. Yum everything.

  • Angie March 26, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I love food pics. Everything looks so yummy! Now I'm hungry.


  • dietingfashions March 26, 2012 at 11:18 am

    You had an incredible trip! I visited China about 10 years ago on a tour with my aunt and uncle and 2 cousins. We went to I think 10 different cities in 17 days. And my main complaint was the food! It seemed like every city had similar cuisine just different flavoring. I knew there had to be better food in China. You proved it to me! I want to go back and chow to my heart's content.

    And it's not only the Chinese that drink the "tea." I think it's an Oriental thing. I used to drink it as a child. I drank it so much, I'm tolerant to it now. If out of the blue my mom gives me a cup, it's so natural to just chug it and not think what really is in it.


  • Lisa - respect the shoes March 26, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I adore that you're a travel eater because I totally am too. Sites and shopping are sweet, but what really gives me a great feeling for a place is its food!

    I've never had the opp to go to Guangzhou but visited Guilin a few years back and remembered it was freezing! I went for a conference and everyone was freezing right along with me!

  • Christie March 26, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Love this blog posting on Asia. I'm going to be there next month and after seeing your posting on it, I'm sooo excited to try out the food. Thank you for sharing!

  • Ale March 26, 2012 at 11:33 am

    beautiful food =) I'm hungry now. You guys look so young, like college students 😉

  • Whitney March 26, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Hi Jean, Thank you for sharing this! I am from origine also from guangzhou, but I have never been there during the winter,( I am only able to go there in summer) it's funny that I see some places that i recognize 😉 I wonder if you also can speak cantonese?

    Love from Holland x

  • Anonymous March 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing Jean! I am origin also from guangzhou, but i have never been there in winter(im only able to go there in summer) So fun that i can recognize some places that you went 😉 I wonder if you can also speak cantonese?
    Love from Holland 😉 xx

  • a rose March 26, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Oh, I love your little bother's face expression when he drank the black tea. There is a saying that if you look at a child's face, you will have a real opinion about anything hah! And I am so related to your fashion transition since in my hometown, there's no heat in houses in winter either.

    One of the best things of living in Asia is the fresh food. Even for busy working people, access to fresh food daily is neither inconvenient nor expensive since local vendors are just about every where.

  • a rose March 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Jean, next time you go back to the town again, you should check out local tailors and fabric market there. It's quite affordable to have your clothes tailored and there's unlimited choices of fabrics in cloth markets. It's a little time consuming for someone who is totally new to the town. But your uncle's family is there, so I think it's doable with your cousin's tips/help.

  • My Style March 26, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    love finding out more about different cultures and cuisines…thank you!

  • DSK Steph March 26, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Your lil brother is so cute!!

  • Bethany March 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    hey girl: I am also a petite and also come from China. Look forward reading your fashion blog.

  • The Little Dust Princess March 26, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Love this post, Jean! Those food pics are making me hungry.. Are you going to have a post up with pics of the New Year festivities? I'd love to see those! I've only been to Vietnam for Lunar New Year and would love to do the same in China one day.

  • DiamondsandTulle March 26, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Looks like a great family trip! I completely understand about the under-packing/damp cold. When we went last year to HK, Canton, and Macau, I literally had to pile on every jacket and sweater I brought for layers! It was bone-chilling cold from the damp! But the food YOU ate looks 1000x's better than the food I had on the Canton tour. I could dive right in and eat that crab curry right now! Looks delish!

    xx Vivian @

  • Bri March 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    My mother is from Hong Kong and this food is making me want to visit again!!

  • Kitch March 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    You visited Manila?!?! Awww jeez, I wish I knew, I would've loved to meet up with you, show you around and of course, let you try some of awesome filipino food! If you ever come visit again, please do let me know and I"ll certainly take the time. I love love your travel posts and it always makes me hungry just looking at all those delish shots.

  • Kitch March 26, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    You visited Manila?!?! Awww jeez, I wish I knew, I would've loved to meet up with you, show you around and of course, let you try some of awesome filipino food! If you ever come visit again, please do let me know and I"ll certainly take the time. I love love your travel posts and it always makes me hungry just looking at all those delish shots.

  • Lisa Ng March 26, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    What a fun and yummy trip! LOL on the bro wearing a leopard scarf – he's adorable in the "savoring" photo. Besides the great food pix, I really enjoyed just seeing how Nick related to your family. He seems like he fits right in, which is so great! Can't wait to see more from the Philippines!

  • Nina March 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Jean, I can't believe you came to the US at such a young age but still managed to learn to read Chinese. Proud of you 🙂

  • simplyvonne March 26, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    for the long time, I thought you were Korean 😀 Thanks for sharing the photos! love looking through all of them, love that one of your brother holding the umbrella hehe

  • Julia March 26, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    hi Jean! I found your blog recently but how do I follow on Google friends? I cannot find the box on your sidebar.

  • Min March 26, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing your travels. All the food looked amazing (I just had my lunch, and yet I'm drooling for food..again), and your little brother is adorable 🙂 That's a great picture of him and your boyfriend together, savoring the treats!

  • Kandice March 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Awesome post! And pround to be Chinese!

  • Karina March 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    this picture diary is great! it looks like you all had a great time!
    the pictures of you and your brother remind me of my own little brother =)


  • Emily March 26, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I am Cantonese too, and now I am STARVING for some good food! It's been a few years since I've gone back (my family is in HK now) but ohhh so jealous. Congee, rice noodles mmmmm.

  • dotdotgoose March 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Oh my gosh, thank you for sharing this, some serious nostalgia here! Although my family isn't from Guangzhou, all this Chinese food brings me back to my childhood visits to Hong Kong & China. Especially the wonton noodle soup…it was my favourite and still is, but you won't find anything that comes even close than how it's made there. It's been so long now…but I'd love to go back and immerse myself in the culture I was born!

  • Rachel March 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Fantastic post! Makes me nostalgic of my trip to Hong Kong with my boyfriend this past December. Ahh the food. Nothing beats authentic Cantonese food. First meal I took him to was wontons and egg noodles. 🙂

  • Jane March 26, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Jean, I love your posts. I never know what I'm going to find here!! ON jeggings versus noodles in China. LOTS of variety!

  • Phoebe March 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Oh I so want to go to Guangzhou and pig out one of these days! It's one of the few areas in China I haven't been to (I think the closest I got was Guangxi). Your little brother is so cute.

    And I think there is something to the hot/cold theories, as fried food is quite inflammatory and can exacerbate pimples/cold sores if you're prone to them.

  • Wendy March 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Oh wow~! The food is making my stomach rumbleee. >.< I always wanted to travel but I still haven't got the chance. Hopefully when I go I'll have as much fun as you did. What shocked me is that China's cold. (At night, we kept our heartbeats alive with electric mattress pads or microwaveable stones for clutching on to (no joke). I loved this line. LOL) I was always under the impression that China was hot and humid with mosquitoes around, but I guess it was a different area in China my friends tells me about.

  • just tututiny March 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    These photos are awesome Jean, and I am def. drooling over all the authentic food. Looks like you guys had a great time even though it does look freezing! How long did you stay for? We plan to take a trip to Asia to visit some parts of China and Vietnam and was wondering if 3 weeks would be enough. It's hard to take time off from work these days but then again I don't want the trip to be so short since airfare is really high.

  • Anonymous March 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Love love this post. My favorite childhood memories were from the non stopping eating fest that is Chinese New Year 🙂

  • katattack2000 March 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Beautiful photos 🙂 I loved Guangzhou when I visited and all the eating 🙂

  • Anonymous March 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I'm sitting in the library, salivating at your pictures. Thanks for sharing! I'm eternally envious of your adventures!

  • Anita March 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing your travel Jean. I love how sharing your culture really shows who you are with a lot of warmth.
    Love those faces drinking herbal tea. Beautiful photos. With a 50mm F1.8 lens?

  • Ana March 26, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    After reading this post, I'm absolutely starving. And I just ate dinner.

    I would love to visit all of Asia one day!

  • Anonymous March 26, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    I would love to eat all those things 😀 I've never tired most of the things you're talking about

  • Anonymous March 26, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Just found your blog, and love it! And this post is amazing.. I'm from Singapore, but currently in Chicago, and those crab noodles are so tempting! And I'm also petite, so I've been going through your archives, and I can't believe I didn't find this site sooner!

  • Anonymous March 26, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    OMG, You are from Canton. Same as I am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • J March 26, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    that food looks amazing!!! love chinese new year!

  • CynthiaC March 26, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Really? Most I came across in Hong Kong sold egg tarts and of course, every single restaurant during dim sum has them!

  • Carol March 26, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    That was so inspiring! I have yet to travel to China and I'm hoping this summer might be it… Thanks for sharing!

  • PinkLeaf March 26, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Enjoyed your photos Jean. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kate March 26, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    What a mouthwatering post! Gong Xi Fa Cai! I am half-Chinese, half-Filipino living in the Philippines but have never been to China (except for Hong Kong – not counted? ;)). Hoping to visit China this year!

    Wow you're coming to the Philippines!! Are you headed to Manila or to the beaches like Cebu, Bohol, Boracay or Palawan? Hope you have a fab time and looking forward to your blog entry!

    It's currently summer in Manila with occasional rains (yeah, weather is pretty schizo here..) but it's generally warm so bring out your summer dresses and shorts!


  • Lien March 27, 2012 at 12:37 am

    I really enjoyed this post! It was like being on Food Gawker except there were some tad bits of fashion thrown into the mix… The best of both worlds, if you ask me! :p

    I especially liked the picture of all the dishes on the newspaper 'mat' on the dining table… My dad does the same thing when he makes dinner (Asian thing?) and my younger sister (who btw, is also about the same age as your younger brother!) always asks him not to do so because it's "so embarrassing." Kids… :p

  • Genie March 27, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Jean, I can't believe you went to Guanzhou, my parents are from there! I'm Cantonese-American and this post totally brought back bright and fun memories of Chinese New Year 🙂 I love all of your dim sum pics, though they made me super hungry.


  • newpetite March 27, 2012 at 1:59 am

    I love to read and learn about new culture! Thanks for sharing this! Indians also believe in the hot and cold thing and we normally drink fresh buttermilk to 'cool' our bodies down! And I love fresh sugarcane juice!!

  • Tes March 27, 2012 at 4:11 am

    This mouthwatering post makes me want to go back to Guangzhou! My family is from there too. The food is so good and fresh that eating Chinese food back in America can't satisfy my palette.

  • Kate March 27, 2012 at 4:21 am

    ooops! didn't notice your comment that you went to the Philippines last month already! looking forward to your blog entry!

  • Lily March 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

    1. I really love your blog!
    2. This blogpost makes me soooo hungry
    3. Being a Austrian-Cantonese I'm missing the home country of my mum and the delicious dishes there. The last time I spent my holiday in Guangzhou was 4 years ago! Too long…

  • CynthiaC March 27, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Come to Toronto! Chinese food here is a lot closer to Hong Kong/Guangzhou fare than any city I've been to in the US.

  • Cate L. March 27, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I will be in Canton in May. Does anyone have recommendations on shops or tailors to visit? I am pseudo petite at just under 5'4". I would love to have some pieces tailored! (Turnaround has to be in 4.5 days though..)

  • Carolyn March 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Hi Jean,

    I'm so jealous that you went to China for new year's this year! I studied abroad in Hong Kong last spring and I remember new year's there being sooo amazing! I miss all of the delicious foods and your pictures made me remember how much I miss being there (minus the non-heated homes!). I'm Cantonese-Chinese and from Boston too (yay!), not to mention that I'm 22, 4'11" and under 90 lbs. Your posts and tips have been extremely helpful for me to dress and look my age, and I'm glad there's someone else similar to me I can get advice from 🙂


  • Anonymous March 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    You lucky girl (Nick, a lucky boy) got to got to China! By far, one of my favorite posts. Love the photos — the food, the people, your family. You make a fantastic food and travel blogger too.

  • Christina March 27, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Hey Jean, I just started to follow your blog recently. This latest travel diary is so fun and vivid and I have to leave a comment telling u that I rather enjoyed it 🙂 it is nice that you trained Nick to be a good dumpling folder which i never did with my bf who is not Chinese but definitely loves to eat dumplings.

  • Anonymous March 27, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Hi!!! I'm pretty excited that you'll be coming to the Philippines… I am from Manila, and I love your style. You inspire me to dress up in the office. Btw, you have to visit Boracay or Coron when you get to Philippines 🙂

  • Anonymous March 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    awww, didn't know that you speak Mandarin :D, i thought you came from Southeast Asia countries :), hahha, really like your blog, and i'm Chinese too XD


  • Anonymous March 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    can you do a post on your career, and studying for your exam? I am a college student, and would LOVEEE to hear about your career, exam process. like how to get through it, tips, and such.

    : ) just an idea.. since your blog does give a lot of advice on professional dressing. but i understand if you want to keep it fashion related!

  • Audrey Wong March 27, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Hey Jean,

    My ancestry is from Guangzhou too, but I am of Hakka descent. However, my great grandparents moved to Malaysia so I can speak some Cantonese too.

    How did you manage to speak and read Mandarin if you moved here since you were 5? I hope my kids will be able to read and write Chinese, although I cannot do it myself. Lol


  • à la[w] mode March 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Hi Jean,

    I loved this post. I'm actually dying to go to China, and this post made me want to go even more. I've tried a few of these dishes at my neighbors' house (they are from Guangzhou as well) and I absolutely loved them.

    I love your blog, thanks for sharing!


  • Anonymous March 27, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    How do you understand heat up?

Comments are closed.