Chinese New Year in Guangzhou

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On Wednesday I had a chance to hang out with some migrant workers who were stuck in Guangzhou because of the severe winter storms. Here’s the piece I wrote about it, and below is a short clip I shot of Li Xiao, Guangdong general manager for Hengda Real Estate, offering a toast and holiday bonuses to employees who weren’t able to go home.

Last week I mentioned how the international neighborhood near the Guangzhou train station saved me after the freezing rain ruined my shoes and I didn’t have a backup pair. This week, the hood came to my rescue again. I was starving after I filed my piece at about midnight on Wednesday. It was, of course, Chinese New Year’s Eve, which in terms of holiday importance is roughly the same as Christmas Eve (with the pyrotechnics of July 4 thrown in.) Nothing was open. So, if one goes to a Chinese restaurant in the U.S. to get something to eat on Christmas Eve, where does one go on Chinese New Year in China? A Turkish restaurant, of course.

Aside from staying open until after 1 a.m., the Bosphorus served delicious roast lamb and fresh bread. It’s my new favorite restaurant in China. If you find yourself in Guangzhou on Chinese New Year, or any other time of the year, check it out. It’s at 304 Huanshizhonglu (环市中路), 86-020-8356-3578.

I should also caution that on my way to the restaurant and back I encountered at least five friendly young men offering to sell me hash and one young woman apparently offering herself. (For the record, I politely declined their offers.) As vice goes, that surpasses even my experiences walking through San Francisco’s Tenderloin.