Haizhu Square: Guangzhou’s Best Kept Secret

You never know what you might find on a stroll through Haizhu Square. I’ve been there five times already, in my three months of being in China, and though each time I wander down the same busy street, my view is always changing.

Haizhu is an old district in Guangzhou city where Chinese life is rife with an oldtown market feel. It’s the place where one can go to find low prices on imported goods such as pasta and sauce, balsamic vinegarette and cheese. It’s also home to a plethora of dried goods stores. Anything you might think of drying and eating can be found here.

Starfish and mushrooms? Check.

Shrimp? Yep.

Snakes? You got it.

Even whale shark fins can easily be bought in bulk.

What would you do with one of those?

Across the street from the fantastic array of dried goods is an even more wonderful selection of two of the worlds finest creations: chocolate and wine. Unfortunately, most of them only sell wholesale quantities…or maybe that’s not so unfortunate.

Haizhu is also home to my favorite shop in all of Guangzhou – the only coffee store I’ve found with a selection of whole beans from all over the world and a grinder on site. But the deliciousness doesn’t end there. The shop carries nearly every flavor of Torani syrup and other creamers, plus various kinds of coffee makers (even an Italian one!). In a country where tea is relished and few people drink coffee, it’s nearly impossible to find any of the above in abundance, and at a low cost. I thought I found heaven when I first stumbled upon this little jewel of Haizhu.

Alas, I don’t think it’s heaven, but it’s close.

Wait, maybe heaven is in Haizhu’s Catholic church somewhere?

Mixing peanuts in the street.

Haizhu Square: Guangzhou’s Best Kept Secret
Written by:Jessica Hill


  1. Kris Sonsin says:

    Ha, these pics look familiar ๐Ÿ™‚

    I agree, I love to wander in that part of town.

    But I think it’s a shark fin, not a whale fin. I dont’ think whals have dorsal fins that big, and shark fin is a delicacy here.

    On Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 1:43 PM, MissAdventure

  2. feyoung1906 says:

    Hi Jessica, I am glad to read your articles and to see that you have started to enjoy your new life in China at least a little bit.

    I had very good experiences with Chinese people and a few bad ones too, but in general I love and respect Chinese people and their hospitality and their willingness to help foreigners and complete strangers when they feel they need help.

    I will elaborate on this in the near future and tell a few of the wonderful experiences I had during my two years stay in China back in 2009 – 2010.


  3. Tori Nelson says:

    Lovely pics. I must say, my one beef with American supermarkets is that I can’t buy shark fin in bulk ๐Ÿ™‚ What am I supposed to serve for Christmas?!?!

    • jessicajhill says:

      Seriously. That would make it all soo much easier! After my reader, Ashley, mentioned shark fin soup is a delicacy at weddings, I’m dying to try it.

      I’m glad you found me. I love your blog!

  4. Jon Strandeum says:

    Hi, what’s the name of the coffee shop? I’d like to try to visit while here for a couple days

    • jessicajhill says:

      Hi Jon, It’s not actually a coffee shop – it’s a store where you can buy whole bean coffee – but if you’re interested, it’s on the same side of the street as the Catholic church, and only about a block past it (assuming you’re walking from the metro stop). Enjoy your stay!

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