Yangshuo Street Food in 2024

Yangshuo Street Food

Having previously spent 5 years running a bar here and living off of the stuff I was curious to see what the contemporary Yansghuo street food scene was like. Well I am happy to say that while it is not as robust, nor cheap as it once was, it is still pretty damned good

And I was mighty happy to have found this to be the case having been somewhat non-plussed by both the Guilin Street Food and Xingping Street Food scenes.

In fact it was quite amazing to see just how little had changed overall in Yangshuo, save for more places closed, less foreigners and the aforementioned price hike. This was in stark contrast to Xingping which has seemingly exploded to such a degree that is now a clone of Yangshuo.

Dining in Yangshuo

While walking around with some Yangshuo virgins I was asked if there was anywhere around the tourist center where we could eat. Sadly I embarrassingly had to say no to this. This obviously came as somewhat of a surprise as the town is literally saturated with “restaurants” and even to an extent street food.

The problems is that most of the restaurants in Yangshuo are quite simply sit clones of each other. All have the same menus and overcharge for really poor local dishes like beer fish. And as for fried noodles? Do not get me started on fried noodles.

Despite this I still try to test things about by stopping at Riverside Restaurant, which had a superb romantic ambience. After sitting there for 20 minutes without anyone serving me I retreated.

And the foreign restaurants? Well sadly the greats have all gone the way of the dodo and most of the expats, they have been driven out of town. The one lone survivor is Ganga, who I will give their own article.

Thankfully though there is still the street food on hospital road.

Street Food Yangshuo

Previously street food surrounded the tourist part of Yangshuo, as well as the general town where the normal folk lived. It was though most prevalent on Hospital Road, a place I lived in not one,. But three apartments.

Here they essentially had every measure of Chinese street food that there was, semi-street restaurants., street BBQ, single stall hawkers and best of all true street bbq (Kou Rou) with plastic chairs an lots of cheap beers.

These hav for the most part survived, with the exception of true street BBQ with all the best hawkers having seemingly been driven away. Sadly this was in line with what I had seen in Dandong, Yanji and Tumen.

It was though still the best I have yet to find within the country, at least before I get myself to Xian.

Street Food carts in Yangshuo

Near to the start of Hospital road there are a number of fruit stalls selling great durian, jackfruit and w whole heap of other stuff, before you hit the street food carts.

These are primarily one man bands without any chairs that sell takeaway stuff. This was mostly mean on a stick and sausages, but there were breads and the like too. I got sausages and meat balls here that were around 80 cents $1.50 a piece and of greta quality.

Yet while they were good, it was not exactly the Yangshuo street food that I had remembered.

Yangshuo street food restaurants

At the middle of hospital road there are for the most part anyways the more touristy street food style restaurants. These are predominately of the Yangshuo Cuisine ilk, but also featured classic Chinese/Guangxi BBQ joints where you put your meat in a container and let them cook it for you.

What makes them different from the true street scene is that they also serve crap like beer fish and are for the most part aimed at the tourist market.

Aside from BBQ there were also a number of small mum and pop restaurants of the style I used to frequent serving boiled or friend small and big dumplings. During my time living in China I probably ate too much for it to now excite me, but it was welcome street food Yangshuo snack.

Yangshuo street bbq on hospital road

Back in the day Hospital Road was THE place for classic Chinese BBQ, with one particular area being renowned as the best BBQ in town, This meant that it was fill of expats and locals alike (less so much tourists) who would come to eat and drink. I personally came here every night almost that I lived here.

Yet while I quite literally walked the length and breadth of the street trying to find the hallowed land it was no longer there. Yes there were the small carts selling meat, but out door plastic chairs and rods crowds drinking beer was largely no more. I did though find one place that almost fit the bill although it was devoid of people and pretty expensive.

Street Food Yangshuo town

Though I have stated that the food in the tourist part of Yangshuo is shit, the street food around Gus Hua Road and Xi Jie (West Street) is actually not too bad. This is particularly true around the area where the old DMZ Bar used to be.

Here I had some almost artisan like squid where the guy slow cooked and added a whole heap of spices for $1.20 a pop. What I will never understand though is the multitude of women selling the ropey tofu squares.

Actually that is a lie as I do get it, basically one persons once had the idea and made money because they were cheap to make. Then EVERYONE copied the idea until it was saturated. This is not only the Chinese way, but perhaps the very epitome of Socialist With Chinese Characteristics.

You can read about Socialist Countries here.

Street Food Yangshuo is no longer cheap

Sadly not just street food Yangshuo, but most everything in China is now bloody expensive. I kind of did not notice this in Beijing, as it was always expensive, but in other locales such as Yangshuo I really have.

For context I could go eat BBQ and drink a lot of beer back in the day and it was hard to spend $5. On this trip just a few sticks between two cost $11. This was something confirmed by other locals I talked to.

Yes certain things like rent are still cheap, but gone are the days when China was simply cheap right across the board. Yet despite all this at least Yangshuo street food is still a thing.