Our Blog Series on Chinese Porcelain will continue next week. This week we are re-posting an early entry from our now-defunct Wordpress blog.
Guangzhou (also known as Canton) is the least celebrated of China’s big three cities, and is often overlooked by visitors in favour of the more famous cities: Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. This isn’t surprising given that Guangzhou prefers to hide its treasures in the back streets and alleys, in the old neighbourhoods tucked in from the broad new boulevards typical of China’s megacities.
Guangzhou is a city that takes time to get to know and even longer to love, and while it may lack the impressive imperial monuments of Beijing or the futuristic glitz of Shanghai's Pudong, Guangzhou more than makes up for it with it’s republican era market streets, it’s riverside neon, it’s old Cantonese alleys around Liwan and Huangsha districts, it’s fig tree-lined streets and parks, and of course its rich food and tea culture. Fangcun Tea Market is perhaps the largest hidden treasure in Guangzhou, often overlooked in tours.
Guangzhou is one of the major centres of Chinese tea culture, and as the largest southern city, it hosts the largest tea market in China, Fangcun Tea Market. “Market” is not the best description, as it is in fact a large collection of separate markets connected by side streets and divided on either side by Fangcun Blvd. It feels more like a tea city than a tea market. A vast assortment of tea and tea ware can be had in this tea city, but it takes time to explore it. A visitor can spend a whole day and only scratch the surface of what is available.
The most straightforward way is to follow the directions in Guangzhou Travel Guide: Take the metro line 1 west to Fangcun station and take exit C. Turn Right when exiting and follow Fangcun Blvd. as you walk you will begin to see stores selling tea and teaware. Down some of the side streets you can find shops specializing in different teas or selling tea ware. After walking for around 10 to 15 minutes down Fangcun Blvd. you will cross a bridge, on the other side on either side are larger indoor markets surrounded by even more street markets selling tea and tea ware.