Sitting on the bank of Liwan Lake in the heart of old Guangzhou, witnessing changes since 1947, Pan Xi Restaurant is a huge, garden-style establishment which has won various awards, including (at least) one from the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China.
I got to know about Pan Xi restaurant from the Indonesian cooking show called Santapan Nusantara (a brief background information can be found in the first paragraph of one of my previous reviews here) where Ms. Sriyana was seen to be indulging in seemingly mouth-watering food in the restaurant. I didn't order any of the dishes she tried (although I actually wanted to try at least one of them, but unfortunately they ran out of stock), and so I hope that this review can be a good complement to that particular episode which can be found here (sorry, no English subtitle available). Oh, I believe one dish can feed three (or even four) people because of the huge portion!
Barbecued Crispy Pork Belly RMB 45.00 (~S$9.00)
The quote "don't judge the book by its cover" would fit here. Although the skin didn't look crackled, it was actually pretty crispy. Furthermore, the pork belly was only lightly salted, and it was a delight to dip it into the slightly sweet dark sauce to produce a balanced flavour that didn't entirely cover the taste of the meat. Oh, the ratio between the meat and the fatty layer was approximately 1:1 with slightly more meat. Good, right? :)
Pan Xi's Pan-Fried Fillet of Pork RMB 58.00 (~S$11.60)
Since the dish bears the name of the restaurant, it should be something special, no? Anyway, the pork fillet was initially coated with flour and deep-fried before being cooked with shallots, pineapple cubes and sauce with dominating sour sensation. The meat was slightly chewy, but not tough at all.
Deep-Fried Fresh Fish with Sweet and Sour Taste RMB 68.00 (~S$13.60)
Being one of the most visually tempting dishes I'd ever seen, the sweet and sour fish didn't disappoint. The fish was deep-fried till crunchy without being too dry. The sauce was thick and given generously, although I felt that it was a little bit too sweet after eating halfway. Nevertheless, it tasted great. The pine nuts successfully gave that extra crunch to the dish.
Braised Assorted Vegetables Combination RMB 68.00 (~S$13.60)
The star of the day happened to be the vegetables! With so many different types of vegetables in one dish prepared with oyster and sesame sauce as but two of the principal ingredients, I'm sure you won't get bored. I especially enjoyed the winter melon cuts and the mushroom slices which were oh-so-juicy.
I believe the ambience you'll experience greatly depends on where you're seated in the huge restaurant. Since the place was crowded the other day (well, I believe it's crowded everyday), there were only seats inside one of the buildings, away from the natural landscape; pretty comfortable (especially since I was given a huge table even though there were only two of us; well, four, including Pikachu and Melon who took a seat each! :D), but a bit noisy with people around. While the staff were friendly, service was kinda slow. I had to wait for quite some time to get my change. Despite that, I sincerely wish I can visit Pan Xi Restaurant again in the near future. Pika's advice: Pan Xi Restaurant is also famous for its animal-shaped dim sum! Do come early in the morning before they run out of stock!
Pan Xi Restaurant
151 Longjin Xi Road
Liwan Lake Park
(Daily: 7.00am - 9.30pm)
*Prices quoted are nett prices. 10% service charge is only applicable to VIP rooms.
Have a nice meal,