There’s a pretty constant rule in Shenzhen when it comes to food: it’s good, and it’s cheap. Cantonese cooking is rightly famous, but the local eateries don’t restrict themselves to one style. In Shenzhen you’ll find food from all over China – just a hop over the border. Hygiene standards aren’t quite at Hong Kong levels, but if your stomach’s even slightly hardy then you’ll be fine. Dongbei Dumpling House 66 Yan Nan Lu, Futian, 0755-8334-9021. Dumplings are standard fare in China, but it’s sometimes hard to find them done well and cheaply. A real hole-in-the-wall that you have to know about to know about, Dongbei does great if basic fare and offers a plethora of dumplings, all with different stuffings. It’s not about what’s new or different, but about tasty traditional food. Prices are USD$1 for 15 and USD$1.50 for 20, and the dumplings taste amazing with a soy sauce and sweet vinegar dip. Go at the right time, and you might even catch a classic mo lei tau movie playing on the slightly-too-loud TV overhead. Best subtitle ever: “[Shouting] What have you done to my bottom half?” The Food Streets The “food streets” in Shenzhen play host to a massively high concentration of restaurants. Try Gangxia Lu in Futian district, with over 100 eateries and snack joints crammed into the one-kilometer stretch; the range of food is some of the most diverse in the city. A warning, however: officials recently decided to close the street and turn it into Shenzhen’s largest shopping mall. Go now before it’s too late. There’s also Nanyuan Lu, famous for its Xinjiang and Muslim fare. Try the Xinyue Muslim Restaurant (149 Nanyuan Lu, 0755-8365-4709), which specializes in every form of mutton under the sun. The street is also known for its Korean barbecue, so if you’ve had enough of local food, fill up on kimchi instead. Lastly, Fenghuang Lu is your road if you like fish or anything that lives underwater. The Kingway Beer Garden 1 Buxin Dongchang Lu, Luohu, 0755-2551-6328 Local beer Kingway is brewed in Shenzhen, and unusually for a Chinese beer, a) there’s no formaldehyde in it and b) it’s drinkable. And at this open-air beer garden behind the brewery itself, the beer is USD$2.50 per pitcher so you can drink a lot of it very cheaply. It’s a beer garden-cum-hawker center, with some decent basic food available to those who want it – but the beer definitely takes pride of place in between the satay sticks and the dice games. If you stay late enough, it’s a sure bet that your drunker-than-you neighbors will come over and start toasting you for any reason at all. Getting there is a taxi ride and a bit of luck, as it’s actually in a large open space surrounded by buildings, but go down the alley to get there and you’ll see a motley collection of chefs shucking the scallops you’re about to eat. Street Snacks Anywhere you go in the world, it’s the street food that’s always great. As you walk around the streets, buy some crisp, flaky spring onion bread made outside a local store, sprinkled with sesame seeds and sold straight off the pan. Low blood sugar after a walk? Get the fried pastry stuffed with black sesame paste. Really good street food in concentration is to be found on Dongmai Beilu in the Eastern district, known as “Walking Street.” It’s full of simple, excellent food – rice balls and sunflower seeds, xiao long bao and barbequed meats. Take a wander down Walking Street, and you’ll be full before you get halfway. It might just be that when you’re drunk, everything tastes good, but some of the best street food is to be found upon stumbling out of the noisy clubs late at night. As your eardrums return to normal, you’ll hear the sizzling of the hawker grills just outside the clubs – just choose what looks good skewered on a stick and they’ll cook it for you right there. There’s everything from your standard chicken and beef to some great bits of offal or chili peppers for those who haven’t put enough conflicting elements into their systems yet. It’s just what you need for the taxi to the next club, or (if you’re sensible) back to the hotel. Racist Dining The Grey Wolf restaurant is easy to find: it looks like the world’s biggest mud hut. The interior shares the whole muddy-earthy vibe, but the look is more eclectic than basic, with mismatched crockery and folksy design. It’s northwestern Chinese cuisine from the Gansu province - spicy and specializing in lamb. The food is excellent and unusual for the south of China, so it’s definitely worth checking out. Of course, this isn’t the real reason Grey Wolf is famous. Its claim to fame is the notoriously racist door sign: “Japanese people not allowed to enter." The walls are bedecked with articles and photos about the Japanese invasion of China; the bar owner explains that his grudge is a result of the Japanese not having apologized for crimes committed during the invasion. It’s certainly a bone of contention, but it’s definitely brought the Grey Wolf some business.