Whilst I do enjoy living in Shenzhen I do have a proclivity for visiting Chinese backwaters for a bit of street food, a nice hotel, and a blog. Dongguan can hardly be described as a backwater (having 8 million people), but when you are sandwiched in between Guangzhou and Shenzhen, you gonna have a bit of an inferiority complex.
Background to Dongguan
Dongguan used to be famous for being the biggest brothel in Guangdong, but nowadays its pretty much the place where they moved all the factories from Shenzhen and Guangzhou. More pollution, but plus point is that its a bat shit crazy place to live in comparison to Sheznhen, or the soulless Guangzhou.
What is there to do in Dongguan?
Wikitravel lists a museum about the opium war, and a mall. I can confirm it is a very nice mall.
Hotels of Dongguan!
This is why I like going to lower tier cities of China. I paid $60 to stay in the suite of Hotel Silverland, a 4 star type affair, with a swimming pool and a huge suite! Did I need two toilets and a living room? I did not.
Street food in Dongguan?
Breakfast buffets in Dongguan tend to be of the shit variety, but downtown there is a ton of great restaurants serving no end of great southern canton cuisine. I ended up eating in a lamb BBQ place where a big piece of sheep was put on the fire and you had tongs and a cutter to get said meat to your plate.
Street food is abundant, and as well as standard BBQ/Kou Rou type affairs, chinese version of chips/fries seem to be the order of the day.
If you’re a seafood lover crayfish seems to be the local specialty, as well as shrimp, and seafood is a good bet in general seeing as you are next to rivers and seas.
Drinking in Dongguan
It may not be Shenzhen, but there are enough foreigners in Dongguan to mean that there is a bit of a bar scene. The word on the street is that the Liberty Brewing Co is the place to be.
There’s also Jiuba Jie, the former bar street that used to also be the “red light district”. Fun fact at one stage up to 10% of the women of Dongguan were “on the game”. The red light district has largely gone, and so has the life from the formerly buzzing bar street.
Cheap hotels, good food in general, and street food in particular. The Street Food Guy recommends Dongguan!