On the 7th of March 2013, Muslim2china had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Mr. Bao Yanzhong, chairman of Guangzhou’s Islamic Association. Mr. Bao also happens to be the consultant for our Muslim2China website. The interview took place at one of Guangzhou’s most famous Muslim restaurants, Huimin Fandian. Speaking of the concerns of Muslim tourists visiting China, Mr. Bao expresses his views on these matters and shares with us some of his experiences and thoughts.
Guangzhou Islamic Association Chairman Mr. Bao Yanzhong & Muslim2china
Copywriter Donna Chan.
Donna: “One of the main concerns for first time Muslim travelers to China is finding Halal certified restaurants. Would you say this problem still exists?”
Mr Bao: “Halal food is most definitely not a problem for Muslim tourists visiting China, for example here in Guangzhou there are over 1,300 Halal restaurants.”
Donna: “So there is a wide variety for Muslim visitors to choose from?”
Mr Bao: “Guangzhou has a large population of Muslims and there is a big variety of Halal cuisine to choose from. Guangzhou is the place to taste Halal food from all cultures, here you can find Halal foods from Southeast Asia, Middle East, Turkey and even Canton inspired Muslim dishes that can be found in the well known Huimin Fandian that has been established since 1956.”
Donna: Apart from food concerns other major factors of consideration for Muslim tourists is finding an appropriate place and suitable time to pray?
Mr Bao: “With the long history of Islam in China, finding mosques is not too difficult and there are places available to pray. Here in Guangzhou each Friday when Juma’ah is held, there is an estimated 12,000 people that will attend the mosques for prayers. With four mosques already in Guangzhou and with the planning of the building of a new mosque in the process to accommodate the growing number of Muslim residents and tourists, visitors should be assured that they will find a place to pray.”
Donna: For first time Muslim visitors to China where you recommend visiting?
Mr Bao: “Guangzhou has the earliest record of Muslim settlers and the Huaisheng Mosque is said to be one of the earliest mosques built in China and is also where Muslim Sage Tomb is and both these places I absolutely recommend visiting. Here you can see the historical Arab and Chinese infused architecture, the minarets are also of Arab architecture unlike other Persian inspired minarets.”
For all Muslim tourists who plan on visiting Guangzhou you can enjoy the food without worry and experience the local culture with scheduled prayers times and also remember to make Huaisheng Mosque one of the most important stops of your tour.