A Taste of Yangshuo Beer Fish in Guangxi, China

Amidst the lush landscapes and the serene Li River of Yangshuo, lies a culinary secret that has tantalised taste buds and captured the hearts of food enthusiasts around the globe. Yangshuo Beer Fish, a dish as intriguing as its name suggests, marries the rich flavours of local fish with the crispness of beer, creating an unforgettable dining experience.

Join us on this flavourful journey as we unbox the history, explore an original recipe, dish out fun facts, and reveal the top spots to indulge in this hallmark of Yangshuo cuisine. Explore the delicious world of Yangshuo Beer Fish, a culinary delight with deep roots in Chinese cuisine.

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Yangshuo Beer Fish
A Taste of Yangshuo Beer Fish in Guangxi, China

A Taste of Yangshuo Beer Fish in Guangxi, China

History of Yangshuo Beer Fish

The story of Yangshuo Beer Fish is as fascinating as the dish is delicious. Originating from the beautiful Yangshuo County in Guangxi Province, this dish has transformed from a local specialty to a must-try delicacy for travellers worldwide. It epitomises the innovation of the local chefs who decided to incorporate beer—a not-so-traditional cooking ingredient—to elevate the flavours of the carps.

Venture into the heart of Guangxi, and you'll find yourself enchanted by the winding Li River, a silver serpent through lush karst mountains, where an extraordinary culinary gem awaits—the Li River fish. This isn't merely a dish; it's an experience, a loving homage to the rich bounty of the river.

Plucked fresh from the clear waters, the fish is known for its delicate texture and sweet, clean taste, a testament to the unspoiled beauty of its habitat. The locals prepare it with a precision that speaks volumes of their reverence for nature's gifts, often steamed to perfection to let the subtle flavours shine, or paired with vibrant, local ingredients that enhance its natural goodness.

Yangshuo Beer Fish
This unique dish originated from the Yangshuo County in Guangxi Province
Yangshuo Beer Fish china
The Li River in southern China, the home to freely roaming carp

Original Yangshuo Beer Fish Recipe

One does not travel to Yangshuo without giving its Beer Fish a try. Understanding the essence of Yangshuo Beer Fish requires a look into its original recipe. The dish is primarily made using fresh fish, marinated and then fried to perfection. The addition of beer during the cooking process gives the fish its unique, slightly tangy flavour, while traditional Chinese ingredients such as ginger, garlic, green and red peppers add a spicy kick that dances on the palate.

As suggested by its name, the two main ingredients in this dish are beer and fish. Grown carps caught from the Li River will only be selected, gutted and cleaned upon order to ensure utmost freshness.

The preparation of the dish is tedious but is surely worth the effort. Fish is first fried in camellia oil to achieve a slightly crusty texture on the outside. It is then braised in a superior beer brewed locally in the province of Guangxi, before being served with a generous portion of colourful jardinière, including diced tomatoes, pepper, coriander, spring onions, and so on.


  1. Fresh carps
  2. Chinese Beer
  3. Ginger
  4. Garlic
  5. Green and Red Peppers
  6. Soy Sauce
  7. Sugar
  8. Green Onions
  9. Salt and Pepper

Interesting Facts

A dish steeped in tradition, Yangshuo Beer Fish owes its unique flavour to the freshest catch from the Li River, paired ingeniously with the effervescent zing of local beer. It's not merely the taste that captivates one's senses, but the story it tells of the inventive chefs of Yangshuo, whose culinary creativity has propelled this dish into the limelight.

Imagine this: the dish before you is served complete with its scales! Now, don't recoil just yet. This fish, braised to utter perfection by your Chinese chef, maintains its scales for a reason. The answer is simple and awfully intriguing - these scales, once a protective armour, have now transformed into layers of soft, tender delicacies, thanks to that slow, meticulous braising process. Ironically, eating these scales, which are also this dish's unique feature, is frowned upon. Rather, it's considered quite the gastronomic treasure, a delightful aspect many wouldn't dare miss out on.

Then, there's the star of the dish itself - the carp. Now, these aren't just any random breed of fish we're talking about, but one that must tip the scales at more than a kilogram. And that's not all - these carps hail exclusively from the Li River. It's almost like the locals have a slightly philosophical, almost fantastical belief that for a carp to taste its absolute best, it must have swam the tranquil waters of the Li River. Given the serene essence of that river, flanked by lush green hills and lofty karst formations, it's hard to argue with that notion. The fish from this river are thought to be in a league of their own - a delightful offspring of an easy, blissful existence in crystal-clear waters.

Yangshuo Beer Fish or 啤酒鱼 can be found in southern China.

Top 5 Restaurants to Try Yangshuo Beer Fish

  1. Liyang ShanShui Restaurant - A place where traditional meets contemporary, offering stunning river views alongside your meal.
  2. Bamboo Leaf - Known for their organic ingredients and authentic flavours.
  3. Cloud 9 Cooking School and Restaurant - Dive deeper into the cuisine by learning to make Beer Fish before indulging in your creation.
  4. River Side Beer Fish - A favourite among locals for its authenticity and the scenic riverbank dining experience.
  5. Xianggong Mountain Eatery - Offers a panoramic dining experience, pairing the iconic dish with breathtaking views of the Li River and karst mountains.

How to Enjoy the Dish

As you go on the quest for the ultimate Yangshuo Beer Fish experience, there's a subtle art to truly savouring this culinary masterpiece. The secret? Complementing it with a chilled, local Chinese beer, which promises to elevate the dish's already vibrant flavour to new heights of delight.

And don't shy away from wandering; to dine on this delicacy across different eateries is to treat your palate to a delightful array of nuances - each kitchen adds its own whisper of herbs and spices, crafting slight, yet unique interpretations of the region's beloved specialty. Embrace the adventure, indulge in the variety, and let your taste buds revel in the culinary landscape that is as diverse as it is delectable.

There you are, seated in a quaint, bustling eatery that seems to be the beating heart of Yangshuo's culinary scene, where the clinking of chopsticks accompanies the melodic conversations of diners in on the secret - that this place serves the most delectable Beer Fish.

It's a dish that defies simply being eaten; it's to be experienced. It's intertwined with the spirit of Guangxi, each flavour a whisper of the region's lush landscapes and the calm Li River that weaves through it. Fancy the fact: the fish you’re enjoying has luxuriated in waters as pure and as sought-after as the finest of wines, giving you a taste that goes beyond mere freshness - it’s like biting into the essence of the river itself.

Yangshuo Beer Fish is more than just a meal; it's an experience that connects diners with the heart and soul of Yangshuo's rich culture and culinary traditions. Whether you're a seasoned foodie or a curious traveller, this dish promises a taste of China you won't soon forget.

Don't forget to document your travel and dining experiences on Instagram. Tag @rollinggrace or #RollingGrace. Enjoy every moment!


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