I was in Guangzhou last weekend and had the opportunity to take taxi with a relative who is a Guangzhou native. He told me a secret about Guangzhou: “We Guangzhou people only take yellow taxi. They are Guangzhou people’s taxi.” According to him, the yellow taxi company recruits only locals as taxi drivers, not those unable to speak Cantonese from other provinces. True to his words, we went on a yellow taxi whose driver started to reminisce about the past in Cantonese upon hearing that we were heading to Pan Xi Restaurant (畔溪酒家),a restaurant founded in 1947 and known for its garden setting.
The taxi driver said: “The old tea houses had a distinct flavor, which is long gone. Remember these old restaurants used to have netted windows? The owners would put up the nets over the windows so that the customers would not fly the plates out through the windows. For the bills were decided by the number of plates left on the tables. Flying plates was commonplace then.
“In days of yore, the steamed beef cubes were small as they were never re-heated. Nowadays, the steamed beef cubes are big, as they are heated again and again. The good taste is gone.”
I understand from the conversation why the Guangzhou people trust yellow taxi.
There are seven taxi colors in Guangzhou, representing different taxi operators. The taxi fare is the same despite the myriad of colors.