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Dining in Xiamen

Updated: 03 May 2007
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Prior to Xiamen's designation as one of China's first "Special Economic Zones" in 1980, its restaurant scene was bogged in humdrum mediocrity. Dining options were limited to Cantonese, Cantonese, Cantonese, Sichuan and Cantonese. Diners had become so bored that rumors persist even today that some even began to gnaw on their chopsticks just for the sake of variety. But as Xiamen's tourism scene began to boom so did its culinary diversity. Soon some of the major hotel restaurants were flying in master chefs from Hong Kong, Japan, and even Europe, elevating Xiamen into a wining-and-dining regional force. Today Japanese, Korean, Italian, American and Muslim restaurants coexist with Xiamen's abundant Chinese offerings, placing the entire city into a state of constant salivating splendor.

 

The best, and safest, restaurants can usually be found in the hotels. Though more expensive they rarely disappoint, combining superb food with world-class service and gorgeous décor. One of the best is Lujiang Hotel's Rooftop Restaurant. Located along downtown's waterfront, it furnishes marvellous views of the harbor area, while serving some of Xiamen's best Fujian and Cantonese seafood dishes. As an added bonus, it is one of the few restaurants to offer the option of English menus.

 

Xiamen cuisine is the main representative of Fujian cuisine which is famous throughout China. Besides Xiamen dishes, food of other parts of the country also can be found here, making Xiamen a good destination for gastronomes. Being fresh, light, crispy and slightly spicy in taste, Xiamen cuisine is characterized by the following dishes:

 

Seafood in Xiamen is famous for its extreme freshness. The location of Xiamen on the southeast coast of China provides it with abundant sea products. Dating from the Qing Dynasty, the seafood locally is always a traditional delicacy make from fresh local fish, prawns, crabs and more, with the flavor depending on the various seasonings.

 

Herbal Meal has a long history in China and is celebrated at the Lujiang Restaurant in Xiamen. Here, the herbal meal is delicately made according to the seasons and the various effects of the herbs. It is delicious in flavor and very nourishing.

 

Vegetable Dishes in the Nanputuo Temple are made of vegetable oil, flour, beans, vegetables and fruits. In accordance with the disciplines of the traditional Buddhist diet, the vegetable dishes made here mainly depict the Buddhist ideas and topics, attracting many tourists from both home and abroad.

 

Snacks in Xiamen should not be missed during your trip as they are great in variety and reasonably priced. Xiamen snacks have distinct flavors and some of them are listed below:

 

Tu Sun Dong is made from a sea product called ‘Xing Chong’ and is eaten with the seasonings including sauce, vinegar, chili, catsup, mustard and garlic. It is now becoming one of the most important cold dishes in any banquets.

 

Peanut Soup is simply made from peanuts but with very complicated production process. It has a sugary flavor and is best eaten with some dim sum dishes such as deep-fried twisted dough sticks, steamed stuffed buns and similar. Many believe the best Peanut Soup is served at Huangzehe Restaurant in Zhongshang Road, Xiamen.

 

Spring Roll is a fried rolled pancake filled with slices of various vegetables, meats and seafood. The local people of Xiamen like to have Spring Rolls as traditional snacks during festivals.

There are plenty of snacks that are not only well-known but also truly delicious including the Xiamen Pie, Oyster Pancake, Rice Dumplings and Shacha Noodles.

 

 

Recommended Restaurants

A) Chinese Restaurants


1. Lujiang Restaurant
Address: 6F, No.54, Lujiang Street
Specialties: a good view of the sea; delicious and healthy herbal meals

 

2. Jiali Seafood Restaurant (South Hubin Road Branch)
Address: 3-4F, Baofu Building, No.819, South Hubin Road
Specialties: High-quality environment with good service; genuine seafood

 

3. Haigang (Harbor) Restaurant
Address: 2-3F, Tiandi Food City, No.98, South Jiangtou Road, Huli District

 

4. Shuyou Seafood Restaurant
Address: 1-4F, Podium Building of Mansion of Bank of China, North Hubin Road, Siming District
Specialties: an old restaurant in Xiamen famous for seafood

 

5. Huang Zehe Peanut Soup Restaurant (Zhongshan Road Branch)
Address: No.22, Zhongshan Road, Siming District
Specialties: Peanut Soup, Oyster Pancake, Shacha Noodles and other Xiamen snacks

 

B) Foreign Restaurants


1. The House Restaurant
Address: No.10-1, Baihe Road, Siming District
Specialties: Western food

 

2. Havana Restaurant
Address: No.88 Villa, Lianhua Lingxiang Lane, Siming District
Specialties: Western food

 

3. Pizza Hut
Address: 24F, Haibin Building, No.52, Lujiang Street
Specialties: authentic pizza, salad, roast chicken, drinks and sweets

 

4. Alilang Restaurant (South Lianhua Road Branch)
Address: 1F, Dihao Mansion, No.820, Xiahe Road, Siming District
Specialties: cool noodle, seafood pancake, seafood hot pot and other South Korean food

 

5. Songhe Japanese Restaurant
Address: 1F, Fanrong Plaza, No.267-24, West Hexiang Road, Siming District
Specialties: Japanese cuisine

 

6. Vegetarian Restaurants
Leading with vegetable dishes of the Nanputuo Temple, Xiamen has got many good vegetarian restaurants, and the following come highly recommended:

 

7. Tianhe Vegetarian House
Address: No.10-2, Dingwozai, Yanwu Garden, Siming District
Specialties: vegetarian sea-food soup with sour vegetable, crisp vegetarian fish and fish-flavored eggplant

 

8. Dafang Vegetarian Restaurant
Address: 2F, No.412-9, South Siming Road

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