The Chinese have laid claim to many great inventions over time, such as gun powder and paper as well as more contentious claims such as football and ice-cream. However, one thing you are unlikely to ever hear a Chinese person lay claim to is coffee.
In spite of this, coffee drinking is one of Xiamen's crucial symbols of modernity and, while undeniably foreign, it has an enormous impact on the modern life of the locals.
Here is a guide to some of the best of the coffee establishments on Xidi Coffee Street (西堤咖啡一条街) in Xiamen, a popular spot for the trendy Chinese, expatriates and foreigners.
Xidi Coffee Street, just along the bank of Yundang Lake near the Marco Polo Hotel, has dozens of Western style cafes. The street has an incredibly rich cafe scene with little sanctuaries for latte-thirsty individuals, local and foreign alike, to sip away, chat and forget, at least momentarily, some of the stresses of Xiamen urban living.
The House Ⅱ老别墅西餐厅
The restaurant is owned by an Israeli from the US. It's an ideal haven for teatime and chatting. Beautiful, light and spacious terrace where summer breeze brings pleasant scent of YundangLake is a soothing relaxation from stress.
Tiramisu, cheesecake, pizza
Add: NO.3-9 Yundang Road
Tel: 0592-5033377 (English)
Buon Appetito & Geo Geo café 意欢乐
This is a café and Italian restaurant. The atmosphere here is bright, relaxed and free of distractions. They have their own coffee brand. The Italian chef presents you both traditional and innovative Italian cuisines They usually hold special events on western festivals.
Macaroni, Beef roll, Fried Goose Liver & Arugula Salad, White Wine Shrimp & Scallop Pasta
Add: #1, No.3, Yundang Road
Tel: 0592-5323111 5107333
The Coffee Club 卡伦比咖啡
Their idea is to create more than just a place where people could meet for coffee. It is to provide a relaxed meeting place that is casual yet sophisticated, stylish yet affordable.
Apart from delicious Italian cuisine, Venice Café serves authentic Italian coffee, and also its famous hand-crafted Italian ice cream.
Called gelato in Italian, there are various ice-cream with a big selection of flavours and textures, and they are all handcrafted.
It is an ideal place to rest for its perfect location and excellent landscape. The design style makes the café elegant, luxury and stylish. Coupled with authentic coffee, pleasant scented tea and delicious western food, Venice Café is your second home.
Cappuccino Coffee, yogurt, ice cream
Add: No.111, Xidi Villa, Yundang Road
On the waterfront, the café is about 10 minutes walking distance from the Marco Polo and The Pan Pacific hotels. All windows design gives customers a comfortable and relaxing dining or "enjoy a Margarita" atmosphere.
Coyote serves up Xiamen's finest Tex-Mex foods with exciting dishes and unique ambiance. At Coyote, every dish is created using only the freshest, finest ingredients. They serve only the choicest meats and seafood, freshest rice and beans, and tortillas that are baked fresh daily.
The full complement of southern Italian is here. There are plenty of different types of pasta to enjoy; like pasta, ravioli, and many other wonderful choices. Pasta is easy - good pasta is not and the resident chef knows how to tease out the authentic taste of Italy, the taste that gives this restaurant the edge.
Tutto Bene is good, unpretentious restaurant which serves great authentic Italian food. Fresh-cut flowers and candles on every table make this a romantic place to bring your partner in the evening.
Creamy Mushroom Soup, Hawaii Pizza, Tiramisu
Across from the Marco Polo Xiamen hotel, Mamma Mia serves authentic Italian specialties like risotto, gnocchi, and several different types of pasta. There's also a beautiful bar on the third floor where you can sink into plush chairs.
Halo Halo means mix-mix in tagalog. It is a popular Filipino dessert that is a mixture of shaved ice and milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans and fruits, and served cold in a tall glass or bowl. The HALOHALO café serves this famous dessert with eight kinds of ingredients. It is just located at the corner of Xidi Villa. Customers can enjoy the spacious lake view as well as tasty Philippine dishes on the terrace.
Halo-halo, Herb tea, Cocktail, Philippine snacks
Add: No.106, Yundang Road
Tel: 0592-5962528 5066709
Café Perfect 咖凡咖啡
This is a romantic French style café where you can enjoy soft music, a beautiful lake view and of course delicious French food. All of their cuisines are cooked with natural materials as the café owner refuses to use any artificial additives. In addition, there is a special wine bar for wine lovers.
French style Asparagus Soup, Sweet Potato Soup, Mango Fruit Mix
Add: No.107, Xidi Villa (西堤别墅), Yundang Road
Samadhi café 三摩地人文空间
As an interesting vegetarian restaurant and café, Samadhi provides a sophisticated, relaxed environment and tranquil setting in which to enjoy a wide range of creative vegetarian meals and snacks. There are various types of tea to choose from, and there is something for the most eclectic tastes. The seating area extends over three floors with some private spaces available for small groups. On the top floor there are fabulous uninterrupted views over the lake. The inside décor is tasteful and unfussy. There is a large Buddha that adorns the main entrance and greets guests.
They serve various South America coffee made by an experienced Taiwan barista. Their latte coffee is very popular with customers.
Coffee latte, Cheese cake
Tel: 0592-5092279 5500488
Add: No.3-2, Yundang Rd
Home from Home 厚海书院
There are bookstores and cafes in Xiamen, but perfectly meshing these into one cohesive caffeinated smorgasbord is easier said than done. It is time to catalog Xiamen’s coffee sips at the book-themed café - Home from Home.
Mocha Coffee, Mendeling
Add: No.3-4, Yundang Road
Being the smallest café in Xiamen, the café is owned by the father of Tang Shui Man, a famous Hong Kong television actress. Meticulous service and exquisite desserts make the café a bright star at the coffee street.
Panini, Cappuccino Coffee, Mango Pudding, Puff
Add: No.1, Jixiang Jiayuan (吉祥家园), Jianye Road, opposite to Marco Polo Hotel
The Lake's Café 浪琴湖咖啡
The café, famous for coffee, fruit juice and dessert, serves both Western dishes and Chinese dishes. There is no minimum charge or box fee imposed on consumers in the café.