Xiamen cuisine, the most representative one of Fujian cuisine, is characterized by its similarity to Canton food; sweet, light and very popular with western taste buds! The food is certainly one of the best things about Xiamen- particularly the seafood which is exceptionally fresh. Dishes here use copious amounts of oysters, crabs, prawn and peanuts. Xiamen peanut soup is served up with everything. The Sweet Peanut Shop (Huangzehe Huashengtang Dian) on Zhongshan Lu is the best place to sample Xiamen's
favorite nutty goodies.
Local specialties here include fish ball soup, shrimp noodles and oyster soup. There are some great seafood restaurants around town. On Gulangyu Island there are a wealth of places to choose from, particularly around the Lujiang Hotel. The hotel itself also serves good Chinese food including an impressive medicinal banquet- the properties of the food are apparently good for the soul and body!
Those tired with seafood should seek out the Marco Polo Hotel on Jianye Road and tuck into their authentic Peking Duck. There are also a couple of good vegetarian restaurants in Xiamen; one in the Nanputo Temple and the other, the Hao Qing Xiang Restaurant on Hubin Zhong Lu.
The Holiday Inn also do a good western style buffet for those craving something non-Chinese and Pizza Hut has magnificent views over to Gulangyu Island (aside from the usual pizzas!).
Muslim food is also popular here. Tasty lamb dishes, kebabs and Xinjiang bread are all available from the street vendors and in the little Muslim cafes dotted about town.
(haixian) is all over the place in Xiamen, and especially in
Gulangyu, and is a great introduction to the culinary delights of the
town. It has a long history here, locally the seafood has been around
forever, but as early on as the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 AD), grouper,
yellow croaker, red crab, lobster and sleeve-fish were already
frequently ordered dishes in local hotels.
The Chinese in Xiamen do have the
strangest taste in their selection of edible fruits of the deep, with
tendancies to select the most formidable, and horrific looking of the
days catch. Having got over this, however, the seafood here is always
fresh (you normally get a swim by preview outside most of the
restaurants) and, once cooked, is delicious. Oysters (Muli),
Crabs (Pangxie) and Prawns (Xia) are the best of the
One final warning: the Chinese have an
amazing ability to place the most armoured of food into their mouths
and, after a bit of teeth grinding and spitting, to end up with a
plateful of bones and a bellyful of flesh. Attempt to follow with
Peanut soup (huasheng tang) is by no means easy to make despite the fact that it is made of only one ingredient--peanut. First, carefully selected peanuts are dipped in boiling water for deshelling.
Then they are stewed with mild flame until they totally soften. Last add sugar and continue stewing the soup for half an hour.
Local people always have this soup with youtiao (deep-fried twist dough sticks), fried dates or buns.