It's said that Xiamen is a city that people can easily get fat, due to its comfortable living environment and the delicious food. Xiamen has a variety of foods with unique flavors and unforgettable tastes, both snacks and dinner dishes. Maybe you'd need a year to taste all the local foods in Xiamen!
We have picked ten of the most popular Xiamen foods below, which you should try at least a few of on your Xiamen trip.
1. Shacha Mian - 'Satay Noodles'
- Chinese: 沙茶面 shā chá miàn /shaa-chaa myen/
Shachamian is very popular among Xiamen people. You can see these soup noodles nearly everywhere in Xiamen. The highlight is its delicious soup. You can choose to add various ingredients to your soup, such as squid rings, shrimps, pork belly, pork innards, bean sprouts, and mushrooms. It can be a little spicy, but not too heavy.
2. Hailijian - Oyster Omelette
- Chinese: 海蛎煎 hǎi lì jiān /heye-lee-jyen/ 'sea oyster fried'
Hailijian is mainly made from oysters, sweet potato flour, and egg. Fresh oysters are mixed with the flour, garlic is added, then they are fried. When almost done, some egg is added and they are fried together. Some people also like to add some vegetables. Accompanied with satay sauce, it's hard to forget its taste.
3. Xianbing - 'Stuffed Crepes'
- Chinese: 馅饼 xiàn bǐng /sshyen-bing/
Xianbing is a famous snack - a type of crepe with a golden skin and different fillings. There are two main kinds of stuffed crepe in Xiamen. The sweet ones are filled with red bean paste, and the meat ones are mainly filled with pork. There is also a famous vegetarian xianbing from Nanputuo Temple, which travelers love to buy.
4. Zhawuxiang - Deep Fried Tofu Dumplings
- Chinese: 炸五香 , zhá wǔ xiāng /woo-sshyang/ 'five fragrances'
Zhawuxiang is the most common snack among Xiamen people. They cook this food to serve to friends, and you can also see them at wedding dinners. The fillings are mainly chopped pork, fish meat, green onions, and water chestnuts. All these ingredients are filled in a thin wrap of dried tofu skin, and then deep fried, cut into lengths, and served with sauce.
5. Shaorou Zong - 'Cooked Meat Rice Dumplings'
- Chinese: 烧肉粽 shāo ròu zòng /shaoww-roh dzong/
Glutinous rice dumplings (zongzi) have many different flavors: sweet or savory, bean filling or meat filling. Xiamen meat rice dumplings are one of the most famous flavors.
Xiamen's rice dumplings taste fragrant and sticky, but not greasy. They are red and yellow, which makes them look attractive. Some fillings include chestnuts, mushrooms, or peanuts to make the taste more satisfying.
6. Yuwantang - 'Fish Ball Soup'
- Chinese: 鱼丸汤 yú wán tāng /yoo-wann taang/
Fish meat is minced and made into balls. Some shops add some fillings to make the taste more satisfying. Once boiled, you can put some vegetables in the soup and add green onion to make it more colorful. Fish balls are white and taste soft.
7. Jiangmuya - Ginger Duck
- Chinese: 姜母鸭, jiāng mǔ yā /jiang-mu ya/
Jiangmuya is a very popular food in autumn and winter in Xiamen. Duck is stewed for hours in rice wine that contains old ginger root plus 20 more herbs. The duck used in this dish has to be a young duck that doesn't contain lots of fat. When it is cooked, the broth has an aroma of fragrant herbs and the duck meat has absorbed all of the nutrition in the soup. Eating this dish in winter, it can really warm you up and get rid of all your winter fatigue.
8. Tong'an Fengrou - Tong'an Steamed Pork
- Chinese: 同安封肉, Tōng ān fēng ròu /toong an feng rou/
Tong'an fengrou is a local dish, which got its name from Tong'an District in Xiamen where the dish originated. There, Tong'an fengrou is a must-eat dish whenever there's a special occasion, such as moving to a new house or a family member getting married. It is made from a whole piece of streaky pork that's been sprayed heavily with gravy sauce before steaming it until all of the sauce has been blended in with the meat and juice.
9. Jinbaoyin - Steamed Filled Buns
- Chinese: 金包银 jīn bāo yín /jin-baoww-yin/ 'Gold Wraps Silver'
Jinbaoyin look like yellow steamed buns and you can easily and cheaply buy them on the street. These buns are steamed in a bamboo steamer and you should buy them hot.
The traditional filling is peanuts and sugar. Now they have different fillings: dried bamboo shoots, mushrooms, or meat. The skin is soft and transparent, and when you bite it feels sticky and elastic.
10. Xiamian - Shrimp Noodles
- Chinese: 虾面, xiā miàn
The name tells you everything - being a seaside city, seafood in Xiamen is always fresh. A bowl of fresh and hot shrimp noodles in the morning is a standard breakfast for locals to start a busy day.
11. Tusundong - Sand Worm Jelly
- Chinese: 土笋冻 tǔsǔndòng /too-swnn-dong/ 'earth bamboo frozen'
Tusundong is a nice snack in summer. This cold dish is transparent and looks like jelly.In Chinese, this dish sounds like it's made from bamboo shoots. Actually the main ingredient is sand worms. After boiling, the gelatins in sand worms dissolve into the water, and when it's chilled it becomes "jelly". It tastes better with sauce and chili.
There is a legend that Zheng Chenggong (郑成功, a famous national hero) founded this dish when he stationed troops near the beach.
12. Mianxianhu - Rice Noodle Broth
- Chinese: 面线糊, miàn xiàn hú
Mianxiahuis a dish of mixed noodles cooked in stewed pork broth. It contains wheat noodles, rice noodles, and sweet potato starch noodles. Apart from noodles, chefs often add various ingredients, such as shrimp, celery leaves, egg, and pork intestines to add more flavor. Locals often order this as their breakfast together with youtiao (a deep-fried crispy wheat bar).
13. Baobing - Spring Rolls
- Chinese: 薄饼 báobǐng /baoww-bing/ 'thin flat cake'
Baobing are actually a kind of spring roll. Different areas use different fillings. Xiamen baobing fillings are peanuts, oysters, and seaweed. The fillings are cooked before being rolled in the thin skin. In Xiamen nearly every family makes this dish around Qingming Festival (April 4/5), as the oysters around that period are the best.
14. Huasheng Tang - Peanut Soup
- Chinese: 花生汤huāshēng tāng /hwaa-shnng taang/
Peanuts have an auspicious meaning in Chinese culture. So you can see this dish at weddings, birthday parties, and other celebrations.
The cost is cheap and the cooking is easy, but may need much time. First put peanuts in a pot and flush them with boiling water. After the skins are rubbed off, put the peanuts in a pot and add fresh water. After the water is boiled, turn down the heat and stew them. It takes hours to make a delicious peanut soup.
15.Hao'gan Zhou - Oyster Porridge
- Chinese: 蚝干粥, háo gān zhōu
This porridge is not cooked in normal water but is stewed in a special broth made from hours of cooking pork, chicken, onions, and carrots before dried oysters are added. This porridge is full of protein and has more flavors than you can imagine.
16. Shao Xian Cao - Vegetarian Dessert
- Chinese: 烧仙草, shāo xiān căo
Shao xian cao is a unique dessert in Xiamen. It is a sweet pudding made with a local herb. Eating shao xian cao in summer is a great way to ease the heat.
Recommended Popular Xiamen Tours
If you want to taste the delicious food in Xiamen, please see our recommended tours below for inspiration:
- 3-Day Xiamen, Gulangyu, and Tulou Tour - relaxing weekend tour
- 5-Day Xiamen, Tulou, and Wuyi Mountain Tour - cultural and scenic tour
Not interested in the above tours? Just tell us your interests and requirements, and China Highlights will create a Xiamen tour for you.