Xiamen is famous for its delicious cuisine, and abounds in sea food all the year round. Lobsters, crabs, abalones and snails are fresh and of the best quality. Fruits are available in all four seasons. Local fruits include longan litchi, banana, pineapple, orange, watermelon, mango, peach and Chinese flowering quince. Other fruits are also shipped in from other provinces.
Min (the traditional name for Fujian Province) cuisine is one of the eight most famous cuisines of China. It both inherits traditional Chinese cooking skills and has its own characteristics. Xiamen local food is representative of Min cuisine, specializing in sea food using the methods of steaming, stir-frying and deep-frying, and the food tastes fresh, light, crispy and a little spicy.
Xiamen cuisine is most famous for its sea food of garoupas, yellow croakers, red crabs and local squids. These were regarded as traditional flavor as early as in the Qing Dynasty. Restaurant customers pick out the live ones they want, and give them to the chef to cook.
This is a traditional Xiamen dish prepared with over 30 ingredients, including shark's fin, sea cucumber, chicken breast, pig's trotters, abalone, mushrooms and pigeon eggs, and many other condiments. The ingredients are carefully selected and skillfully cut. The cooking process is very strict.
The ingredients and condiments are first put into a Shaoxing wine jar, its mouth is sealed after the lid is put on. The jar is boiled and then stewed. The ingredients are mixed together to form a special flavor, and each retains part of its own fragrance. It is said that the food is so delicious that even Buddha was tempted by it and jumped over a wall to taste it.
The vegetarian food prepared by the Vegetarian Restaurant in the Nanputuo Temple is well known. Vegetable oil, flour, beans, vegetables, mushrooms, edible fungus and fruits are the main ingredients. Each course has its own flavor and adheres strictly to Buddhist dietary strictures.
Tonic food has a long history in China. The Ancient Imitation Tonic Food Restaurant in the Lujiang Hotel in Xiamen uses traditional Chinese medicines as condiments to cook the foods, which are not bitter like medicine at all. As the season changes, the condiments are also altered to improve the health condition of diners. The ingredients are carefully selected, skillfully cut and cooked, arranged into beautiful shapes to let the diners enjoy both the good taste and refined craftsmanship.