Eating Haikou local food in Hainan
Literally translated from Chinese Mandarin as ‘fried ice’, however it tastes much better than it sounds. First select any combination of the fresh tropical fruits on display. The fruits are chopped and blended. A device that looks similar to a frying pan is used to freeze the ingredients in a matter of minutes. This results in frozen fruit snack similar to a sorbet. Perhaps try a combination of Mango and Passion Fruit. It’s a perfect snack for a steamy tropical evening. Good Chao Bing vendors can be found on San Xi Lu, just off Renmin Dadao, on Haidian Island in the north of Haikou.
– Banqiao Road (板桥路) Local Restaurant Area
This large covered outdoor restaurant area is a unique local experience. To begin with have a look around the integrated fresh food market and choose what you want. There is much to pick from; coconut rice to strange seafood to Cobra snakes. It’s all alive when you purchase so you know its fresh and half the fun is just looking at what’s available. Each set of tables has its own kitchen and the food is cooked however you want.
The area south of East Haixiu Road has a number of small streets with small local restaurants cooking the food out in the street and with tables both in and out.
– Local street BBQ food
Popular with locals, these vendors come out in the evening and serve a variety of BBQ food. Choose what you want and take a seat while it’s cooked. Food is inexpensive and you can also buy cheap local beer. Locals eat, drink and play cards at these places until early morning. Many vendors can be found on Hai Dian Er Dong Lu (海甸二东路) on Haidian Island in the north of Haikou.
– Betel nuts
Illegal in some western countries, betel nuts are common in South East Asia and India. Chew for their effects as a mildly euphoric stimulant, attributed to the presence of relatively high levels of psychoactive alkaloids. Spot the locals who chew Betel nuts by their red teeth. They are popular with bus drivers.
– Pizza Corner
– Northern cuisine specialising in noodles, but also with other courses. Other branches at No.11, Xi Sha Lu (西沙路11号, 66713785) and No. 6, Bai Long Nan Lu (白龙南路61号, 65203748). Try the local variant of hotpot in a cosy outdoor environment close to a small river. Several similar restaurants can be found at the same street.
– Large upscale seafood restaurant by the Xīxiù Beach (西秀海滩), which also serves vegetable and meat dishes. Do not expect a menu card, but follow the waitress around and look at the fresh food and living fish etc and point at what you want (price signs at each dish).
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