Chengmai County lies on the northwestern side of Hainan, overlooking the Qiongzhou Strait, and near to Hainan’s capital city, Haikou. Chengmai County is one of the three oldest counties in Hainan with history dating back 2,122 years.
Recognized as the ‘world longevity area’ by the United Nations, the county is known in Hainan for its clean air, pure water and selenium-rich agricultural products. Large areas of the county are covered by forest.
For many who come to Chengmai for the first time and for those who never venture into Chengmai’s corner streets, it is unlikely that they will be familiar with good, folksy things that are happening in its alleyways.
To get close to the local culture, tourists should have a try of those local specialties.
Fushan Coffee 福山咖啡
Chengmai is one of Hainan’s coffee producers. Every year, when coffee beans are ripe, local people harvest them timely. Then they classify coffee beans according to their quality, and bake or fry them with moderate fire until they are ready. Fushan Coffee in Chengmai has its own special taste.
Ruixi Zongzi 瑞溪粽子
Ruixi Zongzi, which come from Chengmai County, filled with pork that comes from Hainan’s famous organic Hainan black pigs that fed with natural food, giving them a chewier texture and a stronger flavor. It also has a strict procedure of wrapping Zongzi, making Ruixi Zongzi delicious and good-looking.
Zongzi are an important gift for annual Dragon Boat Festival, and are given to friends and family at this time of year.
Sticky Rice Cakes 新吴糯米馍
This popular pastry in Chengmai is made from a sticky rice paste filled with shredded coconut, crushed peanuts, hempseed oil, and sugar. The recipe has been passed down through generations, and it is eaten at every gathering and festival. Often served wrapped in a strip of banana or palm leaf, this snack is chewy and filling with a hint of sweetness.
Ruixi Beef Jerky 瑞溪牛肉干
Ruixi beef jerky is a well-loved snack. The beef jerky is seasoned with sugar and is also usually made with ground and not sliced beef meat. This means that each piece is tender and juicy. It can be bitten easily.
You can try some of the most tempting Ruixi Beef jerky at the Ruixi Food Street, with stores selling all kinds of traditional and tasty Chengmai snacks. All snacks are made in-store, without preservatives.
Coffee liquor 咖啡酒
Made with local coffee, the island’s coffee liquor generally has a low alcohol content which helps maintain its coffee flavoring. Popular brands of coffee liquor in Hainan include Cheng Jin.
Kuding Tea 澄迈苦丁茶
In Hainan, Kuding tea has its origins from Chengmai County.
Kuding tea, commonly known as Chading, Fuding and Gaolu tea, is a popular health drink in Hainan with its bitter-sweet taste.
The tea has long been associated with having traditional Chinese medicinal properties. It has been listed as valuable Chinese medicine as early as the Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties for its beneficial effects to the eyes, heart, brain, and stomach. Therefore it has been dubbed as ‘healthy tea’, ‘beauty care tea’, ‘slimming tea’, ‘anti-hypertensive tea’, and ‘longevity tea’.