Hainan is home to a sizeable population of returned overseas Chinese from Southeast Asian countries, and it is thanks to them that the province has a popular coffee culture. Coffee is enjoyed throughout Hainan.
For coffee enthusiasts, getting a taste of the local coffee is a requisite for any vacation in the island province. Hainan coffee’s flavor profiles lend themselves to a wide variety of complementary pairings.
If you want to learn more about Hainan, here are some classic coffee-food pairings to enjoy with Hainan coffee at local teahouses and restaurants.
Southeast Asian-style desserts 咖啡糕
Xinglong desserts are popular coffee pairings in Hainan. These desserts—introduced from Southeast Asia by returned overseas Chinese—remain an important part of the local coffee culture.
Condensed Milk 炼奶
To soften the bitterness of the coffee, most local Hainanese prefer to add condensed milk or sugar to give their coffee a little extra flair.
Coconut Bun 咖椰包
Coconut buns (called ga hia bao by locals) also make for a very popular snack in Hainan. The coconut bun is best eaten with coffee when it’s just out of the oven and fresh. The joy of baking coconut coffee buns is as great as eating them straight out of the oven.
Fried bread sticks (Youtiao) 油条
Whether you’re in a fancy coffeehouse or at an ordinary-looking stall along the street, you’ll often see locals ordering fried bread sticks (also called youtiao) to complement their coffee.
While having a cup of coffee for breakfast, the local people sometimes cut the youtiao into pieces, or dip their youtiao in their coffee, soaking the fried dough sticks with the rich, aromatic coffee flavor.