Travel Report: Zhongshan Road – Xiamen, China.
August 2017. Even if shopping isn’t your cup of tea, a trip to Zhongshan Road in Xiamen is an essential part of a visit here. Teeming with stores, restaurants and cafes, this strictly pedestrianised road offers up an exciting fusion of European architecture, chattering locals and bug eyed sales clerks armed with microphones. My first walk down this 1200-meter road came during a boiling hot afternoon. Consequently the crowds were absent, while those that had come clung to the shade in the covered walkways at the sides of the street.
This vibrant street is home to all the usual soulless retail brands. However, if you poke around a bit you’ll also come across trendy independent stores and inventive cafes and juice stalls. Furthermore, there are several cute bakeries like this one selling the city’s signature Mati Pastry. Like most Chinese cakes and desserts they are very dry. Luckily, there’s a saving grace in the form of a sweet filling, which varies from red date, pineapple, mango, lemon, orange and black bean.
The street really comes into its own at night when the whole area breaks out into a neon blur of tantalising street food stalls and pop up restaurants. Just throw those chicken bones on the floor like a local! Finally, after much browsing, I went for a couple of massive meat sticks from this busy stall. One was made up of large chunks of juicy lamb, the other a bulky pagoda of smoky chicken.
Zhongshan Road, Xiamen.
If you’re in need of an icy fruit shake, check out the CitiDrink shop on the cross section corner of Xiaxi Road. As an added bonus, you might get to meet one of their friendly sign holders as you wait for that ginger-mango shake. In fact, I felt so sorry for the guy I offered to hold his sign for a bit. Cue a predictable barrage of “wài guó rén!” (foreigner!) that came my way from just about everyone who passed.
Some of the most interesting food stalls, restaurants and dessert houses can be found in the narrow alleyways running off Zhongshan Road. This is Jukou Jie alley where you may have to duck and dive between erratic moped drivers to stay alive!
Before you know it you’ll be delightfully lost, standing outside a steamy dumpling house looking at the owner’s pet parrots. Ah, China.
For more snapshots of this amazing city, check out more of my travel reports from around Xiamen.
Or maybe search further afield with my zillion articles from across China.
I’ve also written a short story series called Challenged in China.
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