Xiamen Food

By greenteapanda

March 16, 2008

Category: Food and drink

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Before I went on my latest trip to Xiamen, I had forgotten why I did not like Chinese food before I came to China – the fact that many overseas immigrants working in Chinese restaurants come from Fujian province. Xiamen is one of the largest cities in Fujian.

I admit there is one good thing I enjoyed before I came to China: Peanut Soup. Back in the day I would buy it from an Asian supermarket in cans. In Xiamen, there is a famous restaurant that serves it: 黃則和花生湯店. They also serve a soup called 沙茶湯. I ordered it, thinking the characters meant the soup had tea grown in some sandy place, but 沙茶 actually means ‘satay’ (an Asian peanut sauce). Not sure where the word ‘satay’ actually originates from, but it makes sense the soup would have peanuts in it, given the mission of the restaurant.

The food itself wasn’t bad, but the restaurant is hampered by a communist-era ordering system. You have to by pieces of paper worth certain amounts of money, then use them at the station serving the type of food you want to get. You can only use those pieces of paper on the day you buy it, so I ended up having eight bowls of peanut soup at the restaurant.

Besides the peanut soup and the awesome Seventh-Day Adventist retreat food on Gulangyu, I can’t say I had any good Chinese food in Xiamen. The vegetarian restaurant within Nanputuo Temple disappointed. Another vegetarian restaurant opposite Nanputuo Temple was supposed to have vegetarian versions of Northeastern food, like dumplings, but they did not. They only had items I could have cooked faster than them myself, and to a higher level of quality.

Thankfully, there are two excellent Indian restaurants in Xiamen. The website would be here, but right now it is under construction (or possibly permanently abandoned?). There is some information that seems to be a mixture of the original location’s pictures and the newer location’s contact info on Amoymagic.

Junk food is also a possibility. The curry crab crisps in the picture were OK, but not as good as the Curry flavour of pringles sold in Japan about five years ago. The dark chocolate Kit Kat tasted plain, but I still liked it better than the ordinary varieties.

Speaking of curry, at Carrefour, they sold curry paste in the imported products section. Given the extreme cost of curry paste in Korea, I decided to purchase some. In order for the paste to fit into my luggage better, I attempted to buy 12 packs shrinkwrapped together. At the register, when the cashier used the barcode on the shrinkwrapped pack, I was only charged for one of the packs inside, not the 12 together. I pointed this out, but nobody responded to the cashier’s calls for a price check. I then went to the customer service counter by the entrance and pointed out I had been charged for only two packs of curry, even though I had 24 packs in my bag. They refunded my money and sent me back to the register. They then opened up the shrinkwrap, which I specifically told them not to do. But even then they could not scan the price correctly. Since the eight or so customer service people surrounding that register were too lazy to walk into the store and check the price themselves, I brought back new, unbroken shrinkwrapped curry paste along with individual samples that they could scan on the register 12 times for each type of curry I bought. Due to both the laziness and incompetence of the staffs, it took me an extra 30 minutes to leave with the correct amount of money charged for the items I purchased.
 
Perhaps next time I should just let Carrefour take the loss, since the staffs are obviously not trained to deal with incorrect prices showing up on the register.

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