As a continuation of Part 1 in Xiamen, once we reached the famous Zhong Shan Lu Pedestrian Street, we started looking for food! Our first meal of the day was 6 hours ago in the plane and we were famished! After a few minutes of walking, we spotted a busy shop with a long queue. Our principle was simple, if there’s a long queue, it’s good. 😛 Don’t judge us!
Walking along the Zhong Shan Lu
The shop apparently sold noodles with various types of toppings! Again, we couldn’t understand the Chinese words which were apparently the directions on how to order, so we just watched and learnt. So we were supposed to order either noodles or dumplings (two of their specialties), and if we chose noodles, then we had to point out which toppings we wanted. Since we weren’t sure how they charged, we just chose around 3 toppings each.
Various toppings for noodles
I chose the shrimps, squid rings and pork belly, while Saucer chose mostly pork innards and pork belly, which seemed popular with the locals! We also ordered a dumpling and when everything was ready, we paid. By then only we found out that each bowl of noodle was only charged RMB5, regardless of the number of toppings chosen! Aisay, should have chosen more! *kiasu*
沙茶面 “Sha Cha Mian” – literally Sand Tea Noodles (RMB5)
So these noodles are actually known as 沙茶面 “Sha Cha Mian“, literally translated to Sand Tea Noodles. These noodles are actually very popular in Xiamen, for you could see them being sold in almost every noodle shop. The soup had a clay colour, due to the addition of pulverised peanuts, which made it very aromatic. There was also a hint of spiciness to it, though not strong. Overall, the soup was just thick and hearty, flavourful and warming to the stomach!
Saucer’s noodles with pork innards
My noodles with shrimp, squid rings and pork belly
We loved the noodles so much that we went back a few days later! Of course, not to forget their dumpling which was another specialty. The dumpling was different from the ones we have back in Malaysia, in that the amount of filling used was less and the rice much softer. It was also customary to eat it with chilli sauce, which I found to be quite special. After a few bites, I got used to it and found myself enjoying it!
Restaurant 1980 – famous for Noodles and Dumplings
After the satisfying meal, we continued our adventure down the Zhong Shan Road. It’s actually a really long road and we were barely a quarter way through! Remember I was saying how Xiamen is famous for tea leaves? You could even see Chinese tea pot and cups as statues for a fountain!
Since we didn’t have any drinks during our meal, we were hunting for something to soothe our thirst. And we spotted this unassuming booth almost hidden just under an escalator, named 700cc. Fortunately, they had pictures on the booth or we would have had difficulty ordering.
700cc Pearl Milk Tea stall
The stall sold Pearl Milk Tea of various flavours served in a 700cc cup, which was actually quite large, all for RMB3! Yes, you heard me right! Only RMB3, which translated to about RM1.50 for a large glass of Pearl Milk Tea! Oh my, we were really happy with our find! And best of all, it was delicious! They gave PLENTY of pearls and the tea was fragrant and strong. I loved it!
700cc Pearl Milk Tea (RMB3)
It was getting dark and Zhong Shan Lu was getting busier by the minute. What was initially a rather quiet road had turned to be busy with people!
Look at the crowd!
The street was lined with lots of fashion stores, restaurants, fast foods, tea shops and souvenir shops! Just like this one that Saucer was looking at!
So was McDonald’s!
Zhong Shan Lu
Further towards the middle of the road, there was a cross road with more hawker stalls selling street food! The street with hawker stalls was really narrow and packed with people that it was a chore just standing there waiting for our food! One of my favourite was the BBQ squid! This man was really kind and could customize the squid according to your liking. I asked for extra hot and spicy, and he put in extra spices and chilli while he was grilling it. *drools*
Grilled BBQ Squid stall
This stall was quite hard to miss, not because of the seller but because of the smell! It was seriously the stall with the most fragrant smell along the street! I guess it must be the spices he used, it kept me going back for more. *LOL*
Grilled Squid (RMB5/each)
Another popular street food there was this popiah-like roll, which was filled with lots of chopped vegetables and tea leaves. The tea leaves added added another dimension to the otherwise plain vegetable roll. Very creative, don’t you think? Best of all, it only cost RMB2 each!
Vegetable popiah (RMB2)
There were plenty of other hawker stalls along the street, but we didn’t have a big enough stomach for all of them! *LOL* Let me just show you some of the street food available.
Looked like beef
Variety of meat skewers
Oh Saucer tried this jelly-like thing which was filled with octopus and some other weird stuff! Don’t really know why he’s into these weird cuisines but they’re certainly not my cup of tea!
Octopus in jelly?
Looked like agar-agar
Last but not least, before we headed back to the hotel, we stopped by for a last dosage of dessert! It was a glass of mixed beans and nuts which was pretty filling.
The Dessert Stall
Concoction of mixed beans, nuts, yam and sweet potato
With that, we walked back to the hotel happily but exhausted! Look at how pretty the street was at night!
Zhong Shan Lu Pedestrian street at night
The next day, we would be checking out and move to another hotel paid by Saucer’s company. *hint: More luxurious!* Wait for it!