Sunday, September 03, 2017

Xiamen, China: My Walking Lunch in Zeng Cuo An Village

I managed to arrive in Zeng Cuo An village by taking a bus from Zhongshan pedestrian road get getting off at Baicheng Beach, just before Hulishan Cannon Fort and walking the beach boardwalk route to the once fishing village.

Very little is left of the old Chinese fishing village. It is now a very busy tourist attraction connected to the popular Baicheng Beach.

Just 2 years ago, the local government responded to the rise in tourism in the local area and built a foot bridge in the design of a fish cartilage, perhaps to immortalize the old fishing village history. The bridge connects the beach shore part to the main village across the national road. On this fish bone bridge itself, one can already find many street vendors.

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The fishbone bridge in Zeng Cuo An.

Based on my initial readings online about the village, I was looking forward to finding a lively street food scene, which indeed was correct in the first place, but I didn’t expect Zeng Cuo An to be too touristy. I was really expecting to see some traditional aspects of the village, which, unfortunately, I didn’t see.

Well, I did visit the local temple, but that’s it.

The temple in Zeng Cuo An village.

Anyway, my main goal for the visit, other than seeing and experiencing it, is to eat. This is going to be my late afternoon walking lunch. I have read that there are many food stalls but I only realised when I arrived in the village that the food stalls are literally everywhere. On every street and alley and corner! It is a foodie paradise!

I tell you, I did not know where to start and what to eat first? Help?!

So I regrouped myself and quickly made a decision that I will try something new for this walking lunch. Since overeating is not an option, I decided to stick to eating 2 main items and maybe some samplings. Eventually, I settled on a local Xiamen sausage called ‘Wuxiang’ wrapped in thin bean curd wrapper. The filling is delicious which has some traces of seafood in it. Then I also tried some deep-fried dried tofu wrapped in black seaweed and topped with chilli and a variety of veggies. I know, lot’s of deep-frying going on here but they were all delicious!

Ah, I wish I should have eaten more, but I was reserving some space for dinner in the evening. I did try some food samplings and tea as well. You can’t let free food go to waste, haha.

The first thing I ate is a local Xiamen sausage called Wuxiang.

A very interesting thing I noticed, which I think is part of a sub-culture in China are shops selling pre-wedding pictorial packages or something relevant of some sort to this. I was not really able to delve deeper into this subject, which seems to be a trending thing in China, but I have the feeling that this is an old tradition that is just being modernised in interpretation.

With that, I saw many dainty and pastel-coloured shops in fancy facade designs selling these services. Not that I understood Chinese, but they all seem to market around the concept of love and romance.

China has a tradition of arranged marriages, hence.

In one of the dainty shops marketing love and romance (pre-wedding pictorial?) packages.

People also say that Xiamen’s street food scene is very much influenced by Taiwan, which is just across the sea from the island. In Taiwan, every neighbourhood is bustling with colourful markets and a lively street food scene culture. People are literally all over on the streets eating. Having been to Taiwan a few weeks later after my Xiamen visit, I can only confirm that it is true.

In fact, I find similarities with Zeng Cuo An to Jiufen. Both villages emulate the maze of tiny alleys that are full-packed with inviting cafes, food stalls, shops and more food stalls. You can just imagine the wonderful smells from stall to stall! Well, I will, at a later date, write and post pictures about my visit to Jiufen. But for now, I invite you to walk with me in this late walking lunch in Zeng Cuo An.

One needs to come here with an empty stomach!

Anyway, be warned. LOTS of pictures ahead... and oh, please don’t drool, okay? =)

A mini police bus with a matching e-scooter was stationed on the main street of Zeng Cuo An.

Xiamen is famous for its seafood dishes. The locals prefer grilling them. I had one of those lobsters and scallops with hair noodles for lunch on my first day in the city.

Is she not cute? =)

The Minions are quite popular here in Xiamen, China.

I eyed the scrumptious-looking fried tofu of this food stall... so I later came back to order a small bowl. Scroll down to see this...

I was lucky that when I was there the alleys were not packed with visitors. Unlike in Jiufen (Taiwan) which is similar to Zeng Cuo An, it was a rubbing elbows drama. 

A Christian church inside the village.

This is a fried chicken coated with something sampling. Delicious.

Not sure what these are. Chinese rice wine or whisky? Vinegar? But those dainty blue ceramic jars are definitely stunning.

I finally came back to the food stand with the fried dried tofu with chilli and veggies toppings and here he is preparing my order.

I have to say that this is one of my best eats in Xiamen. I really wished I ordered another serving, but had to control my appetite otherwise I will just regret!

The dainty pink shop is marketing some love and romance packages (pre-wedding pictorials methinks!).

Modern and European-inspired architecture in Zeng Cuo An. In this part of the village, it does start to look more like an adult Disneyland theme park.

Fresh catch of the day. Xiamen has its culinary advantages being located on the coast of  he South China Sea. Seafood lovers celebrate here.

On my way out of the food alleys here.... 

Done with my visit to Zeng Cuo An, I boarded the bus and did a change of bus in this station. While waiting, I took a picture of one of the Twin Towers.

Here at the bus on the way back to my hotel people cannot stop tinkering on their mobile phones. I have learned to minimise this habit and only really use my phone(s) when needed.

Travel Period: November 2016
Destination: Xiamen (Fujian), China

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. Lovely pictures. I visited this village early November 2019. Place is too crowded, I was unable to snap beautiful pictures like yours.


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