Monday, April 22, 2019

Xiamen, China: Checking Out "Xidi Coffee Street"

China is a country about tea. It is where tea comes from originally. I have recently read that after water, tea is the most widely drunk beverage in the whole world. Not surprising at all when China has more than a billion people. Well, I drink tea myself and billions of other people in Europe and Asia.

Ever since the trade went global, as well as the still on-going economic revolution of China, many young local Chinese have hunkered for something new and hip to waste their time and money on. This something new and hip has deep roots in the western world civilisation: Coffee.

Enjoying a cup of double espresso and matcha cheesecake.

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In Xiamen, the rise of the popularity of the coffee drink cannot be ignored. The coffee culture has slowly taken its roots in the Siming District on Yundang Lu, also known as the Xidi Coffee Street.

Literally, the Coffee street in Ximing, Xiamen.

It's my last day in Xiamen and my original plan was to get out of town to visit the Toulou's. However, my 72-hour free visa visit does not allow me to travel outside the Xiamen prefecture. So I did some more research on places to go within Xiamen and read about Xidi  Coffee Street.

I was intrigued because China is a tea country and from what I know not many people really drink coffee. It's something new and a drink introduced by the outside world from the west.

I went here on the public bus. For just 1 CNY you can travel anywhere with the bus within Xiamen city. Really amazingly cheap. Using my phones' maps I managed to locate Yundang Road aka Xidi Coffee Street. The road is right beside the water, on the artificial Yundang Lake and Park.

The area is quite nice, spacious, clean and green and with a backdrop of the high rise buildings in the distance. Yundang Street or Coffee Street is what I call an expat and yuppy place. There are many cafe restaurants with outdoor terraces here, many of which are coffee places but quite a number are really restaurants that serve coffee as well during the day. There is even a Filipino joint called Halo-Halo which I didn't really check out. No need, I know what Halo-Halo is.

Basically, the Coffee Street caters to the guests of the hotels and the business offices, hence my comment on expatriates (expat) and young professionals (yuppy) frequenting the cafes here.

I also have the feeling that the street is like a place to be seen by the locals. With the upscale retail boutiques sandwiched between the cafes and the expensive (sports) cars lining up on the street, what more could we think of? It would have been perfect if the street is pedestrianised, but then those expensive cars will have to be parked someplace not visible. Not sure if these entitled lads would like that at all. After all, having a fancy car is like having a pretty girlfriend, a sleek job or business that you own that you so desperately want to show off.

Nonetheless, I can agree that it's a good place to hang out and chill especially if you are young and coming from middle to the upper-class background, this is the place to go.

Some of the fancy cars parked on the street.

Buildings behind the Yundang Park and Lake.

Internationally styled cafe restaurants from all walks of life on Yundang Street.

Fancy retail boutiques in between the cafes.

It was a bit difficult to choose which cafe restaurant to pick. I wanted to sit in a place where there's activity going on. So I settled at The Coffee Club which has a number of guests and I also saw that they have a mezzanine that looks down to the ground floor and outdoor terrace. I like to be sitting indoors but having a view of the outside.

I ordered a double espresso and a Green Tea Matcha Cheesecake. The cake was delicious. It's too bad that I don't see a lot of the Matcha flavour in Europe. 

Funnily, the guy sitting in front of me was Dutch. He was yakking the whole time on his phone, in Dutch, and I could follow all his conversation without him knowing at all, haha. He was the perfect example of a young expat. 

My view from the mezzanine.

The Matcha cheesecake was delicious. I finished everything.

The view from my table on the mezzanine to the outdoor terrace, the Yundang / Coffee street, and the Yundang Lake. It would be nice if they pedestrianised this street.

The area has many upscale boutiques, hotels and business offices.

Yundang Park with its open-air fitness installations.

Two worlds apart: Young white-collar professionals and Blue collar laborers.

Yundang Park and Lake.

Local retirees exercising at the park. They are always a lovely sight in the many parks in China.

The bridge connecting to the Bailuzhou Park.

You might wonder what that blue thing on the bike? It's like a cover to protect your arms and legs from the strong rays of the sun.

Saw a local school playing sports. So strange to see them in uniform. In Europe, people don't wear uniforms to their sports or physical education class. But I remember back in the Philippines that we had to wear our physical education (P.E.) shorts and shirts. Deja vu.

Travel Period: December 2016
Destination: Xiamen, Fujian, China

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