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Culinary odyssey: Sanya’s rich food culture will astound visitors

Excellent dishes are available at any time of the day and night, whether it’s a luxury dining experience you are after or a streetside snack

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 12:45pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 July, 2017, 12:45pm

Sanya’s rich food culture has benefited from the decade-long tourist boom that the city has experienced, featuring an innovative worldly dining experience as well as the traditionalmeals that have satisfied islanders for centuries.

Excellent dishes are available at any time of the day, and night. A good place to start looking for some great options is along the Hongsha Port, or the dock leading to Wuzhizhou Island. Restaurants cluster around the ports, getting the freshest seafood possible and catering to tourists who arrive at the ports daily for cruises and trips to the islands along the southern edge of Hainan.

All along Sanya’s coastline, stalls and restaurants sell deep fried, grilled and steamed seafood of all stripes. There is no limit to the abundance of the sea: oysters, shrimp, crabs, a dozen fish varieties, calamari, sea cucumber and other creatures some visitors may have never heard of. All can be had within a stone’s throw of the beach.

A luxury dining experience is literally around the corner at any one of the international hotels and resorts that line the Yalong, Sanya, Serenity and Haitang bays. Some of the best chefs in the world vie with each other to create amazing dishes to complement staples such as Hele Crab, Dongchang Lamb, Jiaji Duck and Wenchang Chicken.

Sofia at the Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay; Yi Yang at the Mandarin Oriental Sanya; and the Intercontinental Sanya’s oceanside restaurant are a few of the hundreds of high-end restaurants providing an elegant perspective on classic Sanya dishes.

For a more down-home feel, try the sprawling open-air food courts at Chunyuan in downtown Sanya, Mingji along Yuejin road, and the long strip of stalls along the Dadonghai beachfront. The Sanya beachfront is also lined with stalls and stands; any of the side streets up from the beaches lead to even more restaurants and stalls, with hawkers out front urging visitors to step in and try their specials.

The best option is to sample all that’s offered, from the freshly seared chicken and peppers on the street to the experience of fine dining at a top-end resort. From the fusion cuisine combining Chinese styles with international ideas to late night barbecue from a small shack, visitors to Sanya have the opportunity to experience the best of both worlds.