Eat Yazhou delicacies like a local

Print Sanya tourism promotion bureau Updated: 2022-05-25

Yazhou's proximity to the sea has shaped the local food culture from ingredient choices to taste preferences. Follow along as the article takes you on a local gastronomic tour of Sanya's Yazhou district.


1. Gangmen rice noodles


A day in Yazhou begins with a bowl of fragrant Gangmen rice noodles.


In the early morning, the Gangmen Rice Noodles Shop next to Yazhou Ancient City is already packed with people. While the broth, made of pork bone and sea snails, is boiling in the pot and creating an intoxicating aroma that permeates the air, the shop's owner prepares fish cakes, bean sprouts, chopped green onion, and other necessary ingredients.


The chef then swiftly scalds the rice noodles into the boiling broth and, after a while, puts them into a large bowl, scoops the soup, adds fish cakes, some oil, as well as chopped green onion. Once completed, a bowl of authentic Gangmen noodles is ready to be served on the table.


Locals typically take a sip of the broth first, and then taste the noodles with a bit of a fish cake and bean sprouts to feel the rich flavor of the dish. For spicy food lovers, we suggest adding a spoonful of Hainan Yellow Lantern chili. One taste of Gangmen rice noodles will have people understanding why the locals in Yazhou are literally in love with them.


Gangmen rice noodles. [Photo provided by Sanya tourism promotion bureau]


2. Gangmen sour rice noodles


In the afternoon, eating a bowl of Gangmen sour rice noodles offers an interesting and refreshing combination of sweet and sour flavors. The sour sauce is what determines whether the dish is delicious or not. The sauce is usually made of tamarind, a common fruit in Hainan. Together with steamed bun pieces, handmade rice noodles, sweet potato noodles, fried crispy peanuts, and other ingredients, it composes a bowl of authentic Gangmen sour rice noodles.


There are numerous shops in Yazhou selling Gangmen sour rice noodles. For instance, visitors can check the one located at the entrance of Shuinan village or the shop at the road junction near Xincun Road.


3. Shrimp cake


Shrimp cake is a traditional Yazhou snack beloved by everyone. This crispy cake with a golden-brown crust is full of surprises.


We suggest you visit the fried food shop located at the entrance of Shuinan Village that Yazhou locals swear retains the taste of childhood. The store owner prepares a spoonful of chopped leek, pours rice milk on it, soaks the spoon in the oil pan until the cake is slightly formed, and puts the whole fresh shrimp inside. When the shrimp bends down and the cake surface turns golden-brown, a delicious shrimp cake is ready to enjoy.


Gently tear the crust to let the rich aroma of leek fill your nostrils, then take a bite, with the "crunch" sound accentuating the magnificent flavor of fresh shrimp. Dip into the sweet and sour sauce or spicy sauce to add new shades of flavor to the dish.


Shrimp cake. [Photo provided by Sanya tourism promotion bureau]


4. Yacheng stinky tofu


While stinky tofu is a renowned dish from Changsha, Hunan province that is popular all over China, the Yazhou version of stinky tofu, known as Yacheng stinky tofu, is a delicious and unique take on the renowned favorite.


In Yazhou, Pangpang Snacks Shop next to Yazhou Ancient City is a very famous place to eat Yacheng stinky tofu. The stinky tofu here tastes more Hainanese, meaning it is more suitable for Hainan people's taste preferences.


So, what is required to make this special snack? It needs to be hot-fried, then topped with a thick sauce made from cowpeas, with a little chili pepper, chopped green onion, and marinated green beans sprinkled on top. The soft and glutinous tofu then becomes crunchy. 



Yacheng stinky tofu. [Photo provided by Sanya tourism promotion bureau]


Of course, these are just a few culinary favorites that Yazhou offers, with plenty more dishes like roast duck, pasty straws dan san, and a wide range of bua (glutinous rice stuffed cakes) to enjoy here!

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