1 Hour Activities


HUANGYUAN TANG PINEAPPLE CAKE
黄远堂黄凤梨酥

202 Zhongshan Lu, Siming district
+86-0592-202-3968
Open daily 9 a.m.–10:30 p.m.

SIBEI PEANUT SOUP
思北花生汤

64 Siming Beilu (near Datong Lu), Simeng district
+86-0592-202-3968
Open daily 6:00 a.m.–3:00 a.m.

EAT LIKE A LOCAL

  • Shop and snack along lively Zhongshan Lu street
  • Slurp delicious bowls of peanut soup
  • Indulge in a pineapple-cake dessert

Where is the beating heart of Xiamen? Just follow the locals to Zhongshan Lu, a pulsing pedestrian thoroughfare brimming with nearly 200 boutiques and food stalls. Set out for a stroll after dark and hunt for keepsakes at traditional Chinese shops hawking dried seafood, preserved meats, and oolong tea. Be sure to break your stride for pineapple cakes 凤梨酥, a Taiwanese treat of rich shortbread filled with spiced jam; the buttery goodies from HuangYuanTang 黄远堂 (with a surprise slather of winter melon jam baked inside) are our favorite. After indulging in dessert, reverse course with savory peanut soup, a comforting local delicacy made fresh daily with peanuts that have been boiled, painstakingly hand-peeled, and sun-dried before being simmered for hours with rock sugar to soften them. Most people queue up at the well-known ZeHeHuang 则和黄花生汤at number 22, but we find the most slurp-worthy bowls are at SiBei 思贝花生汤, a short detour off the main strip. In-the-know Xiamanese have gathered at this humble, open-air kitchen counter since 1954. Ask them to drop in an egg to heighten the peanut broth’s delicate flavor, and pair it with a flaky chive pastry (jiucaihe韭菜盒) or two.
Zhongshan Lu is a quick drive from Conrad Xiamen. HuangYuan Tang is on the main pedestrian walkway. SiBei Peanut Soup is located where Siming Beilu intersects with Zhongshan Lu near the Laiya Department store; from there, walk until you see the rounded open-air corner counter with tables on your right.

HUANGYUAN TANG PINEAPPLE CAKE
黄远堂黄凤梨酥

202 Zhongshan Lu, Siming district
+86-0592-202-3968
Open daily 9 a.m.–10:30 p.m.

SIBEI PEANUT SOUP
思北花生汤

64 Siming Beilu (near Datong Lu), Simeng district
+86-0592-202-3968
Open daily 6:00 a.m.–3:00 a.m.

JUKEBOX RECORDS
点唱机唱店

Inside Shapowei Art Zone, 60 Shapowei Lu, First Floor, Siming district
+86-1379-929-2513
Open 2:30 p.m.–10 p.m.

FATFAT BEER HORSE BREWING COMPANY
胖胖啤酒马

: Inside Shapowei Art Zone, 60 Shapowei Lu, Simeng district
+1875.023.0350
facebook.com/fatfatbeerhorse/
Open 2:30 p.m.–10 p.m.
NOTE: still under construction, but owner confirmed it will be up soon); open 3 p.m.–1am Monday–Thursday; Noon–2 a.m. Friday–Sunday.

DISCOVER XIAMEN’S ART SCENE

  • Explore the city’s evocative and rejuvenated port district
  • Discover rare vinyl at Xiamen’s best music shop
  • Taste your way through flights of craft-brewed beer

When Xiamen’s once-prosperous fishing and ship-building port of Shapowei fell into evocative decay, it became ripe for a revival by artists. Cue an influx of hipsters creating massive murals, outdoor sculptures, and skateboarding ramps, replacing the centuries-old tableau of fishing boats bobbing in the harbor. The district’s disused industrial buildings now form the backdrop to the Shapowei Art Zone, home to a mix of ambitious startups and creative ventures, from nail salons and barber shops to dance studios and food stalls. Music junkies shouldn’t miss Jukebox Records, tucked within the main arts building. Flip through the stacks of vintage vinyl that music guru and owner Little Wang stocks from around the globe. Celebrate your rare record finds with a cold craft brew: look for the neon sign glowing with the motto “We love beer, so we make our own,” marking the entrance to the FatFat Beer Horse Brewery. Founded in 2003 by two German designers, the former fish processing factory now offers 25 selections in a dozen distinct styles. Sip their delectably frothy lager and enjoy Western-inspired bar snacks at the second-floor bar.
Shapowei Art Zone is an easy walk from the Conrad: turn left on the main road until you reach an intersection with three signs all indicating Shapowei. Head towards the center sign just left of the police stand. The entrance to the arts complex is illuminated by a large black sign with white characters.

JUKEBOX RECORDS
点唱机唱店

Inside Shapowei Art Zone, 60 Shapowei Lu, First Floor, Siming district
+86-1379-929-2513
Open 2:30 p.m.–10 p.m.

FATFAT BEER HORSE BREWING COMPANY
胖胖啤酒马

: Inside Shapowei Art Zone, 60 Shapowei Lu, Simeng district
+1875.023.0350
facebook.com/fatfatbeerhorse/
Open 2:30 p.m.–10 p.m.
NOTE: still under construction, but owner confirmed it will be up soon); open 3 p.m.–1am Monday–Thursday; Noon–2 a.m. Friday–Sunday.

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

  • Visit Xiamen’s most beautiful temple complex
  • Hike to the summit of pine-shrouded Wulao Mountain
  • Dine with monks at a fabulous vegetarian Buddhist restaurant

There are scores of Buddhist sites in and around Xiamen, but perhaps the most significant—and our favorite—is Nanputuo, a stunning Tang Dynasty temple not far from the Conrad, adjacent to Xiamen university. This ancient complex of gardens and pagodas is spread out at the foot of pine-clad Wulao Mountain (if you’ve got more than an hour to spare, opt for the invigorating 45-minute hike to the peak). At the temple’s main entrance, fall in step with the devoted by lighting a sandalwood joss stick, then bowing low three times in silent prayer. Continue through the main hall towards Guanyin, the multi-limbed Goddess of Mercy (and the deity to see for a blessing of compassion). Nanputuo is also home to a Buddhist institute, so you might spy saffron-robed monastic students dashing between their studies and prayers. Amble beyond the main hall and find a quiet spot by the tranquil koi pond, next to a pagoda with its roof curled upward in a gentle smile. There’s also a boutique selling (quite effective) meditation CDs, as well as a unique and highly prized incense made from aloe or agarwood (沉香). If time permits, dine with the monks at the Nanputuo Temple Vegetarian Restaurant, where you can choose a set menu or a la carte dishes (all menu entries in Chinese, and all Buddhist-approved). Be sure to come hungry—or share the set meal with a friend—as wasting food is very frowned upon.