Fujian cuisine prevails in Xiamen, but a few decades of heavy colonial influence left their mark. As a result, everything seems authentic, from the local soups to the foreign steaks.
As expected from an island city, seafood is the most popular local ingredient. Not only that, but the best restaurants stand on or near the water and offer excellent views in the afternoon and evening. Adding to the atmosphere, many of the restaurants in the colonial district are housed in century-old mansions.
Peanuts are featured prevalently in Fujian cuisine. Peanut soup (huasheng tang) is sweet and seems simple, but it's actually quite complicated to make. It is usually paired with steamed buns or dim sum. Visitors are likely to find that the local cuisine is easy on their foreign palates.
Huli is a particularly upscale neighborhood dominated by the success of the Mandarin Hotel. Beyond the world-class restaurants in the Mandarin, there are a range of other dining option in Huli fit for traveling business executives and those trying to impress.
The island is popular with tourists and has a built-up dining scene. Rows of teahouses and restaurants here line the pedestrian avenues and specialize in seafood. Prices are higher here, but the atmosphere is worth it. A few inexpensive food stalls and noodle shops are also in the area.
This downtown district has Xiamen's broadest selection of restaurants, with a mix of Chinese and international options. Many of the eateries here cater to the late-night club crowd with inexpensive snacks and noodles.