Sanya is a hot spot for tourism in China. It’s considered the Hawaii of China, and every Christmas and Spring Festival tourists flock to the beaches to catch some sun and do some surfing. It is quite possibly one of the most touristy areas in China, and it’s easy to see why.
I do think that a lot of tourists make the mistake of never leaving Sanya though. Aside from a few days trips, people head to the south coast of Hainan province and don’t really venture out to the rest of the island. It’s a shame, because there’s so much more to Hainan than just Sanya! The island’s capital, for example, has been one of the highlights of our trip!
We didn’t get to spend a lot of time in Haikou, unfortunately, but we made the most of the time we had. There were 2 things that really stood out to us in this city (aside from seeing our friends Jonathan and Duygu, of course): The Food and the Volcano Park.
We tried several great restaurants in Haikou. The first was for Christmas dinner. The Chimac is a popular western restaurant. The owner, David Chon, is a Korean American who clearly takes pride in his restaurant. He put together a special menu for Christmas dinner and we were lucky enough to get a table. I was so impressed with the smoked salmon! They smoked it themselves and ran out so quickly that they had to get more in before their Christmas event!!
Chimack is not the only place to get great food in Haikou either. We also enjoyed a great dinner at an Indian restaurant near the train station and University. Chilli Delhi honestly had some of the best Indian food I’ve had in China, and at much better prices than we pay in Suzhou. Best of all, there’s no loss of quality!
Our favorite foodie stop in Haikou though, was for breakfast. Now… I’m not really much of a fan of Chinese breakfasts. I’ve never cared for congee, which is essentially watery rice, and the dough sticks are pretty flavourless. I did like the spicy pancakes they serve in Guiyang, but overall, I generally stick with fruit here, if I have breakfast at all. Of course, there is 1 exception to this general rule of mine: DIM SUM!!
When we found out about Yipinwei Food Garden, we knew we were going… Even if we had to drive the wrong way across the city to get there (which is exactly what we did). We were not disappointed! The food was fabulous. The service was fast and efficient. The price was amazing!! From start to finish we were impressed. The first thing our server asked when we sat down was if we wanted coffee! I think this was the first time that ever happened to us living in China! There are plenty of coffee shops in Haikou… Just one more thing making it a great city!!
Honestly, as I write this, I wish I was back there now! If we lived in Haikou, we would be at Yipinwei Food Garden every weekend!! Unfortunately, there isn’t much about the place available in English online, but the link I imbeded above does at least give you the address. (Just click on the blue text!) I encourage you to try the place out!!
We didn’t have a single disappointing meal in Haikou, but food isn’t the only reason to make a trip to Hainan’s capital! I’ll be writing more about that in my next post!
Huge thank you to Jonathan and Duygu who recommended all these awesome places!