Destination Review: Quanzhou’s Delicacy Street

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Stuff your face full of great food and catch a glimpse of a not-yet-gentrified snack street

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If you’re taking a trip to Quanzhou, the city’s Delicacy Street –美餐食街 – Meican Shi Jie – is a great place to grab some grub after a long day of site-seeing.  You can start from the arch on Jinhuai Jie and head north up any of the streets to find row upon row of small street-side snack stands, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, cafes and even more upscale places.  The street is swamped with e-bikes and people from all walks of life jostle to get their you bing (fried bread) and nai cha (milk tea) on the way back from work and school.

Anna and I got here via taxi and then walked up West Street – 西街 – Xi Jie – toward the Kaiyuan Temple 开元寺.  This temple itself is beautiful and fascinating and is apparently the largest Buddhist temple in Fujian.  It is said to have been built during the Tang Dynasty and while it’s often difficult to gauge the actual antiquity of many structures in China since so many temples were destroyed and rebuilt during the country’s many historical upheavals, the twin pagodas here do look quite old at the very least.  Some of the architectural details of the temple were influenced by the local Tamil community present in the 13th century, including remnants of a Hindu temple on the same spot dedicated to the god Shiva.  Anna and I had no clue about the significance of this temple when we arrived and so didn’t explore as much as we could have.  We’ll rectify that on our second trip.

How to Get There:

For Delicacy Street: Take bus 9 to 美食街 – Měishí jiē – or take buses 1, 2, 7, 12, 15, 23, 33 to 温陵医院 – Wēn líng yīyuàn – or take buses 23 or 28 to 小商品街口 – Xiaoshāngpin jiē kou.  These bus stations are all on Wenling Bei Lu.  From these stations head west down the nearest alley or road you can to Delicacy Street.  You can also take buses 1, 5, 14, 26, or 35 to 津坂路口 – Jīnban lùkou – and head east up Jinhuai Street and turn right onto Delicacy Street.

For Kaiyuan Temple: Take buses 2 or 40 to 开元寺 Bus Station.

Cool Stuff Nearby:

Quanzhou Maritime Museum

 

Detail on Quanzhou’s “balcony buildings” or 骑楼 (qilou) – a style of architecture popular during China’s Republican period in the first half of the 20th century.

 

Balcony buildings or 骑楼 (qilou).

 

 

The Renshou Pagoda at the Kaiyuan Temple 开元寺.

 

A longma 龙马 or “dragon horse” in the Kaiyuan Temple.

 

A restaurant we went to selling traditional Minnan cuisine.

 

麻糍 or maci, a delicious sesame, peanut brittle and sticky rice confection.

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