China/Hainan: Hainanese Food Recap

Hainanese cuisine is quite distinct and different from the mainland China – it’s much lighter, less greasy/deep fried/triple-grilled or quadruple-boiled. Being an island, Hainan’ a main emphasis is on the seafood and shellfish in particular. During a special seafood hot pot, I used about 20 seafood ingredients, about a dozen of them being shells! Hairy crab is abundant and delicious, and weird scallops (long flat shells) are to die for. Perhaps the most famous Hainanese food is undoubtedly Wengchang chicken that is famous world-over well beyond China – it’s a special breed of small free range chicken that is slowly boiled whole until very very tender and then chopped and served with light dipping sauce. Another truly Hainanese dish was the sticky sweet rice baked in either bamboo or coconut shells. And finally – sea cucumbers (and I still don’t understand why some cost almost nothing when grilled on a stick while others were about $20-40 per one of them when prepared whole – guess I am not a sea cucumber expert!