Summer is heating up here in Hainan, and after a full day of fun in the sun you are in need of something to cool you down! No idea what to do? Refresh yourself with one (or all, no judgement) of Hainan's top ten cooling summer snacks.
1. Hainan Mango Roll
The Hainan Mango roll consists of fresh juicy slices of mango wrapped in a delicate rice noodle wrapper, and topped with a drizzle of mango juice. This dish is not only tasty and cooling, but also beautiful. Instagram will never know what hit it.
2. Iced Calamansi Tea ½ð½Û²è
The calamansi is a small tropical fruit found only in Southeast Asia. Here in Hainan, the tart citrus fruit is a popular addition to thirst quenching iced tea. Try it with both green and black tea to see which suits you the best! Just find the nearest drink stall and order:
Calamansi black tea ½ð½Ûºì²è
Calamansi green tea ½ð½ÛÂÌ²è
3. Fried Ice ³´±ù
Fried ice is super cold, and super yum, because the flavor is up to you! Pick your favorite combination of fresh fruit, which will be blended with condensed milk and then ¡°stir-fried¡± until it is frozen into a kind of fresh fruit sorbet. (Kiwi/Banana/Apple is my personal favorite. Experiment to find yours!) Toppings including chopped nuts and raisins are optional. Find fried ice at Hainan's night markets and parks.
4. Fresh Coconut Ò¬×Ó
Coconuts? Yeah we have a few...
Dehydrated? Solve it quick with a fresh coconut. These are everywhere in Hainan! Hang out in your beach hammock sipping on a fresh cold coconut for a true island experience. When you finish your drink, bring it back to where you bought it, and the seller will chop your coconut open at no extra charge! Scoop out the coconut meat inside for a tasty and nutritious snack. It's a 2 in 1 treat!
5. Iced Hainan Coffee ±ùº£ÄÏ¿§·È
Hainan has the ideal climate and soil for growing coffee, so that's exactly what we are doing! You can buy Hainan coffee throughout the island, but for the full experience, head to Fushan, Hainan's coffee capital. Not only will you have all the coffee you can drink, but also the opportunity to see coffee beans ripening on the branch, tour the coffee museum, and learn about the history of how coffee came to Hainan.
6. Qingbuliang Çå²¹Á¹
Qingbuliang is a real Hainan summer evening specialty. Commonly sold from small carts on blisteringly hot Hainanese evenings, qingbuliang is a cool refreshing sweet dessert soup. When ordering you can choose which of the ingredients you'd like in your soup. Common options include dates, mung beans, barley, taro, watermelon, quail eggs, and glutinous rice balls. These are cooked together and then added to a base of either iced coconut milk or sweetened ice water ¨C your choice! I know, it sounds a bit strange, but once you try it, you'll fall in love with this essential Hainan snack!
7. Bubble Tea
South China is known as the home of Bubble Tea. What are those bubbles? They are made of pure deliciousness. Or perhaps tapioca balls. Choose a flavor! Chocolate, vanilla, red bean, coffee, any kind of fruit flavor you can think of, and more you probably didn't know existed. It's impossible to be unhappy while drinking bubble tea. This is a scientific fact. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself!
8. Chicken Dropping Soup ¼¦ÊºÌÙ
Ok, I know, I know. The name sounds... not so appetizing, ha! And, well, it kind of looks like what it's named for. Despite all that, this cooling dessert soup has ABSOLUTELY NO INGREDIENTS that came out of a chicken! It's actually made by with little dumplings containing a blended local vegetable. These are cooked and then mixed into a cold sweet soup, with either ginger or coconut milk. Try both varieties and see which you prefer!
9. Chilled Shanlan Rice Wine É½À¼¾Æ
This local rice wine is traditionally brewed by the Li Minority People in Baoting, Hainan. It's made from locally grown rice, and stored underground for three to five years. This gives Shanlan rice wine an unusually mild, sweet, and refreshing flavor. Locals say drinking it will give you youthful looks and could even help you live longer! Sign me up!
10. Cocktails by the Pool ¼¦Î²¾Æ
Summer of Shimei Bay, the themed drink at Le M¨¦ridien Shimei Bay Beach Resort in Hainan Photo: Courtesy of Le M¨¦ridien Shimei Bay Beach Resort
Is it simply too hot to leave the swimming pool? Can't fathom going out? Got it. In that case, you clearly need a bit of a pick me up. Why don't you stay right where you are. Just ask the pool attendant to bring you an ice cold cocktail and everything will be right with the world again! For extra points, see if they have any specialty Hainan cocktails. Many of the 5 star hotels in Hainan do, such as the ¡°Summer of Shimei Bay,¡± at the Le M¨¦ridien Shimei Bay Beach Resort. Or make your own signature Hainan cocktail with tropical Hainan fruit, and a locally brewed liquor, like Hainan Rum, Seahorse, or Shanlan Rice Wine! The possibilities are endless, just like summertime in Hainan.
by Nicki Johnson