One of the greatest things about life in Hainan is the local coffee culture. Nowadays, with shops like Luckin and Starbucks proliferating everywhere, and Taobao selling espresso machines, getting a decent cup of coffee in China is nowhere near as difficult as it used to be for mainlanders. For us island folk however, it’s never been hard.
With the understanding that there are a number of quite promising new shops, today starts our Haikou Coffee Talks, a series of more than 20 of the best places in Haikou for a foreigner to get their caffeine fix.
When this series is finished releasing reviews, there will be a final roundup of all the shops with links to each detailed article.
Hundred Flavors 百回味茶园
Made-to-Order Window Menu and Drinks Menu.
This chaotic Hainanese dimsum and drinks restaurant is known as a laobacha (老爸茶) or ‘granddaddy’s teahouse’ since groups of old men hang around all day chatting, snacking and playing lotto.
Brewing with a Coffee Sock.
Coming from the same socioeconomic and cultural roots as a Singaporean kopitam, the savories are mostly Cantonese dimsum and the sweets are recognizably European style food that has been filtered through more than a century of localization.
All day pastry counter.
The coffee here is made in a traditional southeast Asian ‘coffee sock’ and served either hot (in a chipped tea pot) or over ice (in a beer mug). This is about as good as you can expect for something which costs RMB6 with unlimited free refills.
A beer mug of Iced Coffee with Sweetened Condensed Milk (RMB7) and a refill cup of iced black coffee are RMB1 each to pay for ice.
Bottomless Hot Coffee with Sweetened Condensed Milk (RMB6).
It may look black but there’s a lot of sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of the cup.
Laobacha are unique in that they open early for breakfast and again in the afternoon but are closed at lunch time. Most of them (and Hundred Flavors is no exception to this rule) have no menu, and the ones that do have a menu frequently aren’t selling the things listed.
Morning foods tend towards steamer trays of dimsum, fried noodles and soup dumplings. Afternoon foods include a different selection of dimsum, Macanese Egg Tarts and French Toast.
Egg Tarts (RMB7 for 3 at the time this photo was taken), Sugar Puffs (RMB10 for 5) and a steamer basket of Meatballs (RMB13).
French Toast and afternoon dimsum.
The staff will give you a dirty look for showing up at noon as this is both their rest time and afternoon prep but coffee and items from the bakery counter are always available.
Macanese Egg Tarts have been a thing here since long, long before KFC started making them.
In-house flaky pastry and plenty of egg custard.
Hundred Flavors 百回味茶园
Daily, 6am-6pm. No.16-8, Haitong Lu, Meilan District. See listing.
translator living in Hainan for 17 of her 19 years in China, Marian
Rosenberg is best known for her annual cycling trips through rural
China. These trips not only have her blogging on Cycleblaze (username:
brucianna) and helping people out on the Travel in China During Covid
groups (Cyclist Translator), they've also landed her in the Washington
Post's travel section and are the reason she has more than 40,000
followers on Douyin (我是凡一).
Would you like to promote your business, organization or product? Contact Vanessa Jencks via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on
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[Images by Marian Rosenberg for That’s]
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