Fujian is traditionally described as “八山一水一田”, translated in English as “eight part mountain, one part water, and one part farmland.” With a topography consisting of mountains, hills, and forests, it is the perfect place to go if you enjoy being in nature. Along with large areas of stunning scenery, the province also holds many tourist attractions, as well as many cultural sites from various Chinese dynasties, which have been preserved. The historical relics and legacies are perfect for those interested in Chinese history. Moreover, Fujian is famous for preparing seafood based on aroma, giving it a clean and fresh taste, unique from many other styles of Chinese cuisine.

Changle District, Fuzhou, Fujian

As a person of Fujianese descent, the first place I arrived in Fuzhou was my father’s hometown, Changle (长乐), an urban district of prefecture-level Fuzhou. Many older residents of Changle receive financial support from overseas, where over 7 hundred thousand Fuzhounese people work and live in the United States and Canada. In the US, a large percentage of Fujianese people live in New York City, present in all five of the boroughs. Ironically, I am also from New York City. Because of the number of natives that live overseas, Changle’s nickname is “Hometown of Overseas Chinese”. Since Changle sits very close to the ocean, the cuisine consists mostly of seafood and shellfish. One of my favorite dishes that my grandfather makes when I visit is 扁肉, pronounced “bian rou” and translated to “ground meat”. It is a Fujianese style wonton soup with a thinner wonton skin instead of the typical yellow. Another dish notable dish is 鱼丸 or fish balls in English. Fish balls are made from fish paste, sometimes with added filling, and then boiled or deep-fried, and traditionally served in soup. It is known for being chewy and bursting with sauce and favor.

鱼丸 (left), 扁肉 (right)
Source: Shyla Zou

Fuzhou, Fujian

Fuzhou is considered the architectural hub of Fuzhou, as well as serving as its capital. The center of Fuzhou has various shopping centers, restaurants, and small eats, letting you choose between shopping to your heart’s content or experiencing an authentic taste of Fuzhou. The downtown of Fuzhou has a section of preserved Min and Qing dynasty buildings, including a restored White Pagoda. Even though Fuzhou is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the world, you can still see a vivid mountain range in the background of high-rise buildings and skyscrapers.

Another one of my favorite notable foods in Fuzhou is 佛跳墙, pronounced fo tiao qiang and known in English as Buddha Jumps Over the Wall or Buddha’s Temptation. It is the Fujianese version of shark fin soup, the dish’s name comes from its supposed ability to entice vegetarian Buddhist monks to try the meat-based dish. The stew consists of a plethora of ingredients, including quail eggs, ginseng, mushrooms, chicken, shark fin, and fish maw. Some recipes and modified versions can contain up to thirty ingredients. Rice in favor and a state banquet dish of China, it is a must try.

Source: Yum of China

Minyue Rivertown, Fuzhou

Minyue Rivertown is a cultural tourist resort built partially on water. Visitors have the option of living in various hotels with traditional-style Fujianese architecture. The hotel I stayed in bordered the river where you are allowed to ride chinese-style boats, and at night was lit by multi-colored lights.

 There are many museums located within the resort where you can learn the history of Fujian and its people. Fujian was called the Region of Minyue during the Spring and Autumn Period, and the Prefecture of Min-Zhong during the Qin Dynasty. Now, Fujianese cuisine is sometimes referred to as Min Cuisine and Fujianese is referred to as Min Chinese. 

The attraction has daily activity schedules with the most popular being the water and light show, where dancers perform traditional-style Chinese dances that tell the story of Fujian and Fujianese people and how they built boats and used the bodies of water to their advantage to branch out and expand businesses.

Along with tourist attractions, the resort has a diverse selection of restaurants and small eats, where you can choose to eat traditional Min or Chuan style dishes, try traditional Fujianese snacks, or simply have skewers and a side of beer with some friends. Overall, Minyue Rivertown is a great place to learn about Fujianese history while eating good food and also having fun. The Fuzhou Yue Hotel that is coupled with the River Town has relatively cheap rooms and they usually have discount events if you buy the entry ticket that includes both the resort and the hotels.

Minyue Rivertown water and light show
Source: Shyla Zou

Tourism in Fuzhou Fuzhou is rich in tourist attractions where the architecture and cuisine really draw you in. If you get sick of the city, nature awaits you and if you are craving some fish balls the nearest corner restaurant will satisfy you. Currently, the Covid situation in Fuzhou has died down and there is no need for weekly PCR tests or a 48-hour health code to enter most places so you can roam as you please.