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The food of Hainan resembles China's southern cuisine, with special use of the island's seafood and fruits, such as bananas, coconuts, mangoes and sugar cane.

A local favorite to try, if you're brave, is the Wenchang chicken (Wénchāng jī, 文昌鸡); a sort-of stir-fry made from chicken liver, ham, vegetables, sugar and white wine. It's available at most of the city's Hainan restaurants. Sanya is well-known for its numerous seafood restaurants such as Suan Long Seafood Restaurant, but it is also growing a great number of excellent Hunan, Dongbei, Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou eateries to cater to the diverse tourist population.

Two of the cities favorite restaurants are Nanshan Hotpot City and Dongbeiwang Restaurant which provide excellent alternatives to Sanya's many local seafood restaurants. Be aware that restaurants frequented by tourists have been known to take advantage of foreigners so make sure you confirm the price of the dish before ordering.

Food can get expensive inside hotels or in tourist areas, so if you're on a budget, seek out cheaper meals in the food stalls at Sanya's markets or along Jichang Dong Lu. For the city's best treat, chop the top off a coconut and stick in a straw—a refreshing drink for just RMB 2.

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