A survey of biogenic amine content of traditional Chinese fermented foods (douchi, sufu, fermented sausage, yulu, and shrimp paste) was carried out. Eight major biogenic amines including putrescine, cadaverine, histamine, phenylethylamine, tyramine, spermine, spermidine and tryptamine were separated by reversed-phase HPLC-DAD on Inertsil ODS-SP column after pre-column derivatisation with dansyl chloride. The results showed that spermine (1.65-3.96 mg 100 g(-1)), putrescine (0.20-10.89 mg 100 g(-1)), cadaverine (3.60-12.14 mg 100 g(-1)), and histamine (0.57-20.24 mg 100 g(-1)) were the most represented amines. All amines were detected in yulu, while sufu showed a much higher content of most amines. Shrimp paste showed the lowest level of total biogenic amines. Moreover, the composition and content of eight biogenic amines in the selected samples varied among different food types, origins and batches. Although the average content for each amine is within the range that may elicit direct adverse reactions, consumers should be aware of the potential synergistic effect among different amines and limit their consumption at each meal.