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Xian Food

Xian Food, Snacks & Cuisines | Xian Food Tours 2020/2021

As the ancient capital of China for over 13 dynasties, Xian inherited the most essential parts of Chinese food culture. Also, it is the terminal city of the Silk Road and got influenced by its large Muslim population. The various cooked wheaten food is renowned in the whole country and the popular cuisines include Flatbread in Mutton Soup, Meat Burger, Cold Noodles, Pepper Beef Ball Soup, Biangbiang Noodles, etc. Have a Xian Tour and enjoy more about the amazing food here!

1

Flatbread in Mutton Soup

• Chinese:羊肉泡馍 Pinyin: yáng ròu pào mó

• Type: Halal Food, Meat Soup with Bread

• Price: About CNY 20

• Best at: Laomi's Paomo Restaurant (Xiyangshi) 老米家大雨泡馍(西羊市店) (Location: No. 127 Xiyangshi, Lianhu District, Xi'an City 西安市莲湖区碑林区西羊市127号)

As the iconic dish in Xian, Paomo (Flatbread in Mutton Soup) is definitely unmissable. Starting with two pieces of pita bread in a bowl, you are asked to tear it into fingernail-sized small pieces. During this laborious but meticulous hand-pulling process, the locals chat and share with one another and they believe that this DIY version tastes much better than the machine-made. Then, return the bowl of these tiny crumbles and they will be dumped into the mutton soup and cooked until all the little bits get completely boiled and soaked.

A few beef or mutton slices will be put atop the mutton soup with flatbread crumbles, and a small plate of picked garlic is also served with it, and all the Paomo is ready to feast on. You can also fish out some dried bean curd cubes, vegetables, and thin rice noodles. Warm, mild, and fragrant, it is a kind of comfort food to stuff your stomach, especially in winter.

Xian Food

Flatbread in Mutton Soup (yáng ròu pào mó 羊肉泡馍)

Xian Food

Torn Flatbread Crumbles

2

Xi'an Meat Burger

• Chinese: 肉夹馍 Pinyin: ròu jiá mó

• Type: Snack, Meat, Burger, Street Food

• Price: About CNY 15

• Best at: Fan’s Roujiamo Restaurant (Zhubashi) 樊记腊汁肉夹馍(竹笆市店) (Location: 53 Zhubashi Street, Beilin District, Xian 西安市碑林区竹笆市街53号)

The meat burger, Chinese styled hamburger, is absolutely the most popular street food in Xian. The burger, the Mo in Chinese is baked leavened bread, flat and white, and the meat sandwiched inside has two versions: the halal styled fillings are usually shredded lean beef or lamb, and the Han styled meat burger is made with stewed pork and sometimes mixed with chopped vegetables. Holding one meat burger, it is crispy and chewy with bursting juice and meat overflowing after each bite. It is the most common food the relieve your hunger and you can always find one in almost every street of Xian.

Xian Food

Buying Meat Burger

Xian Food

Xi'an Meat Burger (ròu jiá mó 肉夹馍)

3

Cold Noodles

• Chinese: 凉皮 Pinyin: liáng pí

• Type: Rice Noodles, Vegetarian Friendly

• Price: About CNY 15

• Best at: Wei’s Liangpi Restaurant 魏家凉皮 (Location: Near the Giant wild goose pagoda in Yanta District, Xian 西安市雁塔区大雁塔附近)

Xian cold noodles, or Liangpi in Chinese, is a kind of sliced rice noodles which are made with steamed starchy water. Topped with cucumber and bean sprouts, mixed with chili oil sauce and garlic and pepper, the cold noodles taste silky and spicy. If you can not eat spicy food, you can choose sesame sauce instead. Nowadays, besides traditional white cold noodles, there are also cold noodles in purple, green and other different colors.

Xian Food

Colorful Steamed Cold Noodles

Xian Food

Cold Noodles (liáng pí 凉皮)

4

Biangbiang Noodles

• Pinyin: biǎng biǎng miàn

• Type: Noodles, Vegetables and Meat

• Price: About CNY 15

• Best at: Biangbiang面(南院门店) (Location: 80 Nanyuanmen, Beilin District, Xian 西安市碑林区南院门80号)

Known by the sound, biangbiang, of the hand-stretched noodles' making process, biangbiang noodles are the most popular noodles in Xian because of its deliciousness and unique name.

Even a literate Chinese can barely write this complex character, with 58 strokes in total. The noodles, actual, one whole wide piece in a bowl. Topped with thick stewed meat broth with assorted vegetables, such as potatoes, cabbages, carrots, dried bean curd cubes, biangbiang noodles taste chewy and savory, and sour and spicy if added with vinegar and chili oil.

Xian Food

Biangbiang Noodles

Xian Food

The Most Complicated Chinese Character "Biang"

5

Pepper Beef Ball Soup

Chinese: 胡辣汤 Pinyin: hú là tāng

Type: Soup, Meat and Vegetable

Price: about CNY 10

Best at: LaoLiu's Hulatang Restaurant 老刘家肉丸糊辣汤 (Location: 85 Dapiyuan Street, Lianhu District, Xian 西安市莲湖区大皮院85号)

The hulatang is a classic Hui street food found on a lot of corners in the Hui district of Xi’an. The first time I tried it, I was surprised by how numbing the flavor was. The Sichuan peppercorn they add into the thick porridge-like broth gives it a real kick, and when you add chili oil in as well, it’s quite spicy!

Hulatang is always served with a meat burger as a classic breakfast for Hui people in the Muslim quarter. Added with Sichuan peppercorn and starch, the soup looks brown and thick, taste spicy and salty and you will have a numb feeling of your tongue after eating for a while. The handmade beef balls and assorted vegetables like cabbage, potatoes, carrots are the main ingredients.

Xian Food

Pepper Beef Ball Soup Restaurant at Muslim Quarter

Xian Food

Pepper Beef Ball Soup (hú là tāng 胡辣汤)

6

Dumplings in Sour Soup

• Chinese: 酸汤水饺 Pinyin: suān tāng shuǐ jiǎo

• Type: Dumplings, Meat, Vegetable, Soup

• Price: About CNY 20

• Best at: Maer's Dumpling Restaurant 马二酸汤水饺 (Location: 131 Sajin Bridge Rd, Lianhu District, Xian 西安市莲湖区洒金桥131号路东)

You can find dumplings everywhere in China, while dumplings in Xian are known for the sour soup. The fillings are usually beef mixed with vegetables. To make soup sour, the vinegar goes first, and spices and some Chinese herbs were added to boil together. In the Muslim quarter, beef and chicken’s fat is also added together with the soup as well as some fired sesames. The mixed aroma released with every bite of the dumplings can be particularly addictive in winter.

Xian Food

Dumpling in Sour Soup (suān tāng shuǐ jiǎo 酸汤水饺)

Xian Food

Dumpling in Sour Soup (suān tāng shuǐ jiǎo 酸汤水饺)

7

Lamb Kebab

• Chinese:烤串儿 Pinyin: kǎo chuàn ér

• Type: Meat, Halal Food

• Price: about CNY 10

• Where to find it: Muslim Quarter, Yong Xingfang Night Market, etc

There are usually two kinds of Xi'an kebabs. Differentiated by the skewer, one is using iron sticks with small pieces of mutton which can be quickly baked. People always order lots of the skewers and share with friends, they are so addictive that you can get piles of iron sticks. There are also traditional lamb kebabs offering you bigger pieces of meat coated in chili pepper and cumin powder with the fragrance of the red willow wood.

Xian Food

Lamb Kebab on Iron Sticks

Xian Food

Traditional Lamb Kebab

8

Sticky Rice Cake

• Chinese: 桂花糕,镜糕

• Type: Snack, Vegetarian Friendly, Sticky Rice

• Price: about CNY 5

• Where to find it: Muslim Quarter, Yong Xingfang Night Market, etc

There are mainly 2 kinds of unique sticky rice cakes in Xian. They taste almost the same, but in a different name. The yellow-wheel shaped one, top layered with the dried dates, it is steamed and cut into small piece toward the inner circle, and named after a kind of sweet-scented flower, Guihuagao in Chinese. While there is another sticky rice cake, mirror cake, since the round rice cake is just like a little round mirror, it looks colorful and delicate and sometimes even the cartoon figure will be painted on it.

Xian Food

Sweet-Scented Flower Sticky Rice Cake (桂花糕)

Xian Food

Mirror Cake (镜糕)

9

Pomegranate Juice

• Chinese:石榴汁 Pinyin: shí liú zhī

• Type: Juice

• Price: About CNY 15

• Where to find it: Muslim Quarter, Yong Xingfang Night Market, etc

Xi'an’s autumn comes with pomegranates. Only in this city, people invented a special way to eat pomegranate and it soon becomes very popular: the freshly extracted pomegranate juice. Fresh pomegranate juice is very delicious. However, there are also some vendors who are selling the fake cups of juice among the freshly made ones, and the juice is always cheaper outside the scenic area.

Xian Food

Pomegranate Seeds

Xian Food

Pomegranate Juice (shí liú zhī 石榴汁)

10

Braised Sheep's Hooves

• Chinese:卤羊蹄 Pinyin: lǔ yáng tí

• Type: Halal Food, Meat

• Price: About CNY 15

• Where to find it: Muslim Quarter, Yong Xingfang Night Market, etc

If you would like to challenge yourself and try something new, the braised sheep’s hooves look horrifying for some people. After being braised for hours, the meat on sheep’s hooves become much softer. The interesting texture was described like rubber and you can find piles of sheep’s feet either in the boiling soup or arranged for display and sale. Pick one and try! Shake hands with the weirdly yummy hooves!

Xian Food

Braised Sheep's Hooves (lǔ yáng tí 卤羊蹄)

Xian Food

Braised Sheep's Hooves (lǔ yáng tí 卤羊蹄)

11

Black Egg

• Chinese: 烤咸鸭蛋 Pinyin: kǎo xián yā dàn

• Type: Egg

• Price: About CNY 3

• Where to find it: Muslim Quarter, Yong Xingfang Night Market, etc

Have you ever seen the black egg? The color is not because the egg goes bad. Together with the white ones, both of them are salted duck eggs, while the black ones get roasted on the wood fire. Cut into halves, you can tell the oil overflowing from the orange yolk. It goes great with soup, porridge, and flatbread.

Xian Food

Black Eggs (kǎo xián yā dàn 烤咸鸭蛋)

Xian Food

Yolk of the Black Egg

12

Persimmon Doughnut

• Chinese: 柿子饼 Pinyin: shì zǐ bǐng

• Type: Dessert, Flour, Raisin

• Best at: Yiguzhai Huanggui persimmon Cake Shop, 伊古斋黄桂柿子饼 (Location: 85 Beiyuanmen, Lianhu District, Xian(near Drum Tower)西安市莲湖区回民街北院门85号(近鼓楼))

Persimmon is common in China. The orange persimmon doughnuts are made of dried persimmon flesh and unleavened dough. Deep-fried until the interior filling is done, the persimmon doughnuts have a chewy texture, are a kind of sour-sweet with the fragrance of ripe persimmon.

Xian Food

Frying Persimmon Doughnut

Xian Food

Persimmon Doughnut (shì zǐ bǐng 柿子饼)

13

Baked Naan Bread

• Chinese:馕 Pinyin: náng

• Type: Bread

• Where to find it: Muslim Quarter, Yong Xingfang Night Market, etc

Naan is a kind of main food of Hui and Uygur people in Xian. It is unleavened flatbread baked in oven with nuts embossed on it. Though it taste plain, you can tear it into pieces and eat it with soup. It is dry, easy to carry, and can be stored for a long time.

Xian Food

Naan Bread (náng 馕)

Xian Food

Making Naan Bread

14

Hammered Candy

• Chinese: 手打糖 Pinyin: shǒu dǎ táng

• Type: Dessert, Nuts, Candy

• Best at: 永兴园 Yongxingyuan (Location: 80 Beiyuanmen, Lianhu District, Xian 西安莲湖区北院门80号)

Xi'an is a city obsessed with all kinds of nuts. To keep the nuts, the hammered candies are invented. It is interesting to watch how candy is made. The workers repeatedly fold and stretch hot sugar across a hook and the candy gets transferred to a large wooden stump, where it's sprinkled with nuts. Several other workers keep hitting the candy with nuts by using a wooden hammer. The sound and their lively movement actually attract many tourists.

Xian Food

Hammered Candy (shǒu dǎ táng 手打糖)

Xian Food

Hammered Nut Cakes

15

Dried Fruit

• Chinese:果干 Pinyin: guǒ gān

• Type: Raisin, Date

• Where to find it: Muslim Quarter, Yong Xingfang Night Market, etc

Wandering at the Muslim Quarter, you may encounter some groceries and most of them sell dried fruit like dates and raisins. Both of the dates and raisins are quite big. The raisin is like the thumbnail and some dried date is even bigger than a normal walnuts.

Xian Food

Dried Dates

Xian Food

Raisins

16

Recommended Xian Food Street and Night Market

Where to eat the most authentic Xian food? Besides the recommended restaurants in Xian, the food streets also offer you a massive gathering of Xian local cuisines. Among various food streets in Xian, the Muslim Quarter and Yongxingfang Area are the two most popular ones, especially at night. At Muslim Quarter, you can enjoy a lot Xian local food and snacks in halal style, while the food at Yongxingfang also includes cuisines of Han people. Besides, there are some popular food streets and their locations for your reference.

Beiyuanmen Night Market 北院门夜市

▶ Location: Bell-Drum Tower Square, Lianhu District, Xi'an 西安市莲湖区钟鼓楼广场

Eastern Street Night Market 东新街夜市

▶ Location: Eastern Street in the middle of Jiefang Road, Xian City. 西安市新城区解放路中段

Nanshaomen Night Market 南稍门夜市

▶ Location: Outside the South Gate in Yanta District. 西安市雁塔区南门外南稍门

Boshulin Night Market 柏树林夜市

▶ Location: Near Forest of Steles Museum, Duanlvmen, Xian City 西安市新城区端履门内,碑林博物馆旁

Xian Food

Muslim Quarter

Xian Food

Yongxingfang Night Market

Chinese Food Culture

Nourished by the five thousand years’ history and multiple nations and regions in the vast land, China’s food culture is more than what words can describe. Rooted in traditional Chinese philosophy, like Yin-Yang and Five Element and Confucianism, Chinese cuisine is beyond the food itself but an artwork of the creative minds. Under the guidance of Traditional Chinese Medicine, most of the Chinese cuisines are healthy and nutritious, pursuing to maintain people’s health, and even help the patients get healed.

Are you wondering about Chinese cooking process? Is that hard? around 100 cooking techniques have been formed over the development of Chinese food culture. The diverse cooking techniques show the wisdom of Chinese people and also help a lot on the sustainable development and reformation of the Chinese cuisines.

To enjoy the authentic Chinese flavour in a right way, Chinese dining etiquette plays a rather important role in Chinese food culture. Getting to know the Chinese etiquette will not only show one’s good self-cultivation and manners, but also help your understand the culture deeply and avoid making taboos accidentally to behave offensively to your Chinese host.

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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >