Xi’An 西安 Bites – Street Food 小吃 and Hot Pot 火锅

ShaanXi province.

Street food, Xiǎo Chī (small eats), 火锅 in the Muslim Quarter ...

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From film-maker Kevin Cook :

For Xi'an, the old Silk Road trade route opened the doors to the culinary influence of other cultures, particularly Muslim culture, which is especially evident in the Muslim Quarter in the center of the city. This massive outdoor marketplace of roads and alleyways contains some of the most tasty, unique and interesting street foods in all of China.

Shaanxi Sandwich 牛肉夹馍 (Niúròu jiā mó) - 8 RMB
The first street food that I eat in this video is Nui Rou Jia Mo (beef sandwhich). Due to its origins in the Shaanxi Province, it’s often called the “Shaanxi Sandwich.”

Mutton soup with bread 泡馍 (Pào mó) - 38 RMB
This one isn't so much a street food as it is a full meal in a bowl. Pao mua is mutton soup with bread, and it requires a little bit of work to prepare. It's one of the hardiest dishes you can eat in Xi’an, and it’s absolutely amazing. For 38 Yuan, it’s more expensive than most dishes you’ll find around here, but it’s worth it.

Street Yoghurt 酸奶 (Suānnǎi) - 8 RMB
Sua nai, which literally means “sour milk,” is a sweet yoghurt drink sold in little white cups, and it’s especially satisfying on a hot day like today.

Beef jerky 牛肉干 (Niúròu gān) Price varies per kilo
Niu roy gan, or dried beef, is another delicious street snack available in all parts of the Muslim market place. Unlike similar looking beef jerky in the west, the variety that I bought in Xi'an has a much more distinct meaty flavor than any other beef jerky I’ve ever eaten.

Bread 楠 (Nán) - 5 RMB
Hailing originally from the XinJiang Province is a hardy flat bread that's sold all over Xi’an. The Uyghur people who bake this bread call it 'nan,' but Han Chinese call it 'nang.'

Skewered mutton 羊肉串 (Yángròu chuàn) 10 RMB/2 skewers
Thanks to vendors like the one in this video, the tempting aroma of juicy grilled meat permeates the entire marketplace. This snack is dripping with fat and seasoned to perfection, making this a rich, hardy Xi'an street snack.

Peanut Candy 花生糖 (Huāshēng táng) - 20 RMB/box
A few varieties of this sweet snack are available, and each requires an interesting method of preparation, such as pounding the candy with a mallet and stretching it out over a hook. The process of making this delicious street treat is even more fun to watch than it is to eat.

The beautiful Xi'An Expo park and Hot Pot, huǒ guō, 火锅 ...

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Bonus film - hand-pulled noodles

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From the Food Ranger, Trevor James :

Hand pulled noodles are found everywhere in China. These hand pulled noodles were so delicious, simply some of the best Chinese food you can have in all of China. They are featured in LanZhou LaMian restaurants everywhere.

Lanzhou LaMian AKA LanZhou hand pulled noodles are everywhere, and each restaurant has a very similar menu. These restaurants are usually very good for foreigners in China because they often have a huge picture menu all over the walls, so you can just point at what you think looks good. In this video, me and my local friend try two very amazing dishes : the DaPanJi, also known as the XinJiang big plate of beef, and then my other favorite noodle dish, the lamb and cumin on top of hand pulled noodles. These two dishes combined made a massive meal for two people.

So if you're a foreigner living in China or if you're just traveling in China for a short time, visiting a LanZhou hand pulled noodles restaurant is a MUST!

Xi'an, located in the heart of Shaanxi Province in northwest China, is one of the oldest cities in China and served as the capital for numerous dynasties, including the Qin, Han, and Tang. Renowned for its rich history, cultural heritage, and iconic landmarks, Xi'an is a must-visit destination for tourists. Here's a guide for tourists visiting Xi'an:

Historical and Cultural Significance:
Ancient Capital: Xi'an served as the capital of China for over 13 dynasties and played a crucial role in shaping Chinese history and civilization. It was the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, facilitating trade and cultural exchange between China and the West.

Terracotta Army: One of Xi'an's most famous attractions is the Terracotta Army, a vast collection of life-sized terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. Discovered in 1974, the Terracotta Army is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of China's rich cultural heritage.

Top Attractions:
Terracotta Army Museum: Located about 30 kilometers east of Xi'an, the Terracotta Army Museum is home to thousands of intricately crafted terracotta warriors, horses, and chariots. Visitors can explore the excavation pits, marvel at the craftsmanship, and learn about the history of the Qin Dynasty.

Ancient City Wall: Xi'an is renowned for its well-preserved ancient city wall, which dates back to the Ming Dynasty. Stretching over 13 kilometers in length, the wall offers panoramic views of the city and is a popular spot for walking, cycling, and sightseeing.

Muslim Quarter: Explore the vibrant Muslim Quarter, located near the Drum Tower and Great Mosque of Xi'an. This bustling neighborhood is known for its lively street markets, traditional Islamic architecture, and delicious street food, including lamb skewers, roujiamo (Chinese hamburger), and hand-pulled noodles.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda: Built during the Tang Dynasty, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a prominent Buddhist landmark in Xi'an. Visitors can climb the pagoda for panoramic views of the city or explore the surrounding temple complex and gardens.

Shaanxi History Museum: Discover the rich history and culture of Shaanxi Province at the Shaanxi History Museum. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts, including ancient pottery, bronze ware, jade, and Tang Dynasty murals, providing insights into the region's heritage.

Practical Tips:
Transportation: Getting around Xi'an is convenient with its extensive public transportation system, including buses, taxis, and the Xi'an Metro. Bicycle rentals are also available for exploring the city at a leisurely pace.

Weather: Xi'an has a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. The best time to visit is during spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is pleasant and comfortable.

Language: Mandarin Chinese is the official language spoken in Xi'an, although English may not be widely spoken, especially in more remote areas. It's helpful to learn some basic phrases or carry a phrasebook or translation app.

Currency: The currency used in China is the Chinese Yuan (CNY). Credit cards are accepted at most hotels, restaurants, and shops in urban areas, but it's advisable to carry cash for small purchases and transactions.

Xi'an offers a fascinating blend of ancient history, cultural heritage, and modern urban life, making it an enchanting destination for tourists seeking to explore the wonders of ancient China. Whether marveling at the Terracotta Army, walking along the ancient city wall, or sampling delicious street food in the Muslim Quarter, Xi'an has something to offer for every traveler.

Chinese cuisine is an intricate tapestry of flavors, techniques, and regional specialties that has evolved over thousands of years. From the fiery spices of Sichuan to the delicate dim sum of Cantonese cuisine, every region of China offers its own culinary delights. For visitors to China, exploring the diverse and dynamic world of Chinese food is an essential part of experiencing the country's rich cultural heritage. Here's a more extensive exploration of Chinese cuisine for visitors:

Regional Diversity:
Sichuan Cuisine: Hailing from the southwestern province of Sichuan, this cuisine is famed for its bold, spicy, and numbing flavors. Sichuan peppercorns, chili peppers, and aromatic spices are used liberally in dishes like Mapo Tofu, Dan Dan Noodles, and Sichuan Hot Pot, creating a symphony of flavors that tingles the taste buds.

Cantonese Cuisine: With its emphasis on fresh ingredients and delicate flavors, Cantonese cuisine is highly regarded for its seafood dishes, roasted meats, and dim sum. Steamed fish, Char Siu (barbecue pork), and Har Gow (shrimp dumplings) are just a few examples of the exquisite dishes that showcase Cantonese culinary mastery.

Shanghai Cuisine: Reflecting its coastal location and cosmopolitan history, Shanghai cuisine combines influences from Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui provinces. Sweet and Sour Mandarin Fish, Shanghai Soup Dumplings (Xiaolongbao), and Drunken Chicken are some of the signature dishes that highlight the diverse flavors and textures of this culinary tradition.

Beijing Cuisine: As the capital of China, Beijing boasts a rich culinary heritage deeply rooted in imperial traditions. Peking Duck, a dish with crispy skin and succulent meat served with pancakes and hoisin sauce, is a quintessential Beijing delicacy. Other notable dishes include Zhajiangmian (Beijing Noodles), Mongolian Hot Pot, and Beijing-style meat pies.

Hunan Cuisine: Known for its bold and aromatic flavors, Hunan cuisine features dishes that are spicy, sour, and intensely flavorful. Chairman Mao's Red-Braised Pork, Dong'an Chicken, and Steamed Fish Head with Chopped Chili exemplify the fiery and robust nature of Hunanese cooking, which makes ample use of chili peppers, garlic, and fermented ingredients.

Street Food and Snacks:
Jianbing: This savory Chinese crepe is a popular breakfast option, consisting of a thin pancake filled with eggs, scallions, cilantro, and various fillings such as crispy fried dough, pickled vegetables, or chili sauce.

Baozi: These steamed buns are filled with a variety of savory or sweet fillings, including pork, vegetables, or red bean paste. Baozi are a popular street food snack and can be found in teahouses, markets, and street stalls across China.

Roujiamo: Often referred to as Chinese Hamburgers, roujiamo features savory braised meat stuffed inside a flatbread, offering a hearty and flavorful snack that's perfect for on-the-go eating.

Dining Etiquette and Customs:
Family-Style Dining: Chinese meals are typically served family-style, with multiple dishes shared among diners seated around a table. It's customary to use chopsticks to pick up food from communal dishes and to serve elders before oneself.

Toasting and Ganbei: When dining with Chinese hosts, expect toasts (ganbei) with alcohol, usually baijiu (Chinese liquor). It's polite to reciprocate the toast and drink in moderation, but declining politely is acceptable if you don't drink alcohol.

Tea Culture: Tea is an integral part of Chinese dining culture, with a wide variety of teas available to complement different dishes. Green tea, oolong tea, and pu'er tea are among the most popular choices, and serving tea to guests is a sign of hospitality and respect.

Street Markets and Night Markets:
Wangfujing Snack Street, Beijing: Located near the Forbidden City, this bustling street market offers a wide variety of traditional snacks, street food, and local delicacies. Visitors can sample everything from scorpions on a stick to traditional Beijing snacks like Jianbing and Tanghulu (candied fruit skewers).

Shanghai Old Street, Shanghai: Nestled in the heart of the city's historic district, Shanghai Old Street is a bustling marketplace where visitors can explore narrow alleyways lined with traditional shops, street vendors, and food stalls. From steamed dumplings and stinky tofu to hand-pulled noodles and sugar-coated haws, there's something to satisfy every craving.

Dietary Considerations:
Vegetarian and Vegan Options: While Chinese cuisine traditionally features a wide range of meats and animal products, vegetarian and vegan options are becoming increasingly available, especially in larger cities and tourist destinations. Buddhist restaurants (????, ssh c?nt?ng) often offer meat-free versions of classic dishes, and plant-based ingredients like tofu, mushrooms, and seasonal vegetables are widely used in Chinese cooking.

Exploring the diverse and delicious world of Chinese cuisine is an essential part of any visit to China. From regional specialties and street food snacks to dining etiquette and cultural customs, the culinary landscape of China offers a rich tapestry of flavors, traditions, and experiences that are sure to delight and inspire visitors from around the world. Bon apptit!.

ShaanXi map

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