How to Get Your Taste Buds Tantalized in Xi’an
As a food lover’s dream destination the Chinese city of Xi’an is not only the home of the iconic terracotta soldiers. Xianese culinary practices date back centuries while the area’s cuisine is among the oldest culinary schools in the world. Located at the entrance to the Silk Road Xi’an’s cuisine is akin to China’s traditional fare. From sampling its own brand of noodles and bread to digging into the best dumplings, here are some tips on how to dine your way through Xi’an’s finest food.
1. Classic Cold Noodles
Often regarded as one of the must-try items when in Xi’an cold noodles are a local specialty well worth seeking out when holidaying in the scenic tourist Mecca. Comprised of rice noodles that have been thinly cut and cooled, the noodles are typically served with an assortment of dressings which includes chili oil sauce, powdered pepper, cucumber slices, bean sprouts as well as garlic and vinegar. Ideal for those who love spicy Chinese fare the silky consistency of the noodle is what sets it apart from other noodle dishes in the area. Locals love to enjoy a bowl of cold noodles with a bottle of a soda named Ice Peak and with a serving of Roujiamo.
2. Explore Xi’an’s Hot and Sour Dumplings
Although one may fancy themselves a dumpling expert, you have not had authentic dumplings until you have tried the hot and sour dumplings in Xi’an. Known as “suantang shuijiao” in the local tongue the dish consists of dumpling served in a hot and sour broth. A veritable explosion on the palate the broth or soup is typically infused with cilantro, sesame seeds, and leeks to pack in the flavour. Available in the iconic Tongshengxiang Restaurant and countless other eateries near Xian hotels, apartments and accommodation providers the likes of Citadines Central Xian one is never too far from a venue serving this delectable delight.
3. Don’t Forget Local Beverages
Travellers who are in search of authentic and traditional Xi’an beverages or thirst quenchers should look no further than a fresh glass of “shiliuzhi” or Pomegranate juice served in the many pop-up kiosks across the city. Announcing the arrival of autumn to locals and visitors alike the fruit which is only available during the fall season serves as a refreshing drink that hails from the region known for the terracotta soldiers. Abundantly found in the city’s Muslim Quarter the drink is one of the finest fresh juices one can enjoy in Xi’an.
4. Sample Iconic Biangbiang Noodles
Synonymous with its unique name which is denoted with a Chinese character with a whopping 58 strokes you know Biangbiang Noodles are going to be worth your while in terms of taste as well. The thick and long noodle verity is ranked among the “10 strange wonders of Shaanx”. The long noodle can often fill one entire bowl with one strand and is very chewy in spite of its savoury flavour. Served with bok choy, garlic flakes and red peppers on top the Biangbiang Noodles are also drizzled with vinegar and hot oil just before setting it on the table. Available at Laoliujia Biangbiangmian more complex interpretations of the classic dish can also be found in Xi’an.
5. Try Dumplings with a Difference
Known as Tangbao this is another soupy dumpling variety that Xi’an residents claim is one of their most traditional dishes although most Chinese food connoisseurs associate the dish with Shanghai. Using different meat fillings than the pork used in Shanghai’s version of the dish, the thinly wrapped snack item is a comfort food for locals. Served with its own dip infused with chill and vinegar you will find this local specialty at most dining establishments around Xi’an.
6. Hit the Dessert Stand for some Zenggao
Normally consumed as a breakfast dish the rice and date cake known as Zenggao is the perfect dessert for those in search of conventional Chinese glutinous rice. Appealing in its appearance the sweet tasting delicacy which resembles a layered cake is a specialty of Dongnanya Zenggaowang.