Xi’an was once the capital of China during 13 dynasties. Xi’an not only has a proud history but its fancy foods can satisfy your fastidious taste buds. Dining like a native and discovering the most delicious Xi’an food is a must-do experience. Don’t get entangled with so many tasty snacks — we have listed the top 10 foods/snacks you should try in Xi’an:
1. Yangrou Paomo, Flatbread in Mutton Soup
- Local people’s recommendation: the most representative dish in Xi’an
- Taste: aromatic, fresh, salty, and spicy
- Ingredients: bread, mutton, vermicelli, sweet garlic, coriander, chopped green onion, and ginger
- Where to eat it: Laoliujia Yangrou Paomo, 87 Beiyuanmen, Beilin District
Tear pieces of bread into the mutton soup and then mix in some special sauces — now your bowl of yangrou paomo is ready. Soup is the most important part of yangrou paomo. Generally speaking, a pot of fresh soup needs to be boiled for 8 to 12 hours. Before tasting it, the aromatic smell will make your mouth water.
2. Biangbiang Mian, Biangbiang Noodles
- Local people’s recommendation: Dressed with chili oil, biangbiang mian is the favorite daily dish.
- Feature: The noodles are very long — one noodle can fill up a whole bowl.
- Taste: spicy
- Ingredients: flour, soy sauce, and red hot pepper
- Where to eat it: Laoliujia Biangbiangmian, 87 Beiyuanmen, Beilin District
Floury food is the main type of daily food enjoyed in Xi’an, and visitors notice this custom easily, such as the various types of noodles and the numerous ways to make them. Biangbiang noodles are one of the most famous types. Its name, biang, refers to the sound it makes when being made: in order to have a nice floury taste, the cooks need to hit the flour dough. If you like spicy food, adding a spicy-flavored oil is very hot and exciting for your mouth.
3. Xi’an Liangpi, Cold Noodles
- Local people’s recommendation: A bowl of liangpi with a roujiamo is the best combination.
- Taste: fresh, salty, and spicy
- Ingredients: flour, salt, sugar, pepper, and cucumber
- Where to eat it: Shengzhiwang Sesame Liangpi, 252 Dapiyuan West, the Muslim Quarter
Spicy oil, vinegar, and sesame seeds are often added in Xi’an’s floury dishes, and liangpi is one of them. A fresh bowl of liangpi is very popular in Xi’an, especially in summer. This famous and remarkable dish is made with flour, cucumber, and many sauces. The most popular way for local people to eat it is with a roujiamo and a drink called xianfeng.
4. Roujiamo, a Xi’an Meat Burger
- Local people’s recommendation: It’s really tasty and you will love it.
- Taste: salty, fresh, and appetizing
- Ingredients: flour, pork or mutton
- Where to eat it: Zhangji Roujiamo, 227 Cuihua Road, Yanta District
Perhaps roujiamo is the most famous snack in Xi’an because of its wonderful taste and juicy filling. It looks like a hamburger and many people call it a “Chinese hamburger”. The ingredients for making a successful roujiamo are very strict: the meat must be lazhi pork while the bread must be a baiji bread bun. A mouthful of roujiamo is unforgettable.
5. A Dumpling Feast
- Local people’s recommendation: unique, vivid, and beautiful feast of Chinese dumplings
- Feature: various dumplings, you can’t find this dish in other cities
- Ingredients: flour, meat, vegetables, and eggs
- Where to eat it: Jiaozi Restaurant, Xi’an Jiefang Road
Many people say: “You haven’t been to Xi’an if you haven’t visited the Terracotta Army. It’s the same if you haven’t eaten a dumpling feast”. Dumplings is one of the most representative types of Chinese food, which is well-known worldwide. It’s not just a visual surprise but also an appetizing reward to eat a feast of dumplings.
6. Fenzhengrou, Steamed Beef and Wheat Powder
- Local people’s recommendation: a special spicy meat in the Muslim Quarter
- Taste: spicy or sweet
- Ingredients: pork, beef, mutton, onion, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and lard
- Where to eat it: Mamaoyi Fenzhengrou, W Yangshi, Lianhu District
The Muslim Quarter is a food lovers’ paradise because there are so many snacks particular to Xi’an that you can taste there. Fenzhengrou is the most typical Muslim food, which is made from special spicy meat. It’s a local dish that can be made to suit your taste preferences, whether you prefer spicy or sweet food. Other ingredients that accompany the dish are mushrooms, pumpkin, lotus roots, and sweet potato.
7. Tangbao, Soup Dumplings
- Local people’s recommendation: much tastier than the soup dumplings found in Shanghai
- Taste: juicy, soft, and fresh
- Ingredients: flour, pork, and sauces
- Where to eat it: Jiasan Guantangbao, 93 Beiyuanmen Lianhu, Xi’an
Filling Xi’an soup dumplings is a fastidious task: you should prepare the freshest meat, the softest flour, and add over 10 sauces. Shanghai soup dumplings are very famous and regarded as the tastiest, but the Xi’anese definitely disagree with this.
8. Hulatang, Nourishing and Spicy Soup
- Local people’s recommendation: one of the most popular snacks around Xi’an
- Taste: spicy
- Ingredients: pepper, diced beef, bone soup, salt, fine vermicelli, lilies, peanuts, bean curd, and fungus
- Where to eat it: 5 Nanshaomen Zhongmao Square, Beilin District
A fresh soup with a tempting color is a big surprise for a hungry person. In the morning, the Xi’anese like to drink it with other floury foods for their breakfast. Every food that’s eaten with it must match the delicious taste. Today, it is regarded as the most famous and popular snack around Xi’an. Everyone knows that the Xi’anese adore floury food, so it’s no surprise that it’s also popular in Xi’an.
9. Zenggao, a Glutinous Rice and Date Cake
- Local people’s recommendation: a traditional snack and only common in Xi’an
- Taste: sweet and sticky
- Ingredients: glutinous rice, red jujubes, and red beans
- Where to eat it: Yangshi Street, Beilin District
Zenggao is a special local food that’s only served in Xi’an. Steaming glutinous rice, red jujubes, and red beans are mixed together, making Zenggao a sweet and sticky dish. Zeng was the name for a very ancient container used to steam food in the past and it was made from pottery, bronze, or iron. Generation after generation, zengs have been inherited to this day. Food that has been steamed in a zeng has a distinctive taste that you will enjoy.
10. Huluji, Roasted Whole Chicken
- Local people’s recommendation: the first dish to start a meal with in Shaanxi Province
- Taste: fresh
- Ingredients: clean and tender chicken
- Where to eat it: Xi’an Restaurant, 110 South Street, Beilin District
As the first dish to start a meal with, huluji is an essential food if you have a meal in Xi’an. It’s also an ideal dish for meat lovers because the dish is made with a whole chicken and you can enjoy it happily. To cook huluji, it must be boiled, then steamed, and finally fried. Add various sauces to the golden chicken, which is crispy and tasty. You will be content if you taste a mouthful of this chicken dish.
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