The Street Food of Xi’An | 50 Eats In China’s Street Food Capital

It takes only three words, spoken to your taxi driver: “Hui Min Jie”. In Mandarin Chinese, they translate to Muslim Street (回民街); they are the magic words that unlock the doors to a world of street eating that, were you to sample a different dish every single meal, you would be lucky to get through them all in less than a month. Welcome to Xi’An (西安): one of China’s most famous cities for casual eating. Come for the Terracotta Warriors, never leave because you won’t fit into a plane seat when you’re done at this street food capital.

Dates of Visit: 26/1/2017 – 8/2/2017

Here’s a fun & surprising fact: I’m ethnically Chinese. Yeah, that probably wasn’t fun nor surprising. Okay, here’s something you probably don’t know about me: I was born in Xi’An, China, located in the Shaanxi province (it’s one of the middle ones, heh). I spent the first seven years of my life there, and as such it’s a place close to my heart, particularly my palate: after all, what you ate when growing up significantly influences your outlook later in life.

You’ve probably never heard of Xi’An, but you likely know about the Terracotta Warriors. Most tourists visit Xi’An do so to marvel at the incredible clay army built to guard the first emperor of China. While Xi’An obviously possesses a veritable smorgasbord of culture (with over 3100 years of continuous habitation, it is one of China’s oldest cities), at the end of the day, you still have to eat. With such a long history, it’s no surprise that Xi’An’s food scene paints a rich tapestry in its own right.

This post could have easily been a list of restaurants at which I ate during my 2017 Chinese New Year trip to Xi’An. However, I decided to take the route that, quite frankly, is where the true soul of the city lies: street food. While I ate at some nice restaurants, it is street food that keeps drawing me back. Xi’An has countless street food districts, but the ultimate place to hit up for a first-timer is undoubtedly Muslim Quarter (or ‘street’, though this is a bit of a misnomer as it’s really a precinct). Here at Muslim Street, you can find almost every dish in this post, and of course, plenty more. Remember: Hui Min Jie. Remember those words.

Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

And this crowd is on a GOOD day…

Some pro-tips, before we get into the meaty gritty:

  1. With countless alleys in which to lose yourself, you’ll do well to avoid eating from stalls located on the ‘main’ Hui Min Jie street, which is shown in the picture above. See some pictures at the very end of this post for less touristy areas: the prices are a bit cheaper, the quality is often better, and not being bumped by the crowd every two seconds is priceless.
  2. While I did tell you to try and avoid the more touristy areas, the rule of ‘find the longest line and join it’ applies, as it would anywhere else.
  3. Try to score freshly-made food. While that’s occasionally the default (made to order), other items are cooked and then left to sit on a tray/counter; the difference can be striking. Use the words “wo yao xin xian de –  我要新鲜的” (I want a fresh one) to make the request. If the vendor refuses, keep walking – a freshly made one is worth it and there are plenty around.
  4. Go early, and don’t drive yourself – good luck finding parking if you do!

Without further ado, let’s get to the list!

My Top Picks

Other Savouries

Other Sweets

My Top Picks

If you don’t tick off at least five of these, you haven’t been to Xi’An as far as I’m concerned. Prepare your stomachs.

1 羊肉泡馍/小炒 (yang rou pao mo / xiao chao)

羊肉泡馍 (yang rou pao mo) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

羊肉泡馍 (yang rou pao mo)

Average price you should pay: 30-40RMB (basic) / 40-55RMB (superior)

The poster child for Xi’An street food, and a must-eat of mine every time I revisit, yang rou pao mo (flatbread in lamb soup) is a creation wholly unique to Xi’An. Rumoured to have been invented by accident over a thousand years ago, it’s a textbook combination of diced Chinese flatbread (the mo) soaked in an aromatic lamb broth, and served with succulent lamb meat. What makes the dish so damn good – number 1 good – is the fragrancy and meaty depth of the clear broth, and the way it’s soaked up by the leavened flatbread. It’s savoury, rich in umami, fat, and it’s one of the few soup dishes in Xi’An that isn’t noodle-focussed; it’s in its own category. Yang rou pao mo should always be served with sugar-pickled garlic (tang suan – 糖蒜), and chilli sauce.

羊肉泡馍 (yang rou pao mo) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

羊肉泡馍 (yang rou pao mo)

There are beef variations for those who don’t like lamb, but the latter is what you should try if you want the OG. Most vendors will also offer “basic” (pu tong – 普通) and “superior” (you zhi – 优质) options, with frills including extra lamb, daylily roots, and wood ear fungus. These additions, while common, are not essential to the pao mo experience – basic will save you money. Pao mo restaurants will also allow you to tear up the mo yourself, which you should attempt: the deliberately inconsistent nature of a DIY approach allows the soup to infuse each small piece of mo better than any mechanical method. The trick is to try and keep a little bit of flatbread crust on each piece, and to tear it up small. A good pao mo should have a rich, complex broth, mo that is baked in a clay/mud oven, and top-quality lamb.

Yang rou pao mo is one of the heaviest things you could eat while touring Xi’An’s streets. To save space, order a bowl with just one mo and/or share. You’ll thank me later.

A variation you may see on pao mo is xiao chao. This is almost the exact same dish, except the contents of the bowl are actually toss-fried in a wok before serving and there’s much, much less broth used. The result is a bowl of pao mo with greater flavour concentration, a much hotter kick of chilli (this is negotiable, but come on now), and is a fair bit saltier. Xiao chao is for people who have either already tried pao mo, or those who prefer their flavours truly intense – that’s the Northern Chinese spirit!

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2 肉夹馍/菜夹馍 (rou jia mo / cai jia mo)

Average price you should pay: 5-8RMB

The trouble with a list is that people will automatically assume that #1 is better than #2, which is better than #3 and so on. While it’s true that yang rou pao mo is truly my go-to eat every time I’m back in Xi’An, rou jia mo (meat in mo) is in no way a second class citizen, as this is also a dish on which I overindulge at any opportunity. Technically a burger, rou jia mo was invented in roughly 200BC, and thus could be considered the world’s oldest burger.

Once again, like most street food, there’s nothing ostentatious going on here: it’s Chinese flatbread (mo), cut in half and filled with hand-chopped aromatically stewed pork, lamb or beef. That. Is. It. So simple, you could make it at home, right? Good luck to you: with up to 20 difference spices used, and the fickle nature of clay ovens, it’s not so simple to replicate.

肉夹馍菜 (rou jia mo) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

肉夹馍菜 (rou jia mo)

A good rou jia mo will have a satisfyingly crunchy ‘crust’ in the mo, whilst retaining doughiness on the inside not unlike a dense sourdough. The meat should be juicy, succulent, and absolutely delicious. It is not customary to include extras such as chilli, vegetables, or any other condiments. The meat is already full-flavoured – it should need nothing else. If you do see a vendor selling rou jia mo with loads of extras, that is fine – RJM has now been adopted and eaten all over China – it’s just not the original Shaanxi version. For those particularly picky about lineage, the pork version of RJM is the original (and easily the tastiest). However, due to religious restrictions on consuming pork on Muslim Street (duh), you’ll have to venture elsewhere in Xi’An to get the porky stuff – no fear, they’re everywhere!

菜夹馍 (cai jia mo) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

菜夹馍 (cai jia mo)

A vegetarian version, the cai jia mo (vegetables in mo) exists, so vegetarians aren’t left out of the loop! However, with salted egg, it’s not vegan-friendly.

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3 凉皮/麻酱凉皮/面皮 (liang pi / ma jiang liang pi / mian pi)

凉皮 (liang pi) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

凉皮 (liang pi)

Average price you should pay: 10-15RMB

Slippery, cold, and hitting all of your flavour receptors, liang pi (cold skin ‘noodle’) is not a dish to be missed. Rice flour (sometimes wheat) is made into what looks like noodles using a rather laborious method, and is served cold with vinegar, hot chilli oil, garlic, julienned cucumbers & bean sprouts for texture. Good liang pi vendors often differentiate themselves on their sauce, which is literally the secret sauce. It has to be sweet, acidic, tangy, nutty, and savoury all at the same time. Some places will serve liang pi with mian jin – 面筋 (solid wheat gluten), which is insanely effective at soaking up the sauce, and adds a chewy, spongy texture to the dish.

麻酱凉皮 (ma jiang liang pi) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

麻酱凉皮 (ma jiang liang pi)

A common variant to the standard liang pi is ma jiang liang pi (sesame paste liang pi), which is the same strained rice noodles, but instead mixed in with a sauce that’s heavy on black or brown sesame. The result is a much richer, and perhaps more satisfying dish, with a nuttier taste profile. While still served cold, ma jiang liang pi would be my go to liang pi variant in winter.

面皮 (mian pi) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

面皮 (mian pi)

Another form liang pi takes is be the mian pi, with wider, thinner, tougher noodles. These are also sometimes served hot.

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4 水煎包 (shui jian bao)

水煎包 (shui jian bao) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

水煎包 (shui jian bao)

Average price you should pay: 2RMB each (usually sold as 3 for 5RMB etc.)

Shanghainese pan-fried pork buns are world famous, no doubt about it. A similar-but-different version unique to Xi’An is the shui jian bao (water fried bao). Yes, this is actually what it sounds like: smallish balls of dough destined to become fluffy bao are placed, en masse, into a giant frying/steaming pan as big as a paella pot, doused with oil and a whole lot of water, and then covered. During this stage, magic happens: the bottom of the bao slowly fry to a golden crispiness, as the oil remains separate from the water at the bottom of the pan. Concurrently, the water evaporates and steams the bao from the top, with the result being perfectly-steamed bao with perfectly-crunchy golden bottoms – and it’s never burnt as well due to water’s excellent consistency of heat dispersion!

Shui jian bao Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

Shui jian bao in the making

水煎包 (shui jian bao) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

水煎包 (shui jian bao) next steps

As a breakfast dish, it’s a bit harder to find shui jian bao, so you’ll have to get up early!

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5 肉饼 (rou bing)

肉饼 (rou bing) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

肉饼 (rou bing)

Average price you should pay: 10RMB

Rou bing (meat bread disk) is a classic snack that serves a similar function to rou jia mo. The difference is that rou bing has its meaty (and vegetable) filling interspersed consistently throughout the dough as it’s being rolled. The cooking procedure is also different: the entire doughy disk (bing is the name for any circular dough-based product) is deep fried, producing layers and layers of flaky dough comparable to a damn good croissant. Take a big bite, and the savoury, chive-heavy filling is just…godly. I’m so done here.

肉饼 (rou bing) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

肉饼 (rou bing) in the making

肉饼 (rou bing) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

肉饼 (rou bing)

The most common versions you’ll see in Muslim Quarter are beef and lamb. Pork is available in other parts of Xi’An, but beef is a good call for rou bing.

肉饼 (rou bing) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

肉饼 (rou bing)

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6 烤肉串/红柳烤肉 (kao rou chuan / hong liu kao rou)

烤肉串 (kao rou chuan) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

烤肉串 (kao rou chuan)

Average price you should pay: 20RMB for 20

Charcoal-grilled meatsticks.

Yep, I’m done.

Okay in all seriousness, while kao rou chuan (grilled meat sticks) can be found everywhere, Xi’An is most known for its heavy-handed, cumin & chilli-heavy seasoning. It’s a taste that you’re unlikely to find replicated anywhere else. Incredibly addictive, don’t be surprised if you smash 20 of these before realising what you’ve done to yourself.

烤肉串 (kao rou chuan) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

烤肉串 (kao rou chuan)

Oh, and because grilled meat is so common in Xi’An, make sure to find places that do it over open charcoal flame. Best. Flavour. Ever.

Now, a warning: you will definitely come across plenty of vendors that sell hong liu kao rou (grilled meat on tamarisk tree skewers). However, they are very different, and inferior to kao rou chuanThe reason is a singular, simple one: the overly large chunks of meat on those tree branch skewers do not take to a good grilling, and you’ll just end up getting working your jaw on tough, tasteless meat. The secret to good meat skewers is getting as much seasoning as possible onto the meat, incorporating the right amount of fat to prevent overly tough meat. This is only possible with kao rou chuan. Make the right choice: get the right meat on your stick.

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7 Biang Biang mian

Biang biang mian Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

Biang biang mian

Average price you should pay: 20-35RMB (dependent on toppings)

With 58 strokes, say hello to the most complicated Chinese character in existence:

Now take two of these, add the character for “noodles” – mian, and you’ve got biang biang mian (or BB noodles as I like to call them). While stunningly complicated to write, it does ironically make your job of recognising a BB noodle restaurant fairly easy – just look out for the monster charcters. Trust me, nothing else will look even close.

Biang biang mian Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

Biang biang mian

BB noodles are one of Shaanxi’s most famous noodle dishes, and considered one of the province’s “ten strange wonders”. BB noodles are distinguished by their width – often as wide as a belt, it’s akin to eating giant pieces of dough, as if the noodle maker couldn’t be bothered to cut them up finer.

Fine by me. The unique shape of the noodles give biang biang noodles its signature texture. Flavour profiles vary from shop to shop, but often involve hot chili pepper oil, ground meat, chives, and thickened bean-based sauces to hold up to the noodles’ robust texture. It’s one of my favourite noodle dishes, full stop!

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8 手工搓搓面 (shou gong cha cha mian)

手工搓搓面 (shou gong cha cha mian) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

手工搓搓面 (shou gong cha cha mian)

Average price you should pay: 20-25RMB

A type of noodle that will take a bit more skill to locate on menus is the shou gong cha cha mian (hand-rubbed noodles). While hand-made noodles are pretty much the default on the streets of Xi’An, these differ in that the noodle strands are rubbed together vigorously, which imparts an udon-like springiness to them, though with greater elasticity and density. The result is a noodle that can carry a ton of sauce with every lift, and boy, do they go all out – chilli, sweet vinegar, peppercorns, meat mince, and bok choy because uh, gotta get your vegetables somehow, right? You’re not as likely to find shou gong cha cha mian in Muslim Quarter due to the pork mince. I personally got mine from the Gaoling district, which requires a bit of a mini road trip outside Xi’An. I don’t expect you to be that dedicated for a bowl of noodles, but if you’re around the area…it is your SWORN DUTY to find this dish!

手工搓搓面 (shou gong cha cha mian) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

手工搓搓面 (shou gong cha cha mian)

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9 过桥米线 (guo qiao mi xian)

过桥米线 (guo qiao mi xian) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

过桥米线 (guo qiao mi xian)

Average price you should pay: 35-55RMB

Guo qiao mi xian (crossing the bridge rice noodles*) is a signature dish of Yunnan province, not Shaanxi. However, given that noodles are the primary food source for Shaanxi-ers (true fact – rice is a second class citizen here!), it’s no surprise to hear that we do a damn good job at rendering Yunnan’s famous dish. If you’re in Xi’An and don’t have plans to visit Kunming (Yunnan’s capital), then you can’t pass this one up.

*can be any type of noodle, but it’s usually rice noodles.

Guo qiao mi xian consists of a bowl of piping hot broth, with all broth components arriving as separate dishes, for you to put into the bowl as you please. This would include noodles (usually rice noodles – mi xian), vegetables (usually chives, bok choy and sprouts), condiments, meats (usually chicken), and other misc (e.g. beancurd, raw quail egg). As for the name? Legend has it that a bookish scholar, due to his busy study schedule on an island, was fed by his wife who would cross the bridge to the island carrying his meal. As it was quite the trip, she devised a way to insulate the boiling hot broth in a clay cauldron, keeping the ingredients separate right up until serving time – preserving freshness. And thus, ‘crossing the bridge noodles’ was born!

过桥米线 (guo qiao mi xian) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

过桥米线 (guo qiao mi xian)

Because of the temperature of the soup, everything gets thoroughly cooked and ready to serve quite quickly. The soup is often described as like a very good chicken broth. As Xi’An-ers, we love to spice up guo qiao mi xian with loads and loads of hot chilli sauce. It’s just what we do.

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10 饸饹 (he luo)

饸饹 (he luo) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

饸饹 (he luo)

Average price you should pay: 20-35RMB

The Japanese have soba, the Chinese have he luo (buckwheat noodles). This is Chinese soba before soba existed. There are more similarities than differences, though the Chinese version is slightly nuttier, has a “woodiness” to its taste, and usually eaten a bit softer than the soba. Like soba, he luo can be prepared and served in innumerable ways – hot, cold, with or without soup, fried, and so forth. A traditional method in winter is to serve it in a hot bone broth flavoured with vinegar, rice wine, sesame, chili oil, garlic & chives. Super slurp-worthy stuff.

饸饹 (he luo) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

饸饹 (he luo)

You can also buy plain cooked heluo from many street-side vendors to prepare the way you like at home. It’s super cheap so give it a go!

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11 臊子面 (sao zi mian)

Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

臊子面 (sao zi mian)

Average price you should pay: 15-25RMB

Chinese people have a curious, self-deprecatory habit of naming our food in such a way that doesn’t exactly engender feelings of ‘oh, I’ve got to eat that’. A classic Xi’An example is sao zi mian (urine smell noodles). Apparently, saozi noodles started out smelling like piss, due to high vinegar content in early implementations. Well, ain’t that beautiful. Yeah. What were they thinking? *eyeroll*

The defining characteristic of saozi noodles is the thickened broth with minced meat, various diced root veg, chives and tofu. The noodles are generally 挂面 (gua mian – long, thin and al dente noodles) which almost manages to suck up the broth due to capillary action and the broth’s viscosity. Thus, each bite of noodles contains the full flavour of the vinegar-heavy broth.

臊子面 (sao zi mian) broth Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

臊子面 (sao zi mian) broth

But seriously, this is a classic dish highly unique to Xi’An, I highly recommend you demolish a bowl or three. You can say you’ve had “piss noodles” – though I’m not sure if that’s something you’d want to brag about.

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12 高山小土豆 (gao shan xiao tu dou)

高山小土豆 (gao shan xiao tu dou) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

高山小土豆 (gao shan xiao tu dou)

Average price you should pay: 20RMB

Steel plate-grilled mini-potatoes with cumin flavouring? Gao shan xiao tu dou (gaoshan small potatoes) is what we do when we want chips. Each bite-sized potato tastes like the best baked potato ever, just as moreish as hot chips, except without the crunch. Something different, something great. A simple snack, a crowd-pleaser.

高山小土豆 (gao shan xiao tu dou) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

高山小土豆 (gao shan xiao tu dou)

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13 馓子 (san zi)

馓子 (san zi) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

馓子 (san zi)

Average price you should pay: oops, can’t remember!

Not so much a street food as a snack to take home (or guiltily finish before you’ve even walked away), san zi (deep fried twisted noodles) is a snack originating from the Xinjiang province – which makes sense, given the primary demographic there are muslims, who dominate Muslim Street.

It’s stupidly simple: take noodles – which we love – thin and wind them out into loops, and then chuck them in the deep fryer. I wouldn’t be surprised if half of the weight gained on my trip back to Xi’An was from san zi alone. You have been warned.

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14 蜂蜜糕 (feng mi gao)

蜂蜜糕 (feng mi gao) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

蜂蜜糕 (feng mi gao)

Average price you should pay: 10RMB a packet

An entry I never would have imagined making its way into the post, let alone being categorised as a ‘must-eat’, feng mi gao (honeycomb candy) invaded its way into #14 as one of the snack hits that surprised even me. To understand why, let me regale you a story with which you can probably relate. See, I love Crunchies (you know, those heavenly bars of chocolate-covered honeycomb that Cadbury sells), but I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with them; for every good crunchie, there are always two duds where the honeycomb decides to troll me either by supergluing itself to my mouth, or being so rock hard it could be classified as a weapon.

Not so with feng mi gao. Imagine that it’s the perfect honeycomb part of a Crunchie – all the time, every time. In fact, the ones I got at Muslim Street were even better – they are incredibly light and airy, yet retain all the satisfactory crunchiness and sweetness, with honey released with each and every bite.

I bought a packet roughly the size of a tissue box – because I thought “hey, why not share it right?”

I didn’t.

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15 冰峰 (bing feng)

冰峰 (bing feng) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

冰峰 (bing feng)

Average price you should pay: no more than 5RMB

If you’ve read the yang rou pao mo entry, you may have seen the orange drinks in the background of the xiao chao dish. This is bing feng (ice peak). It is basically Chinese Fanta. It doesn’t make this section of the post because it’s the most amazing soft drink that you’ll ever have; however, in my infinite bias, I couldn’t help but include it in this list – it’s a nostalgia drink, something I grew up with. The fizzy soda is incredibly famous in Xi’An, and loved by all – and it goes with everything.

I don’t seriously insist that you have bing feng, but on a hot summer’s day, there’s really no better way blending in with the locals by chowing down a bowl of pao mo and a icy cold bing feng. Few things are more refreshing.

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Xi’An Street Food – Other Savouries

Okay, we’re now on round two. In the interests of keeping the post’s length manageable (lol), I’ll keep descriptions brief. Naturally, hit me up in the comments for any questions you may have!

*(starred item) = still a famous Xi’An dish, even if it isn’t a must-eat.

16 胡辣汤* (hu la tang)

胡辣汤 (hu la tang) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

胡辣汤 (hu la tang)

Average price you should pay: 10-15RMB

Do enough research on Xi’An eats and hu la tang (numbing pepper hot soup) will inevitably show up. Considered alongside pao mo, liang pi and rou jia mo as one of Xi’An’s must-haves, my take is that it’s just a odd bowl of thick soup with cabbage, meatballs and loads of chilli jiang (thick sauce). It’s actually quite good, especially when eaten with mo, but if you only have limited time/stomach capacity, you could do better and be conservative.

That said, absolutely share a hu la tang if you can – it costs next to nothing and a bowl can be shared between many. There’s almost no effort in downing a bowl – there’s nothing else quite like it in Xi’An.

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17 梅菜扣肉 (mei cai kou rou)

梅菜扣肉 (mei cai kou rou) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

梅菜扣肉 (mei cai kou rou)

Average price you should pay: 40-60RMB (meat is expensive!)

Mei cai kou rou (lit. ‘meat encased in mouldy vegetables’) is a dish you’ll find at some street stalls and many restaurants. It’s fatty, succulent pork belly that’s braised with a variety of dried, salted and cured Chinese mustard vegetables and cabbages. It’s a meticulously complicated process to produce mei cai, with the results being an intensely aromatic vegetable mix that has traits of fermentation. The pork belly is incredibly soft – you could cut it and eat it with a spoon (yes, even the lean bits). A dish to try for the bigger eaters out there – and if you can take its richness. Slap a whole heap of the stuff in between a mo, and you’ve got half a meal right there.

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18 豆腐脑* (dou fu nao)

豆腐脑* (dou fu nao) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

豆腐脑 (dou fu nao)

Average price you should pay: 10RMB

Southern Chinese cuisine has dou fu fa/dou fa (sweet tofu pudding), we Northern Chinese prefer its savoury counterpart – dou fu nao (savoury tofu ‘brains’). It is literally dou fu fa, except with savoury condiments such as soy sauce, vinegar & chilli substituted for sugar syrup. The silky smoothness of the tofu remains the same.

豆腐脑 (dou fu nao) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

豆腐脑 (dou fu nao)

If you’re in Xi’An but miss dou fu nao’s sweet, Southern counterpart, best of luck – you’re likely to only find sweet versions in restaurants specialising in Southern Chinese cuisine.

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19 韭菜盒子*/粉丝菜盒子* (jiu cai he zi / fen si cai he zi)

韭菜盒子/粉丝菜盒子 (jiu cai he zi / fen si cai he zi) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

Cai he zi in the making

Average price you should pay: 10RMB

Similar to rou bing (#5 – meat in bing), jiu cai he zi (garlic chives pocket), and one of its common variants fen si cai he zi (potato starch noodles pocket) are popular winter dishes. Bing is stuffed with a seasoned garlic chive & tofu filling while still at the dough stage, closed up, and then deep fried. Same goes for the fen si cai he zi – except the filling is starch noodles. This is the vegetarian answer to rou bing, but still belongs in its own section as rou bing has its filling interspersed throughout the bing, while cai he zi is bing where the filling is fully enclosed within the bing.

粉丝菜盒子 (fen si cai he zi) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

粉丝菜盒子 (fen si cai he zi)

While I personally prefer rou bing, it’s nice to try something a little different – and arguably healthier (uhhh…deep frying notwithstanding. Haha.)

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20 油塔塔* (you ta ta)

油塔塔 (you ta ta) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

油塔塔 (you ta ta)

Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

油塔塔 (you ta ta)

Average price you should pay: 15RMB

You ta ta (oil stack) is a curious dish you’re unlikely to find it anywhere else in China. Dough that would have originally become mantou or baozi is finely julienned, semi-glued together with oil and starch, and then steamed in water & oil. They come out looking like knife-scored mantou, but the idea is that when you actually dig into them with chopsticks, they decompose into individual strands of ‘noodles’, ready to accept whatever dipping sauce into which you decide to immerse. Usually, it’s sesame, chilli & vinegar – the trifecta, as it were.

油塔塔 (you ta ta) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

油塔塔 (you ta ta)

 

Really, really delicious – it’s pretty close to being a top pick. If you can find this, get it.

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21 熏肉大饼 (xun rou da bing)

Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

熏肉大饼 (xun rou da bing)

Average price you should pay: 15RMB

The best way to describe xun rou da bing (big stinky meat bing) is that it’s essentially the Xi’An equivalent of the Fujian-originated popiah that you can find at every Singaporean/Malaysian hawker centre. It’s a thin crepe made from wheat flour that’s deep fried, encasing an extra-strength bean-based sauce with meat & veg filling. It’s also not too dissimilar to the famous jian bing, it’s just our version of it.

熏肉大饼 (xun rou da bing) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

熏肉大饼 (xun rou da bing) in the making

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22 担担面 (dan dan mian)

担担面 (dan dan mian) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

担担面 (dan dan mian)

Average price you should pay: 20RMB

Originating from Sichuan province, dan dan noodles is likely a familiar name. This spicy noodle dish, with its signature red hot chilli oil broth, preserved vegetables and pork mince is a mainstay all over China, and Xi’An is definitely full of excellent locations to get your fix. In fact, if there is a famous noodle dish somewhere from China, I’ll wager with you that there is a restaurant in Xi’An that does it justice.

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23 粉汤羊血 (fen tang yang xue)

粉汤羊血 (fen tang yang xue) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

粉汤羊血 (fen tang yang xue)

Average price you should pay: 20RMB

You’ll need quite the sense of adventure to attack the dish that is fen tang yang xue (rice noodles & broth w/sheep’s blood). A fragrant hot lamb broth is loaded with rice noodles, beancurd tofu and – yep this is true – sheep’s blood. While eating congealed animal blood is something I don’t blink an eye at given my upbringing, the psychological notion of it may be off-putting to some. The flavour is quite mild – as mild as tofu, plus some gaminess. Texturally, it’s like a particularly hard jelly.

One for the risk-takers, unless you’re a reader versed in Chinese cuisine, in which case what are you waiting for – dig in!

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24 铁板香辣豆腐 (tie ban xiang la dou fu)

Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

铁板香辣豆腐 (tie ban xiang la dou fu)

Average price you should pay: 15RMB

A crowd-pleaser, tie ban xiang la dou fu (teppan-grilled aromatic chilli tofu) is a snack unlikely to disappoint. Don’t worry – despite how it looks – it’s not stinky tofu, so you’re okay as long as you don’t mind soy sauce (and if you do, then how did you make it this far in the post?). Any good vendor will heavily season the stuff, so that each bite is full of soy, cumin, aniseed, and chilli. And hey – it’s even somewhat healthy because it’s tofu!

铁板香辣豆腐 (tie ban xiang la dou fu) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

铁板香辣豆腐 (tie ban xiang la dou fu)

 

铁板香辣豆腐 (tie ban xiang la dou fu) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

铁板香辣豆腐 (tie ban xiang la dou fu)

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25 搅团 (jiao tuan)

搅团 (jiao tuan) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

搅团 (jiao tuan)

Average price you should pay: 20RMB

Jiao tuan (no idea how to translate this directly) is a strange, strange dish. Perhaps the best way to describe it is that it’s pretty much Chinese potato gnocchi. Potato starch is mixed with wheat flour, rolled into rough, gnocchi-like shapes, and is served with a thickened tomato broth with garlic chives. It’s a particularly hearty dish, so worth trying if it’s winter.

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26 洋芋糍粑 (yang yu ci ba)

洋芋糍粑 (yang yu ci ba) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

洋芋糍粑 (yang yu ci ba)

Average price you should pay: 10RMB

For those who have had the Japanese dish tororo (grated mountain yam), say hello to the Xi’An version known as yang yu ci ba (pounded sticky potato). This sticky number is made of of potatoes that have been boiled until very soft, pounded by a wooden mallet for several minutes. The act of pounding changes the structure and interactions of the starch fibres in the potato, causing them to coagulate together, forming a concoction that’s not unlike potato mash – except much, much sticker and viscous. It is served in a hot & sour soup with mustard vegetables and various garnishes. Yes, of course chillis are involved.

洋芋糍粑 (yang yu ci ba) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

洋芋糍粑 (yang yu ci ba)

Not going to lie – it’s a weird dish, but you’ll earn plenty of local points for eating it.

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27 鱼鱼儿 (yu yu er)

鱼鱼儿 (yu yu er) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

鱼鱼儿 (yu yu er)

Average price you should pay: 15-25RMB

Yu yu er (fish fish?) is a funny dish that primarily consists of small blobs of semi-strained corn & wheat flour, which when served, resemble featureless fish (hence the name). It’s served with a variety of vegetables (though celery is almost always involved), with or without broth. Summer and winter variants are treated equally, as the dish can be served either hot or cold without changing any of the ingredients. What makes yu yu er special is that the ‘little fish’ aren’t meant to be bitten and chewed – it’s actually swallowed whole. The sour and semi-sweet broth is what gives it flavour, with a refreshing aspect not often seen in soupy dishes coming from the fresh celery.

鱼鱼儿 (yu yu er) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

鱼鱼儿 (yu yu er)

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28 烤鹌鹑蛋 (kao an chun dan)

烤鹌鹑蛋 (kao an chun dan) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

烤鹌鹑蛋 (kao an chun dan)

Average price you should pay: 10RMB

Kao an chun dan is literally grilled quail eggs. In Xi’An, they’re often flavoured with a type of thick ‘flour sauce’ (mian jiang – 面酱), which is quite salty. Delicious stuff, though nothing special, and certainly not unique to Shaanxi. These gamey little bites make for a nice snack, but save room for other stuff!

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29 麻辣豆干 (ma la dou gan)

麻辣豆干 (ma la dou gan) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

麻辣豆干 (ma la dou gan)

Average price you should pay: 10-15RMB

Most stalls that sell kao an chun dan also serve a companion snack called ma la dou gan (numbing beancurd). This is similar to the teppan tofu dish I talked about earlier, except dou gan is a lot thinner and chewier. Dou gan also features far more potent spice mixes and a hotter chilli paste, thus bringing it much more flavour. While its uniqueness low, its deliciousness is everything.

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30 羊蹄子* (yang ti zi)

羊蹄子 (yang ti zi) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

羊蹄子 (yang ti zi)

Average price you should pay: 15RMBea

I personally don’t like yang ti zi (sheep hooves), but there’s no way you won’t come across them. Hoof meat is 50/50 meat and collagen, and thus you really have to be into gelatin to enjoy these. This profile does not describe me; however, their authenticity and history warrants their place on the list.

Never let it be said that I discriminate!

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31 酸汤饺子* (suan tang jiao zi)

酸汤饺子 (suan tang jiao zi) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

酸汤饺子 (suan tang jiao zi)

Average price you should pay: 10RMB for 20

Could you really call a trip to China as complete without eating at least a giant bowl of dumplings? While dumplings from all over China are represented in Xi’An, our own claim to these ubiquitous meat-filled pockets of pleasure is the suan tang jiao zi (sour soup dumplings). These are meat-filled dumplings (beef/lamb at Muslim Street, pork elsewhere) in thin skins that are served in a bowl of piping hot & sour spicy broth. Mainly sour.

As it must be obvious to you by now, Xi’An-ers love intense, punchy flavours. A good bowl of suan tang dumplings absolutely ticks the requisite boxes, with its signature sour zing right up there bringing well-deserved queues.

酸汤饺子 (suan tang jiao zi) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

酸汤饺子 (suan tang jiao zi)

There are few things better than a bowl of suan tang dumplings on a -10 degree winter day in Xi’An. Ahh, memories.

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32 灌汤包* (guan tang bao)

灌汤包 (guan tang bao) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

灌汤包 (guan tang bao)

Average price you should pay: 20RMB for 8

Guan tang bao (soup-filled dumplings) is the Xi’An equivalent to the world-famous xiao long bao. GTB doesn’t really have the same ring as XLB, but it doesn’t have to: these have their own long-standing identity, though the differences are seemingly visual at first: guan tang bao are a fair bit larger than their petite Shanghainese brethren. However, guan tang bao still possess super-thin dumpling skin, but due to their size means a disproportionately large amount of soup is contained within each parcel – hence the name of the dish. You would have been warned about xiao long bao’s hot soup (and not to let it go to waste); the advice is even more applicable here – consume carefully, consume deliciously!

Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

灌汤包 (guan tang bao)

In Hui Min Jie, lamb filling is most often encountered, with beef being the secondary choice.

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33 粉蒸肉* (fen zheng rou)

粉蒸肉 (fen zheng rou) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

粉蒸肉 (fen zheng rou)

Average price you should pay: highly variable

In terms of pure flavour, few dishes outshine fen zheng rou (rice-flour steamed pork). A dish invented homestyle and brought out onto the streets, what makes fen zheng rou is special is the spiced rice flour powder generously applied when steaming the pork. This infuses the pork with a firm, nutty flavour and a smooth, fine-grained texture. It’s almost like as if the pork was integrated with the rice, and is smooth and tender enough to eat with a spoon. It’s vitually a complete meal from the start! Of course, because it’s so fragrant and powerful, steamed bao is often served as an accompaniment, allowing you to make a full-on flavour sandwich out of the stuff. Trust me, these will be as good as any gua bao dish you’ll find anywhere else.

粉蒸肉 (fen zheng rou) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

粉蒸肉 (fen zheng rou) – a fancier version

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34 炒凉粉* (chao liang fen)

炒凉粉 (chao liang fen) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

炒凉粉 (chao liang fen)

Average price you should pay: 7-10RMB for a cup

Another snack in the ‘cup-of-carbs’ category is the chao liang fen (fried sweet potato starch cubes). Think the texture of sweet potato noodles, but in cuboid form, fried till golden brown, heavily seasoned with five spice, cumin and chilies, then served piping hot, ready to enjoy straight away. Salty, higly fragrant, and a just a little bit sweet, these were a favourite childhood snack of mine.

炒凉粉 (chao liang fen) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

炒凉粉 (chao liang fen)

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Xi’An Street Food – Other Sweets

And we’re on the home stretch. This one’s for the sweet tooths! Descriptions will as usual remain brief, holler in the comments if you’ve any questions!

35 八宝粥*/八宝莲子羹 (ba bao zhou/ba bao lian zi geng)

八宝粥 (ba bao zhou) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

八宝粥 (ba bao zhou)

Average price you should pay: 15RMB

Ba bao zhou (eight treasure porridge) is probably one of China’s most famous sweet dishes. Traditionally a dish eaten during the Laba Festival, it has become a dessert staple to many banquet-style meals. The name is actually an effective allusion of the dish itself – a congee, with ‘eight’ (doesn’t really have to be eight) ingredients forming the dish. Common inclusions are rice (multiple kinds), red beans, peanuts, dried fruit (usually haw fruit & goji berries), various seeds (usually lotus/sesame), and sometimes sweet potatoes and even vegetables at times. As it’s a hot dish, it’s commonly consumed in winter, but as the Chinese looooooooove congee, don’t be surprised to see Xi’An-ers slurping down the stuff at any time of year.

For those who are watching their carbs, a drink-modified variant of the ba bao zhou known as ba bao lian zi geng (eight treasure lotus drink) exists. This is basically the congee without the rice, retaining many of the other ingredients. It’s lighter, more refreshing & acidic, and a damn good hand-warmer in winter.

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36 八宝甜饭* (ba bao tian fan)

八宝甜饭 (ba bao tian fan) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

八宝甜饭 (ba bao tian fan)

Average price you should pay: 20RMB

For those preferring to eat rather than drink their rice, ba bao tian fan (eight treasure sweet rice) is the dish for you. This is basically a solid version of ba bao zhou, though as there’s no water, the rice itself needs extra sweetness. Pure white sugar or sugar syrup, and more candied fruit are the most common remediators, making for a prettier-looking dish. At some restaurants, entire dish is doused with mao tai rice spirit and lit up with fire for a brief spectacle! Supposedly, this makes it taste better as some of the sugar caramelises.

It tastes pretty darn good already.

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37 精糕甜饭 (jing gao tian fan)

精糕 (jing gao) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

精糕 (jing gao)

Jing gao tian fan (sticky cake sweet rice) is an alternative to ba bao tian fan, in the rather likely event that you won’t find a street vendor selling the fancy, eight treasure stuff. It’s much simpler in makeup, consisting of just glutinous rice, dates, and any other sweeteners the vendor may have chosen to add. One way Southern Chinese people relate to jing gao tian fan is that this is almost exactly like the filling of sweet zong zi – essentially without the bamboo leaf.

精糕 (jing gao) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

精糕 (jing gao)

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38 冰糖雪梨* (bing tang xue li)

Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

冰糖雪梨 (bing tang xue li)

Average price you should pay: 5RMB

A simple drink beloved by many Northern Chinese, bing tang xue li (rock sugar snow pear drink) is a lightweight go-to that is fruity, not too sweet, and – cue marketing speak – includes real nashi pears (huzzah)! Try find a version that uses brown rock sugar instead of white, as it adds a bit of a caramel note from the molasses in the sugar crystals.

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39 酸奶* (suan nai)

Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

酸奶 (suan nai)

Average price you should pay: 5-8RMB

If you grew up drinking raw, fresh milk from refrigerators, milk in China will taste a little different. Most milk in China is UHT treated, with raw milk getting a bad rap from contamination incidents over the years. This makes China’s suan nai (sour milk yoghurt) drinks all the more unique. I grew up with various kinds of suan nai, and it’s good to see that it’s still in vogue during my latest visit. This particular one I had at the end of Muslim Street’s main path was plum-sweet, with a little bit of viscosity and milk solids that made for a very tasty number.

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40 柿子饼* (shi zi bing)

柿子饼 (shi zi bing) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

A superior 柿子饼 (shi zi bing)

Average price you should pay: 5RMB

Shi zi bing (persimmon cake) is a sweet dish you’ll not see anywhere else but Xi’An. Whole persimmons are poached (sometimes in rosewater), dusted with flour and then deep fried. It’s a great way to turn something healthy into something that’s not, but I get persimmon cakes pretty much every time I return to Xi’An – the fruit is not all that common in Australia, and the persimmons are actually better in China. The amazing thing about shi zi bing is that it preserves the fruitiness, flavour and gooey texture of the persimmon, and endows it with the goodness of the deep fried treatment.

Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

An inferior 柿子饼 (shi zi bing)

Definitely try and buy one that’s freshly made – shi zi bing that have been sitting out for awhile not even worth getting. Do you want to be eating leathery, luke warm persimmon cakes? Didn’t think so!

柿子饼 (shi zi bing) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

柿子饼 (shi zi bing) in the making

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41 炸油糕* (zha you gao)

炸油糕 (zha you gao) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

炸油糕 (zha you gao)

Average price you should pay: 10RMB

Most vendors that sell shi zi bing will also serve zha you gao (deep fried oil cake). These are deep-fried, sesame-encrusted glutinous rice flour balls with a sweet filling of rock sugar, various seeds/nuts, lard, and black sesame. Think the popular yum cha dish jian duiexcept with a more complex, nuttier and textural filling and you’re on the right track. I’m biased, but a freshly made zha you gao will win nine times out of 10. It’s jian dui on steroids!
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42 油炸元宵 (you zha yuan xiao)

油炸元宵 (you zha yuan xiao) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

油炸元宵 (you zha yuan xiao)

Average price you should pay: 5RMB

You’ve likely tried yuan xiao/tang yuan – those delicious glutinous rice flour balls filled with a variety of sweet pastes, often eaten during the Spring Lantern Festival. Guess what, while we’re on a roll with the deep frying theme, why not deep fry tang yuan too? Yep, you zha yuan xiao (deep fried yuan xiao) is totally a thing. All I can say is: when you’re on holiday, do calories really exist?

As with all other deep fried goodies, make sure you order these freshly made – the heat and crunch, contrasting with the soft, gummy glutinous rice is all sorts of yum yums. The cold, saggy and zombie-cold version? Not much yums.

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43 粽子 (zong zi)

粽子* (zong zi) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

粽子 (zong zi)

Average price you should pay: 10RMB

With its highly recognisable triangular pyramids of bamboo leaf, zong zi (glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaf) is up there as one of China’s many famous food products that have made their way into the freezers of countries all over the world. You’re probably familiar with zong zi that have meaty, savoury fillings. This is the Southern China influence talking. In Xi’An and Northern China in general, these chewy rice parcels are far more often sweet; with fillings of sweetened green mung bean & red bean amongst the most common variants.

Thus, fair warning: if you buy a zong zi in Xi’An, keep in mind that you’re buying a dessert, not your second breakfast!

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44 桂花糕 (gui hua gao)

桂花糕 (gui hua gao) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

桂花糕 (gui hua gao)

Average price you should pay: 10RMB

A dessert highly unique to Xi’An, gui hua gao (osmanthus rice cake), with its striking, hazard-yellow colour, and artful presentation beckons closer inspection. My January 2017 visit was actually my first time having these ricey carb sticks, which are topped with candied red dates, and damn – I’ve been missing out!

I can’t say I can detect whatever the heck osmanthus is meant to taste like, but get it because it looks cool, and tastes good too!

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45 蜂蜜凉糕 (feng mi liang gao)

蜂蜜凉糕 (feng mi liang gao) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

蜂蜜凉糕 (feng mi liang gao)

Average price you should pay: can’t remember

If you’ve been reading the sweets section in its entirety, you’ve figured out long ago that we love all things glutinous when it comes to our sweets. Well, here’s another one – feng mi liang gao. Think glutinous rice, honey, and red bean paste, with sesame seeds adding nutty texture and flavour. Boom, there’s your snack right there.

Goes great with tea!

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46 豌豆糕/绿豆糕* (wan dou gao / lu dou gao)

豌豆糕 (wan dou gao) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

豌豆糕 (wan dou gao)

Average price you should pay: 20RMB/box

A sweet item better suited for gifting and occasional snacking than eaten on the streets is wan dou gao (pea cake) / lu dou gao (green mung bean cake). Made from the pounded & strained paste of either cooked pea or mung beans, these are actually one of the less sugary things you could eat on your sojourn through Xi’An. The most distinctive aspect of these cakes is their propensity to crumble up as in your mouth. In fact, an excellent gao of this category should disintegrate with the utmost smoothness, though some versions do include solid nuts/goji berries etc.

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47 花生糖 (hua sheng tang)

花生糖 (hua sheng tang) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

花生糖 (hua sheng tang)

Average price you should pay: 20RMB/box

For those with a tough jaw, hua sheng tang (peanut brittle candy) is literally that – candied, brittle sticks of sesame-seed encrusted peanut candies. There’s come in a great number of varieties and sub-flavours, so most stores will sell a pre-packaged assortment, which is a good way to get a taster of everything. Also fun is watching the way they make them – looks like a great way to stress-vent!

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48 核桃酥/烧核桃 (he tao su / kao he tao)

烧核桃 (kao he tao) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

烧核桃 (kao he tao)

Average price you should pay: 25RMB/box

Do you like walnuts? Well, so do we Xi’An-ers. In winter, you’ll see a fair few vendors running mixers full of walnuts. “Why would they do that?” You wonder. Walk closer, and you’ll detect the warm, nourishing heat and the heavenly, nutty smell of freshly toasted walnut. Yep, spinning walnuts continually in mixers cooks them to a degree without using fire, which results in fresh walnuts that have no chance of being burned. Grab a bag and start snacking on some kao he tao (roasted walnuts) stat!

核桃酥 (he tao su) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

核桃酥 (he tao su)

Alternatively, you could go in a completely different direction in picking up a box of he tao su (walnut cake). These are liquid mixtures of walnut and flour that’s quick-toasted in specialised machines, producing little parcels of what look like walnuts, taste like walnuts, but aren’t walnuts.

核桃酥 (he tao su) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

核桃酥 (he tao su) in the making

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49 麻花* (ma hua)

麻花 (ma hua) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

麻花 (ma hua)

Average price you should pay: 10RMB

Another item that falls into the ‘sweet snack’ category, ma hua (fried dough twist) is so ubiquitous, you could probably find it in every second Chinese household. It’s dense, it’s crunchy, and it can be eaten by itself, or dipped in milk. You might be thinking you tiaobut that is generally a breakfast staple, eaten with hot soy milk, whereas ma hua is a 24/7/365 snack. Ma hua is also a lot denser than you tiao, which is more fluffy and doughy. If you want to impress your Chinese friends who live overseas, gift them a sack of ma hua. They’ll love it!

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50 酥糖 (su tang)

酥糖 (su tang) Hui Min Jie Xi'an Muslim Street Food

酥糖 (su tang)

Average price you should pay: 20RMB/box

Otherwise known as persian or sticky fairy floss, you’ll first see su tang before you eat it – I almost thought it was someone pulling noodles off of a nail! Unlike normal fairy floss (which is spun), su tang is eaten in small chunks – it turns out that straining the sugar fibres repeatedly as if one is pulling noodles works magic on the texture of the fairy floss, giving it its signature compact texture. However, the moment you put it in your mouth, it begins to dissolve and fill your mouth with whatever flavour you bought, whether that be vanilla, taro, or something more exotic. And before you know it, the evanescent moment has passed – and you reach out for another…and another.

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Wow. I can’t believe you’ve made it to the end – and that I did too! I hope that you’ll have a much better idea of what to eat if you’re visiting Xi’An in the near future. If not, I hope that this post has influenced you to consider Xi’An as a city to visit on your next trip to China. There’s plenty to see, no doubt, but there is even more to eat. Bring the biggest appetite you can muster – Xi’An’s streets & alleys await!

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4 comments on “The Street Food of Xi’An | 50 Eats In China’s Street Food Capital”

  1. www.bunnybernice.com Reply

    I’ve often heard that the best food is never located in tourist areas, but when you’ve ventured away into the real areas that reflect the countries. I loved seeing all of these delicious Chinese meals, and can’t wait until I can visit to try these!

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