The ancient Xian is not only a birth place of brilliant culture, but also a snack kingdom that boasts of a sea of snacks delicious in taste, various in types and unique in making methods. Among them Jiaozi Banquet, Mutton Paomo and Guan Tang Baozi are the top ones, famed as “three wonders”.Now let TOC be your guide of this amazing dining journey!
Yummy Local Snacks
Top 7 famous snacks
Top 1 Jiaozi (Dumpling) banquet
"Jiaozi Banquet to Xian is just like Great Wall to China,'' said by a US friend. Those who have honorably partaken of Jiaozi Banquet all regard it as an incredible art. Jiaozi is a traditional local snack which can be traced back to 200o years ago, enjoying great popularity among both the locals and distant toursits. And Jiaozi Banquet literally means a feast of all sorts of Jiaozi, which glories itself in the following aspects.
First, sufficient fillings. The fillings can be made of meat of poultry, hedgehog fungus, sea pumpkins, shark fins, black mosses etc., creating different tastes like tomato-flavored, chili-flavored, spiced, curry and oyster sauce and so forth. Second, multiple cookeries.
Apart from the four basic Chinese cooking methods of steaming, frying, roasting and boiling, other cookeries such as stir-frying, braising, stewing and brewing have also played great roles here.
Third, diverse shapes. Different shapes of Jiaozi can just be compared to fancy artworks. All those shapes like butterflies, pigeons, green leaves, goldfishes, swallow nests, mandarin ducks, gold ingots, flowers, trumpet shells and pearls etc. can be seen in Jiaozi banquet.
In accordance with the fillings, Jiaozi banquets have different grades, each with 108 kinds of Jiaozi being offered. Presently, apart from Xi’an Jiaozi Banquet Restaurant at Jiefang North Road, De Fa Chang Restaurant and Guang Hua Restaurant are also renowned for their delicious dumplings, located at the southwest of the Bell Tower and Dongwu Middle Road respectively.
Top 2 Mutton Paomo (Yang Rou Pao Mo)
Mutton Paomo(Yang rou pao mo in Mardarin) is another must-taste snack of Xian. It is a great specialty that consists of two simple materials: a bowl of mutton soup and roasted bun slices, both of which are carefully selected with well-cooked meat, nourishing soup, tempting aroma and fantastic aftertaste as its best features.
Mutton Paomo is made from skilled culinary art, requiring seasoned tact in baking, boiling and slicing. Before eating, you would be given a bowl and some sliced buns which need to be torn into peanut-sized pieces. Then send it back to the cook who will add a suitable amount of cooked mutton, piping-hot soup mixed with many condiments.
Mutton Paomo is reputed as a major representative of Xian cuisine and now it has been honorably selected as a dish in the state banquet. Many restaurants in Xian serve Mutton Paomo, among which Lao Sun Jia, Tong Sheng Tang, Yi Xiang Lou, Lao Tong Jia, Ding Xing Chun and Lao Liu Jia serve the most authentic ones.
Top 3 Jiasan Guan Tang Baozi (steamed buns served with sauces inside)
Through years’ research, the national-renowned Muslim Diet Master Jia San successfully turned common baozi into a diet masterpiece, featuring thin flour skin, tender infillings and fresh scalding broth inside, so it is advisable to be cautious and never wolf it down. Usually it is served as a breakfast dish, being eaten together with Ba Bao Zhou or Eight Treasure Porridge, a kind of porridge filled with peanuts, sultanas, hawthorns and medlars.
Entering Jia Brothers’ Restaurant on Muslim Snack Street, you will notice a wall thickly decorated with photographs and inscriptions of almost all Chinese celebrities. And you will be impressed with the idea that Guan Tang Baozi has sublimed into a kind of diet culture. When traveling around, you should for any sake have a taste of Jiasan Guan Tang Baozi and appreciate the folk culture there at the same time.
Top 4 Rou Jia Mo (Chinese Hamburger)
Roujiamo is another famous Xian snack that you must have a try. It is a plain steamed bread cutting into half before filled with mincemeat. It looks like hamburger but with quite a different flavor. The meat is seasoned and stewed; together with crisp and savory steamed bread, it is very rich in protein, helpful to increase the content of carbohydrate.
Top 5 Hulutou (Broth with Intestines and Tripe)
Hulutou is a sort of broth with intestines and tripe inside. Legends say Sun Simiao, reputed as Medicine King in Tang Dynasty (618-907) created the recipe of Hulutou. One day, he ordered a bowl of Fried Intestines in a small eatery of Chang’an (ancient Xian), but he felt disgusted by the stinking smell. Considering the cooking method was improper, he told the eatery owner a knack and left him with a bottle gourd of medicine as flavoring. It was then when Hulutou enjoyed an overnight fame and became a great local delicacy. The soup of this delicacy is tasty, nourishing and popular with all ages.
Top 6 Buckwheat Noodles
Buckwheat Noodles specializes in its unique noodles making procedure, where buckwheat flour is pressed through a special-made device with little holes on the surface. Apart from its yummy taste, buckwheat noodles also famous for its high nutrition. Its material buckwheat is high-protein and low-fat, being an effective grain in lowering cholesterol, intenerating vein, protecting vision, helping digestion and prevent blood vessel of brain from hemorrhage. Thus it is suitable for all people especially for diabetics.
Buckwheat Noodles can be served either hot or cold. Cold noodles can relieve summer heat and sunstroke, flavored with salt, vinegar, mustard, garlic juice, sesame paste and hot chili. In cold days, noodles are bathed in hot soup and topped with stir-fried vegetables and meat, which can quickly warm you up.
Top 7 Qishan Saozi Noodles
Qishan Saozi Noodles are hand-made noodles mixed with minced pork, day lily, egg, tree fungus, bean curd and many seasonings. It became far-famed as early as the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) for its thin and soft noodles, fresh soup, sour and spicy taste as well as long-lasting and fragrance. There are many versions of legends about the origin of Qishan Saozi Noodles, but it is surely rooted in Qian Shan County of Shaanxi Province.
Top 3 Renowned Pastries
Top 1 De Mao Gong Crystal Cake
Small in size but great in fame, De Mao Gong Cristal Cakes is extremely popular with the public. Covered in a crumbly coat, it is well-filled with a fat but not greasy taste. It has been reputed as “the head of Qin pastry”.
Top 2 Xian Huanggui Persimmon Pancake
Xian Huanggui persimmon Pancake is also called as Fire-crystal Pancake, a mixture of persimmon and flour. The persimmon is a speciality in Lintong Couty, characterized by small size, much fruit powder, no nucleus and rich juice. It is mixed with flour, Huanggui sauce, rose paste and sugar before being baked into golden-colored on both sides. It has sticky sweet coat and aromatic smell.
Top 3 Eight-treasure Rose Mirror Cakes
The Eight-treasure Rose Mirror Cakes is a famous Muslem snack inherited from a famous diet master Mr. Ma in Xian. It is made from sticky rice, brown and Osmanthus sugar. When eating, it is dipped with black sesame seeds and brushed with rose paste. The amazing fragrance can make you mouth-watering as soon as you see it. They are many flavors including strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, apple, rose, salad, spicy etc.
Recommended Food Streets
At present, there are some 30 to 40 thousand restaurants of various sizes in Xian, forming several food streets. Here the most thriving one of the city will be introduced below. It is also noticeable that many relish resources are hiding in minor corners could be anywhere in the city. Thus it is advisable to have a local friend guiding your exploration to these places, if you have one of course.
Drum Tower Gourmet Street
Occupying the most prosperous area in the city, it restores many time-honored restaurants, including De Fa Chang Jiaozi Feast Restaurant, Tongsheng Restaurant, Xian Restaurant, Lao Sun Jia Restaurant, Hotel on May Day, Chun Fa Sheng Restaurant and Xian Roast Duck Restaurant, each of which is whispering an old story and providing authentic local delicacies for travelers.
Behind the Drun Tower, you will bump into Muslim Snack Street. It virtually is the most renowned and popular snack streetof Xian. Some big and small restaurants line up along the street strive hard to provide the most yummy local dishes.
Bus lines: 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 16, 26, 29, 32, 35, 36, 37, 43, 46, 118, 201, 203, 205, 206, 208, 214, 215, 216, 218, 221, 222, 229, 236, 239, 251, 300, 302, 600, K600, 603, 604, K605, K606, 608, 609, 610, 611,612, K618, K630
If you want to get the essence of Chinese delicacies, learning to use chopsticks is highly recommended. As for me, one of the most exciting thing when travel to another city or country is to taste the local yummy delicacies. They are so different from the dishes in my hometown and taste so good. If you are also interested in it, please talk to the trip advisors of TOC to add your ideas on your Guilin tours. Do protect your stomach and have a great time here!