What to Eat in Xi’an China

For foodies, Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter provides an almost overwhelming sensory experience— wafts of flavourful spices, heat from fiery woks, shouts from butchers, and gentle shoving from the crowds anxiously making their way through the seemingly endless streets of shops and food.
 
In between eats in Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter, Peter and I explored a beautiful mosque, made some new friends, and watched lively evening dances from what seemed to be a close community of performers.
A guide to what to eat in Xi'an China from the Muslim Quarter and around the city
A guide to what to eat in Xi'an China from the Muslim Quarter and around the city A guide to what to eat in Xi'an China from the Muslim Quarter and around the city
 
But what I had really been looking forward to was eating my way through Xi’an and I was not disappointed— the food was bold, flavourful and spicy! Trying to figure out what to eat in Xi’an? Here are just a few of my favorite dishes (in no particular order) from the trip.
 

1. Poached chicken in chilis and ginger broth

No surprises here. Chicken swimming in a pool of chili peppers and ginger? Yes yes yes. We had this scrumptious version at the Golden Flower House restaurant at the Shangri-la Golden Flower Hotel.

A guide to what to eat in Xi'an China from the Muslim Quarter and around the city

2. Spicy fried potatoes

Read more on these bite sized snacks and try my recipe here!

A guide to what to eat in Xi'an China from the Muslim Quarter and around the city

3. Chinese hamburgers

These don’t really resemble a hamburger at all but are equally delicious. These so called Chinese hamburgers are made with a thin dough beautifully shaped into a crispy round pita-esque bread that’s stuffed with shredded lamb or beef. If you can, ask the vendor to spoon a bit of the meat broth in to your bun with a bit of chili sauce. 

A guide to what to eat in Xi'an China from the Muslim Quarter and around the city A guide to what to eat in Xi'an China from the Muslim Quarter and around the city

4. Hand pulled noodles

Hand stretched and made to order, this dish is basically one long delicious noodle which makes it easy to refuse to share 

A guide to what to eat in Xi'an China from the Muslim Quarter and around the city

5. Persimmon donuts

These mysterious snacks are fried and crispy on the outside but the inside is chewy and often stuffed with various fillings. I wish I could tell you what the fillings were exactly but my favorite donut was actually the one with no filling, just dough.

A guide to what to eat in Xi'an China from the Muslim Quarter and around the city

6. Dough dumplings in chili broth

I’d love to figure out what exactly this dish was but it can be found at Yongxing Fang. The happy man pounding the dough seems to be a bit of a celebrity and there were lots of newsclippings of him posted outside the stand. The dumplings are similar to the dough dumplings in American southern chicken and dumplings but the broth made with chilis and cilantro/coriander.

A guide to what to eat in Xi'an China from the Muslim Quarter and around the city A guide to what to eat in Xi'an China from the Muslim Quarter and around the city

7. Fresh pomegranate juice

Make sure you ask for a fresh cup, not a prepackaged cup of juice

A guide to what to eat in Xi'an China from the Muslim Quarter and around the city

8. Dumplings in Chili Ginger Broth

…Not to be confused with #6, this is a dish I still think about regularly…It was that damn good. The dumplings in this dish were filled with leeks and spring onion (rather than just plain dough like #6). The broth was so flavourful and scrumptious and the dumplings were handmade just outside the restaurant which is on the main food street of the Muslim Quarter.

A guide to what to eat in Xi'an China from the Muslim Quarter and around the city A guide to what to eat in Xi'an China from the Muslim Quarter and around the city