06 Apr2016


After settling into our apartment at the Citadines Central just a stone’s throw from the Drum Tower, we checked email (can get incoming, can’t send any outgoing?! on gmail), hit the local 7-11 equivalent for water and sodas, unpacked a bit, and checked out a map of the area. We were hoping to find a place for an early dinner after a long day in transit fueled with Cathay Pacific “sandwiches” and no real proper meals. We were famished. But we were also totally clueless and nearly nothing is here is written in English…


So off we went on foot, and lo and behold, we found our way to Defachang Dumpling Restaurant (or is it Defazhang?) that is conveniently located between the drum tower and the bell tower. The restaurant is on the tourist trail, so one might be wary of it, but we just wanted some simple dumplings and it looked reasonable enough. We entered what turned out to the “locals” entrance rather than the main doors intended for most of the tourists who eat in a more banquet style hall upstairs, but that was fine with us. We saw no english menus nor did anyone offer one or speak to us in halting english as reviews suggest (maybe upstairs they do that…:) ) but we pointed at food on the counter and on a menu board and managed to eat well for Y110 or roughly $15 for two. We had some pork and beef dumplings (dough a bit thick for my taste, but delicious anyway), some cold noodles with chili sauce, chicken on sticks with chopped bits of cartilage interspersed with the meat (cartilage not really my thing) and an absolutely delightful cold vegetable dish. We missed the fried dumplings and hotpot style eating at a free-standing buffet but we were just nibbling, after all. We were headed to the Muslim quarter on foot, and needed to save some space for other goodies. Overall, it was not a poor choice. DefaZhang was perhaps not the best meal we would have in Xi’an, but it was a convenient, satisfying first meal.



  1. hiddendragon says:

    ** Unsurprisingly, quite a few websites are banned/strictly monitored in China. FB is outrightly banned. Re gmail, you get a creepy feeling that somehow, someone’s has gone through your mailboxes. When i visited, outgoing msgs would take a few creepy seconds more before it goes out, and when mail comes in, it feels like, somehow, someone’s read it (like opening your luggage in the US, feeling funny, and finding TSA’s letter in there). Gmail sent from the Philippines to friends in China sometimes never get to them.
    ** I’ve read a few times that China employs a couple of hundred people who go through people’s email, maybe using some keywords like Tiananmen, 621, etc. AFAIK, “market manila” is not yet one of them.
    ** Xian remains in my bucket list. Should do it soon. If I get a visa.

    Apr 6, 2016 | 5:03 pm


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  3. cumin says:

    MM, have you spotted the markets that take over some sidewalks early morning? Amazingly fresh produce and unusual food carts — they cook right in front of you, so good I skipped the hotel breakfast.

    Apr 6, 2016 | 6:08 pm

  4. emsy says:

    VPN is the best way to get around The Great Firewall. I personally use Betternet. Just get it from the App Store and connect every time you need to get into banned websites. For translation, get Pleco app. It’s not the best for whole sentences but it’s a great app for words and phrases as it translates it to local usage.

    Oh and I’m not sure if you’re still a Diet Coke drinker, but the locals call it “jienyee kuh-luh” for Coke light and “lingdu kuh-luh” for Coke Zero. Have fun in China!

    Apr 6, 2016 | 6:55 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    emsy, thanks, I haven’t found a single Coke Light so far, just zeros… :) And yes, someone told us to get a VPN, but was wondering if that violated any laws. cumin, we are off on a private guided market tour tomorrow, that’s on top of all the walking around we did on our own! hiddendragon, it is a wonderful treat, huge doses of culture AND food! But 2-3 days is enough…

    Apr 6, 2016 | 8:35 pm

  6. Nina says:

    Hope you’re stopping by the hole-in the-wall, 100+ year old Lao Mi Jia Xiyangshi for mutton soup and the hopia bakery both by the Muslim Quarter/Market and Biang BIiang Mian for sheet noodles. We did stay at Citadines Central also which is just OK but the location is excellent. When we were there in Oct./Nov. 2013, there was a bombing at Tiananmen Square a few minutes before we arrived. There was a news blockout, nothing in the internet nor one can get info from the hotel. We only got details from a Fil. couple we met who mentioned that a Fil. doctor and daughter were among the casualties.

    Apr 6, 2016 | 11:07 pm

  7. Nina says:

    IMO, China has poor hygiene, both environmentally and food cooking. Though Citadines is centrally located, the surrounding area leaves much to be desired. Matter of fact, between the hotel and main ave., we saw a boy doing # 2 on the sidewalk (noticed that children’s shorts has a slit in the crotch, hahaha). We never got sick, though… but always made sure that we only ate food that were fully/newly cooked or piping hot.

    Apr 6, 2016 | 11:23 pm

  8. Natie says:

    My niece works in Taiyuan and posts on Facebook everyday. VPN, she says.

    Apr 7, 2016 | 11:23 pm

  9. Alivin clark says:

    Awesome I Love this

    May 19, 2016 | 9:08 pm


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