Our apartment was a five minute walk away from the Drum Tower and Muslim Street in Xi’an. A local would later tell is with a tinge of disdain that no locals ever eat on Muslim street, that it was sort of the disneyland equivalent of local street food for the benefit of tourists, tens of thousands of whom come to the city to see the terra cotta warriors and other destinations. Never mind, it was the quick way to get a view of much of what local street food they had on offer, and this post is a quick run-down of some of the stuff we saw and a we only sampled a small fraction of what was on offer…
Cold noodles with shredded cucumber with either a sesame or soy sauce (or I suppose you could put both)…
What looked like cubed pan-sauteed potatoes with chilies and green onions.
Smashing peanut brittle.
Stewed lamb feet/hooves eaten like one would eat a chicken drumstick while strolling down the street.
Pulled sugar for a taffy like candy…
…and another shot of the artisan at work. While one got the feeling this was all for show, the bottom line is that there were a LOT of people on this street, and frankly 90% seemed to be Chinese (albeit visitors from other parts of China and probably not locals) and there was high turnover. So much so that you can see 5-6 of these guys pulling sugar throughout the night!
Battered fried crab on a stick anyone? And they didn’t look like soft-shell crab either.
Local beef jerky is a specialty.
Ribbons of tofu with a chili sauce. We didn’t have this here, but a day or two later we had it at a restaurant and it was delicious!
Piles of steamed crayfish which seemed like a bit of a bother to munch on while walking around.
Tons of dried fruit and nuts. This is the epicenter of kiwi land (there is a local name). Not too many know that New Zealand is not the original home of the kiwi fruit, they just seem to have made it more recognizable around the globe. If we had more luggage allowance, I would have had a suitcase with 20+ kilos of fruit in nut in tow. :)
Lamb skewers at the ready.
Lots of lines which we took to be a sign of quality or desirability but we didn’t ALWAYS find this to be true. :(
A rare display of greens, veggies are not a big deal in this part of China due to growing conditions we were told. But fruit and nuts were plentiful.
Modern fruit popsicles in a myriad of flavors.
Stone bread, more on this later.
More sesame noodles.
Hand-pulled noodles. But I wasn’t watching the noodles, I was watching the fiery exhaust of the gas cooker. I wondered if any stray kids would go running up to it and singe their hair or clothes. Talk about a lack of safety measures. With all the unruly kids in the Philippine dining environment these days, I am CERTAIN one of them would end up barbecued or at least with third degree burns if let loose in Xi’an.
After a few minutes I realized people knew well enough to avoid the potential incendiary end to their designer jeans or canvas shoes, no casualties…
Squid on a stick with sesame seeds. They use a LOT of sesame seeds in this part of China.
Stewed dried fruit looked really appealing, but I am not sure how they use it in their dishes or meals… it’s a bit discombobulating not being able to communicate with the vendors to find out more about their products.
Dried persimmons (Footloose, look!) and lots of dried nuts and other preserved items. The pistachios were a result of the trade along the silk road, along with lots of other things like spices, breads, etc.
Local dates stuffed with walnuts. A healthy snack individually wrapped.
The most amazing cubes of tofu sprinkled with a chili sauce and herbs.
Quail eggs on a stick.
I think this was a butter date cake purchased on a stick. Overall, the variety of items on display was impressive, touristy or not. We had a wonderful time strolling down this street two nights in a row.