An unmissable food place in China is Muslim Street in Xi’an. Although locals deem it too touristy, I have to say it is fascinating to see so many food vendors cooking their dishes from scratch as if you were walking inside a cookbook of Chinese Muslim Food, which by the way I have not been able to find.
Xi’an has a vibrant Muslim community that has been in the city since 651 AD. There are still approximately 50,000 Muslims in the city.
They dress distinctly Muslim but also very Chinese and by that I mean they have all those extra adornments on their clothes that Chinese women are so fond (sparkles, rhinestones). In case you have not noticed Chinese women don’t wear jewelry but their clothes are decorated with jewelry-like decorations.
Since Muslim street is a major tourist attraction I would recommend that you go during the week and avoid the weekends when there are masses of people.
For a real Chinese Muslim fusion food, try the mutton and pita soup (Yangrou Paomo) in one of the basic restaurants.
The Chinese touch is the cloud ear mushrooms and the bean thread noodles. It very Muttony and very Middle Eastern. Definitely an acquired taste for most.
Persimmon fritters are delicious although when I test the recipe I will fry them in extra virgin olive oil. We have a persimmon tree in our house in the country in Spain and I always run out of ideas on what to do with them. After our bellies are bursting with fresh persimmons we freeze them and weeks later put them in our Champion Juicer to make a sorbet that is exquisite. These fritters are fairly simple they only contain persimmon, flour and sugar.
We also bought dried persimmons that were juicy on the inside and dry on the outside.
If you live in China you know how popular skewered meats are, so of course this street is kebab-tastic. The spice mix is not very different to the Middle Eastern one or to one we would use in Spain.
When we visitied it was pomegranate season therefore here were so many pomegranate juice sellers. I love the pink color of the juice. My father was very keen on getting a pomegranate juicer. Around the terracotta warriors there are thousands of pomegranate trees and what is different is that all the pomegranates are individually wrapped in plastic. This I was told by our guide is to develop the sugar quicker and to protect them from birds.
For a respite from the crowds make your way to the Grand Mosque. The Muslim calligraphy is beautiful and the mixture of architecture styles (Muslim and Han) is very unique.