>> Tuesday, October 11, 2011
My dad is a historical buff, especially Chinese history. Growing up it was inevitable that I got my own so-called personal Chinese history tutor. Even my husband has gotten his fair share of "knowledge" over the years. So when we decided to tell my parents that we were going to Asia for our next vacation two questions came from my dad. 1. Are you visiting the great wall? 2. What about the terra cotta warriors? Let's just say he was pleased with both answers. I personally have been intrigued by the Terra Cotta warriors for a long time, which was why Xian was number two on our travel itinerary.
Of course there is a lot more to Xian then just the Terra Cotta warriors. Xian was the capital of China for over 500 years and there are many emperor and dynasty tombs to highlight this. Walking around the city you get a feel for how ancient some of the buildings are including the Bell and Drum towers located in the center of the city walls.
Right by the towers lies the Muslim district where you can find the Great Mosque (the only mosque to be completely built in the traditional Chinese style), do some trinket shopping and grab cheap eats. It's busy all day but at night is when the crowds come to sample the street food found only in Xian.
One of these specialties is the Yang Rao Pao Mo, which consisting of the ordering desk thrusting a couple pieces at brea at you after you order. You rip the bread in to tiny pieces based on your preference and then give it back to the kitchen. The chef then pours delicious beef and mutton soup over your bread and brings it back out to you. It's like nothing I have experienced before and can only relate the taste of the dish to eating little doughy balls if gnocchi in amazing savory soup. The beef and mutton ate fall off the bone tender yet still full of meaty flavor!
Things to keep in mind to try are also the green bean cakes, made with mung bean flour. They have always been my favorite growing up as a kid, but I've only ever been able to get them when my aunt use to make them so you could imagine how ecstatic I was when I could buy them off the street!
There's the braised Meat stuffed bread (Roujiamo). You can find this from the crowds surrounding the stall or just follow your nose. The chefs will pull out the steaming hot beef from the pots, chop it up and mix it with the stewing juices before placing it all in between some bread. Simple yet delicious!
Xian is also the birthplace of the dumpling and you can attend dumpling banquets which showcases the dumpling in all forms: shapes, sizes and varieties. A well known place is known as Defachang, which is located in the square right by the drum tower (just look up, it’s on the second level).
Don't be afraid to sample the variety of street foods as well and maybe pick up some dates and walnuts to keep you going!