Shaanxi-style mutton and bread stew simmers. The next stall over, a vendor stirs liangpi (秦镇凉皮), a thick spicy cold noodle dish topped with a few choice vegetables. Guokui (锅盔), a warm filled flatbread, sits out tantalizingly next to a fresh pile of roujiamo (肉夹馍), more commonly known as Chinese-style hamburgers. Covered in spicy oil and washed down with cheap beer and good conversation, the snacks of the Xi'an night market are any foodie's dream come true. Follow the footsteps of many food enthusiasts and try some of the best snacks that can be found on the following Xi'an streets.
A vendor in the Damai Market. Photo: big5.china.com.cn
1) Damai Market Hui Food Street (大麦市街回民风味小吃街)View In Map
Damai Market is most famous for its Xi'an Muslim street food. The market is located in the Muslim neighbourhood and has unique architecture and a variety of unusual and delicious snacks. The market is always busy; an endless stream of hungry people flow in and out all day long. Many shops on the street are open 24 hours, so no one ever goes hungry, no matter what time it is. Specialties include savoury dried mutton meat (老童家腊牛羊肉) and liangfen(何家卤汁凉粉), a cold jelly in noodle form served with sauce. Steamed pork belly covered in rice (粉蒸肉) and baozi in steaming soup (灌汤包子) are also market favourites.
Add: Xi Dajie, north side of the Drum Tower, Lianhu District, Xi'an
Hours: not fixed, many shops open 24 hours
Getting there: ride bus No. 7, 15, 23, 31, 45, 201, 206, 215, 221, 222, 302, 604, 611, 612, k630, 通宵3 to Qiaozikou bus stop (桥梓口站)
2) North Guangji Hui Food Street (北广济街回民风味小吃街) View In Map
North Guangji Hui Food Street is very close to Damai Food Street. Together, the two make up the Muslim Street Food area of Xi'an. North Guanji is famous for its steaming hot zenggao (老马家甑糕王), sticky-rice with red bean and jujube. Even Xi'an's government officials will trek down to North Guangli for lunch in order to get a bite of the sweet, affordable snack. Also, be sure to try the stewed chicken (刘家烧鸡) and the five flavors dried mutton (老铁家五味腊牛羊肉).
Add: Bei Guangji Jie, Xi Dajie, Lianhu District, Xi'an
Getting there: ride bus No. 7, 15, 23, 45, 201, 206, 215, 218, 221, 222, 251, 302, 604, 611, 612, k630 to Guangji Jie bus stop (广济街站)
3) Beiyuanmen Night Market (北院门夜市)View In Map
Beiyuanmen Night Market (北院门夜市) is located in the north courtyard of Bell and Drum Tower square. Every night, hungry visitors pour in and gather around the many bustling food stalls. Market specialties include barbeque, jiasanguan baozi (贾三灌汤包子), steamed buns filled with sauce and shuipen-style lamb (水盆羊肉).
Add: Bell and Drum Tower Square, walk from the entrance of the Drum Tower, Lianhu District, Xi'an
Getting there: ride subway Line 2 to the Bell Tower station (钟楼站) or ride bus No. 221 to West Bell Tower bus stop (钟楼西站)
Dapiyuan Night Market. Photo: xwxian.cn
4) Dapiyuan Night Market (大皮院夜市)View In Map
Dapiyuan Night Market also specialises in Hui Muslim cuisine. The vast variety of delicious snacks available at the market is both a feast for the eyes and for the stomach. Try the Shaanxi traditional dish, paomo (老铁家牛羊肉泡馍), a hot stew of unleavened bread in lamb broth served with chunks of lamb, garlic and spicy sauce. The market is also known for its fenzheng (老刘家粉蒸肉), steamed hunks of meat covered in rice bits, as well as mutton and bread soup, dumplings, barbeque and large vegetarian food selection. While you're here, be sure to pick up some small flaky meat pastries and various forms of steamed bread as well.
Add: Dapiyuan Jie, opposite Xi'huamen, Lianhu District, Xi'an
Getting there: ride bus No. 502, 702 to Beiyuanmen bus stop (北院门站)
5) Dongxin Street Night Market (东新街夜市)View In Map
With over 50 stalls, Dongxin Street Night Market (东新街夜市) is one of the largest in Xi'an, and is the perfect place to taste the delicious flavours of many different traditional Shaanxi dishes. Not exclusively focusing on local cuisine, this market is really the place to try it all, from local snacks to the more mainstream street food favourites. The food selection ranges from traditional Guangzhou hotpot to Anhui-style tripe. Try the street food classic malatang (常记麻辣烫), a hot and spicy soup, the barbequed fish (小六烤肉烤鱼) and the baozi (小李家包子馆).
Add: middle section of Jiefang Lu, Xincheng District, Xi'an
Getting there: ride bus No. 13, 14, 30, 41, 42, 103, 105, 201, 240, 511, 607, 通宵 1, 通宵 2, 通宵 3, Wulong line (五龙专线), 游 1, 游 2, 游 3 to the Railway Station (火车站).
Nanshaomen Night Market. Photo: xasf.cn
6) Nanshaomen Night Market (南稍门夜市)View In Map
Every night Nanshaomen Night Market (南稍门夜市) is lit up and bustling with customers. The market boasts a rich variety of different snacks. Heat up with some Sichuan-style malatang (小四川麻辣烫) or hotpot (王记涮锅). Also, try the shaguo rice noodles (李老大砂锅米线), cooked in an earthenware bowl to keep the flavour in, and the pangsao barbeque fish (胖嫂烤肉烤鱼).
Add: outside of Nanshaomen, Yanta District, Xi'an
Getting there: ride subway Line 2 to Nanshaomen Station (南稍门站) or take bus No. 12, 14, 26, 31, 36, 40, 215, 229, 239, 321, 323, k203, 通宵2, Wulong line (五龙专线), 游 7 to Nanshaomen bus stop (南稍门站).
7) Jianxi Street Night Market (建西街夜市)View In Map
Jianxi Street Night Market (建西街夜市) covers all the food stall classics from shaguo rice noodles in an earthenware bowl and steaming malatang spicy soup, to fried dumplings and stir-fry. Many large stalls devote their nights to preparing various forms of barbeque for hungry customers. Try the fish stalls and round out the meal with a bowl of shaguo noodles (陈记砂锅米线) or malatang (李记麻辣烫).
Add: Jianxi Jie, Yanta District, Xi'an
Getting there: ride bus No. 710 to Jianxi Jie bus stop (建西街站)
8) Boshulin Night Market (柏树林夜市) View In Map
Every night, the food stalls of Boshulin Night Market (柏树林夜市) dish out a spicy malatang soup variant (俊鑫麻辣烫), as well as barbequed meat, grilled fish and fried dumplings. Locals and tourists dine together on different kinds of shaguo – meat with rice or noodles in earthenware bowls. Slurp up some spicy ramen lamian noodles (拉面) or transparent chemian noodles (扯面) with vegetables. Try snacks from the large Yaxin stall (亚鑫大排档) or wander the numerous other stands.
Add: inside Duanlumen, to the side of the Beilin Museum, Xincheng District, Xi'an
Getting there: ride bus No. 118, 214, 502, 619, 706, 707, 710, Wulong line (五龙专线), to Boshulin bus stop (柏树林站)
9) Beixin Street Night Market (北新街夜市) View In Map
Earthenware bowls containing shaguo steam and barbequed fish sizzles every night at the Beixin Street Night Market (北新街夜市). Munch on fresh tripe or try the local favorite, mashi (麻什). Mashi is a stir-fried Shaanxi pasta dish. To make mashi, vendors hand roll dough into small bite sized pieces to make noodles and then braze and fry them up with vegetables and spicy, savoury sauce.
Add: west side of Geming Park, Beixin Jie, Xincheng District, Xi'an
Getting there: ride bus No. 511 to Houzaimen bus stop (后宰门站)
10) Jiaotong University Ercun Night Market (交大二村夜市) View In Map
The Jiaoda Ercun Night Market (交大二村夜市) is a large one, located right by Jiaotong University. Its proximity to the school makes it popular for students looking for a midnight snack or after-dinner baozi. All the classic street market favourites can be found here, and it's open late every night.
Add: opposite Gongda South Gate, Xianning Lu, Xincheng District, Xi'an
Hours: 18:00- 24:00
Getting there: ride bus No. 7, 48, 240, 313, 351, 402, 508, 602, 800, 910, k228, Jiaoyu Line (教育专线) to Jiaotong University Shopping Centre bus stop (交大商场站)
The smell of frying oil, the clamor of woks and pans, the cries of the vendors and that first ravenous mouthful of spicy noodles are all part of the street stall culinary experience. Street food is an especially delicious part of Chinese culture so break out the disposable chopsticks and dig in.
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Keywords: Xi’an night markets Xi’an street food Xi’an cuisine
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