Muslim Food Street, Xian,China.

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20th April 2016

Xi’an Muslim Food Street area is the collective name for a number of streets, including Beiyuanmen Street, North Guangji Street, Xiyangshi Street and Dapiyuan Street, and it is known for its profound Muslim cultural atmosphere. It is the hub of the Muslim community in Xian City, Shaanxi Province.

Xi’an was the starting point of the ancient Silk Road 1,000 years ago in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-9 AD). A number of merchants and overseas students from the Arabic countries and Persia went to Xi’an for business and studying since the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-9 AD); they settled down on the present Muslim Street, and they were called the “Hui people” by the locals. One generation after another, the descendants of the Hui ethnic people multiplied and lived on the street, and the number has now reached over 60,000.

This street is paved with dark colored stone and green trees providing heavy shade during summer; the buildings on both sides of the street are modeled on the styles of both the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing Dynasties (1644-1911). It has restaurants, food stalls and souvenir shops all owned by Muslims serving halal food.

There is a variety of food here from barbecue meat, deep fried fish and octopuses to paye with naan (very lahori style), fresh noodles being made live and a great variety of breads (plain and some stuffed with meat).  Various sweets are also available and the candy stretching and beating is done live on the street. We also get fresh juices of seasonal fruits and ice lollies. Huge range of dry fruits is also available and roasting of walnuts is also done on the street.  Walnuts and dates in china are much larger than the ones we get in Pakistan. Dry spices and chutnies are also sold on the street.

Many other dishes are also served, but due to language barrier it was difficult to ask and understand.

We see most of the food stalls are run by women with head scarfs/ hijabs. And men are seen with white caps to distinguish themselves as Muslims. A few old men are seen with typical Chinese beards like we see in old Chinese movies.

Coming from a Muslim majority country and visiting China (a communist country) I never imagined witnessing all this.

‘Religion is the opium of the people,’ said Karl Marx

Muslims here practice their religion openly without any pressure from government. There are mosques and people offer their 5 times prayers and all other Islamic rituals. Muslims living here are practicing Muslims.

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Entrance to the food Street
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paved street with shady trees on both sides

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Dry fruit shops

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huge walnuts

Candy stretching, beating and cutting

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cutting the candy after beating

Sweets/mithai

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Spices and Chutnies

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Barbecue meat on interesting sticks

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Deep fried meats

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deep fried octopus

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lamb’s hoofs stew /Paye (lahori style)

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Breads

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Noodles

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Soups

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Ice lollies

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I tried the second one from left, turned out to be the most delicious mango lolly.My friend tried the green one with a strawberry slice in the center, it tasted like tamarind/imli lolly

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Very delicious looking pudding kind of sweet dish, they cut it in the triangular shape and put a stick in it and some more sauce if required.

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Spicy Tofu

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Shrimps

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Fresh juices

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There was a lot more being served but due to language barrier I was unable to get their names.

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these looked like ras gullas but had spicy dressings with it

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Almost every one in the street had one of these
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some spicy potato dish

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looked like shami kebabs

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Beggars on the street are all very old people

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architectural style of shops and restaurants
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Halal in Arabic is written on most of the shops with Qalima in Arabic also on some

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Halal meat butcher’s shops
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9 thoughts on “Muslim Food Street, Xian,China.

  1. well done, Maaria. Excellent photography and write-up. In Xinjiang (Kashgar, Yarkand, Karghalik and way stations en route) it was difficult to find vegetarian food!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. Your feedback means a lot. I wish to travel from Shanghai to kashgar now. Hoping it happens soon. And yes you are right this is the only place we ate meat just for one day. Rest of the 15 days it was only boiled or fried baingan and band gobi Kay pattay and sometimes arvi too, served in very small plates with the most unbearable sticky rice.

      Like

  2. Beautifully documented 🙂 I got reminded of my own food walk in the lanes of Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi) near Jama Masjid. Variety of “foods”, fragrances….naayaab utensils ..and unique faces 🙂 I guess such a ‘diversity’ is perhaps a common feature among such baazaars across the globe 🙂 Well knit story. cheers! bless you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a comprehensive take on Muslim street food in Xi’an! I’d definitely need to learn a bit of Mandarin before going there so that locals can explain to me what it is. It’s such a pity if I couldn’t document each and every one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

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