To get a better understanding of a city, the best way is to get involved of local daily life. You can participate local events, taste local food and communicate with locals. Walk into the Silk Road to learn about its culture.
Xian Featured Food -- salty and chewy
The Silk Road is another gate to get a deep insight of Chinese culture. Here you will be shocked by the stunning natural landscapes, mysterious historical site, huge cultural shock of different areas and colorful lifestyles of ethnic minorities. When walking along the Silk Road, you can sense how ancient businessmen transported commodities to Western countries and brought back fabulous music, dance, paintings, etc. The trip will be full of surprises and definitely be an unforgettable experience.
Yangrou Paomo, the most famous dish that you should not miss in Xian. It is a soup dish, made by selected beef or mutton. The soup is rich and thick. There are a lot of time-honored restaurants for choosing, such as " Old Sun Family's" (in the Luoma and East-street crossing) and the "Tong Sheng Xiang" (Prosperity and Fortune) Beef and Mutton Paomo Restaurant(in Xi'an Bell Tower and Drum Tower Square)
As the most widely loved flour food, dumpling is also another dish you should not miss. Dumpling Banquet is a featured snack innovated on the basis of traditional recipe by Xi'an Jiefang Road Dumpling Restaurant and De Fa Chang Dumpling Restaurant. It includes almost 120 varieties and knows as "one dumpling one shape, hundred dumplings hundred tastes". Well-known restaurants contains De Fa Chang, Jie Fang Lu Jing He Jiao Zi Guan, Da Qing Hua Jiao Zi Guan, Wang Jia Jiao Zi, Pi Bo Li Jiao Zi Guan, Da Niang Shui Jiao and Dong Yi Lu Jiao Zi Guan.
Liang Pi (Cold Noodles)
Cold Noodle must be the most popular snack as you can find it everywhere in Xian. It is made of steamed rice or wheat flour, and will be cut in to pieces just like noodle. When eaten, Cold Noodle should be mixed with hot red pepper, sauce, salt, vinegar, mashed garlic, bean sprout. Famous restaurants include Wei Jia Liang Pi, Yun Lao Si Liang Pi Dian, Xue Chang Li Da Mi Mian Pi, Sheng Zhi Wang Ma Jiang Niang Pi Pu, Shan Xin Gan Mian Pi, Zhang Jun Gan Mian Pi, Tie Tou Liang Pi, etc
Rou Jia Mo (Shaanxi Sandwich)
Rou Jia Mo is anther popular snack you can find everywhere in Xian with amazing price, like Huimin Street (Muslim Street). It’s made of finely braised and chopped pork, wrapped by griddle steamed bread, easy for taking away.
Gansu Featured Food -- heaven of wheat food with spicy or sour flavor
Lanzhou Beef Noodles (Lamian)
Lanzhou Beef Noodle is made of hand-pulled noodle, white carrot slices, beef slices, chili pepper oil with fired sesame, green onion and tasting beef flavored soup. It’s a representative dish and the bowl is exquisite. Recommended restaurants include Mazilu Beef Lamian Restaurant and Jinding Beef Noodles Restaurant.
Camel Hoof got its name for the shape that is like camel prints on the Jokul. It’s actually tendon and highly nutritious. The cooking method is very complicated with lots of seasonings. It’s an unique dish because camel is the most important means of transportation on Silk Road in ancient times.
Niang Pi, one kind of noodle, is bright golden color as translucent as jades. Mix it with red chili oil, diced green onions, the taste will be more appetizing and alluring both for the eyes and the mouth. You can find it everywhere in Dunhuang, such as night markets and small restaurants.
Stir-fried Hump with Five Shredding
Stir-fried Hump with Five Shredding is a traditional Dunhuang dish, a favorite of high-ranking imperial concubine Yang Yuhuan of the Tang Dynasty. Ingredients is camel hump, five shredding consists of Yulan (dryed bamboo shoot), Dongru (a type of mushroom), leek shoots, ham and chicken breast. It’s delicious, as well as full of historical stories.
Xinjiang Featured Food -- staple food is beef, mutton and noodle with spicy or sour flavor
The most representative and popular snack in Xinjiang must be Kebabs. The kebabs taste crispy and great as they mix with pepper paprika, salt and cumin. Kebabs stalls are everywhere and what’s more attractive is that the cooks are performing Xinjiang dances with music when roasting the mutton.
Urumqi Dapan Ji
It’s a well-known Hui dish, also named Big Plate of Chicken. The major ingredient is chicken, together with other seasonings such as tomato, pepper, salt, onion, etc. It’s usually for 3-4 persons. You can choose Zhongpan Ji as it’s suitable for 2-3 persons. Well-known restaurant is Qosh Amet.
Xinjiang Grilled Fish
Grilled fish is the classical flavor of Kashgar snacks, crispy and delicious, distinctive dish. It’s made by an traditional Uygur way, which fishes are pieced with long sticks and put in a circle around a fire.
It’s Uygurs’ snack, which has over 10 varieties. Nang is roasted in a special oven which is made of mud and earth. It’s mixed with wheat flour, corn flour or sorghum flour, sesame seeds, onions, eggs, vegetable oil, butter, milk, salt and sugar. The color is golden yellow and it’s very crispy.
As there are plenty of sunshine and little rain, fruits in Xinjiang and Gansu are especially sweet with high sugar. In summer and autumn, Xinjiang and Gansu produce a great variety of fresh fruits. Melons are as much as 50 species and Hami melon is the typical one. Grade Valley in Turpan is also a famous for its grapes and raisins. Other fruits are as below:
In June: Apricots (xingzi), plums (meizi) and mulberries (sangshu);
In August: Melons (gua) in July; peaches (taozi), figs (wuhuaguo) and grapes (putao)
In September: Pome granates (shiliu), apples (pingguo) and pears (lizi).
As everyone knows, Silk Road used to a commercial trade and merchandise exchange route. Now there are still lots of local fairs, selling various commodities such as ethnic musical instruments, handicrafts, dry fruits, wine, Chinese art works. When buying souvenirs or snacks, you could bargain and talk with locals. That’s a great chance to have a cross-cultural communication. Handing around these local fairs is the best way to get a deeper insight of local customs and lifestyle. Followings are some recommended local fairs for reference:
Erdaoqiao Market in Urumqi
As the most famous trading center of full-bodied Uyghur features, Erdaoqiao Market is always filled with charming exotic atmosphere. There are four floors and over 2000 kinds of products are sold, such as folk costume, ethnic caps, artwares, carpets, tapestries, Pakistan bronze brass, Turkey knit goods, compressive folk song and dance banquet hall in Urumqi, and visitors can find inviting mutton eaten by hands, fragrant baked steamed buns, delicious roast whole lamb and kinds of unknown Xinjiang snacks. It’s located on No.37 South Jiefang Road, Urumqi City, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Wuyi Xingguang Night Market
The Urumqi Wuyi Xingguang Night Market, is a Muslim flavor snack street, located in Wuyi East Road. It’s established by government in 1992, including 500 stalls. The market is decorated with thousands of shinning stars and lights. When the night falls, stars and lights are on and the whole street is lighted up with colorful lights, stunning and magnificent. Various snacks and special products are sold. You can enjoy delicious local snacks when wondering to appreciate the beautiful scenery.
Livestock Market in Kashgar
Livestock Market is for trading livestock, such as camels, yaks, horses, and goats. It’s very popular among locals and usually held on weekends. You can enjoy special exotic atmosphere when taste yummy snacks.
Shazhou Market in Dunhuang
Shazhou Market is an ideal place to learn about Dunhuang customs and buy the local made products. The market is very big, which there are over 100 stalls. You can finds lots of special hand-made carpet, handcrafts, knitted sweaters, ethic costumes and etc.
Popular the Silk Road Trips
Want to get know the history of Silk Road? Plesee see our more popular silk road experience and cultural trips to explore this ancient wonder:
We have developed some special activities along silk road route, including to discover a mysterious place to have a close experience with visiting local village. Contact us if you want to add these activities to your itinerary.
More about Silk Road Travel