Thursday, September 25, 2008

Xi'an Discoveries: The Muslim Quarter

Before yesterday, essentially all we knew about Xi'an was that it is where the Terra Cotta warriors are located. Some quick research via the Internet and tour books clued us in that there are some other interesting things to check out while in town.

One great discovery has been the Muslim quarter. This section of town is full of lots of incredible foods. Some are familiar. For example, there are dried fruits everywhere. We decided to try out the dried kiwi slices. Julie will agree with me when I say they were excellent, vaguely similar to, and maybe better than, dried pineapples.

Then there is the brick oven-baked bread. The guy basically takes the dough and slaps it against the side of this circular, fire-filled chamber. Kind of resembles naan, but with different seasonings. Even though they're like the size of a frisbee, we wolf 'em down three at a time.

Other treats are not recognizable at all. We kept seeing people walking down the street munching on these orange-colored little cakes. Desi was thinking nangua bing, the pumpkin cakes she has become very attached to. So I asked these guys who were passing by, "Zhei shi nangua ma?" Is that pumpkin? "Bu shi," came the reply. No, it isn't. Well, what is it then? Not understanding the response, I decided to go for it anyway. How bad could it be with so many people biting into it? The verdict? I have no idea what I just ate, but it was unbelievable! Man, the food in Xi'an is good!

Then, just a few hours ago, Julie went up to this place where they had a bunch of apples on display. They looked really good. After some inquiry, it sounded to us like the apples were served in these bowls with some kind of syrup and other pieces of fruit. We weren't that far off...except for the fact that the apples were not part of the deal at all! They must have just been there for show. Another excellent surprise. There were apple pieces, plus lots of other types of fruits floating in the bowl.

All this, and we haven't even mentioned the great little noodle place where they serve steaming starch water in little bowls nor the fact that we did some good, cheap shopping while eating our way from one end of the Muslim quarter to the other...



At 8:51 PM, Blogger Corrie said...

Yummy!! I remember the lamb being delicious in the Muslim Quarter. I also really liked the dried kiwis. Have you been to the drum tower in Xian? Be very careful. This is where my digital camera was stolen; complete with 500 of my China pictures. :0(

At 2:29 AM, Blogger The Balla Family said...

Dear Corrie,

Xi'an quickly became one of our favorite cities. We ate our way from one end to the other, for four days. We did not venture up into the drum tower, although we walked around it each day. The Muslim Quarter was awesome! I don't think we tried the lamb (it may have been in the noodle soup, and if so it was delicious), but we did try everything else!




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