Friday, July 31, 2015

Xi'an Huimin Street- Food and Shopping

Huimin Jie (回民一条街) or Muslim Street is a very busy street at night! We stayed in Xi'an for two nights, and we strolled around the street and the surrounding area for both nights.  Muslim Street in Xi'an is the gathering place for Muslim community in Xi'an. Some sources stated the date of the street back to 206 BC, when "Hui" people started to gather around the area. If it is true, then the street is now more than 2000 years old!

The street is also called Beiyuan Men (北院门), around 500 meters long, its location, just in front of the Clock Tower of Xi'an. There are more than 60,000 Muslims live in that area, which the whole area basically transforms into a giant belt of night market after sunset. The street has a great collection of halal traditional food, snacks, drinks, local fruits and crops right from the farm, souvenirs with bargain-able price, and many more. Accompanying the dazzling light and the voice of the hawkers and retailers promoting their products- the never ending flow of visitors. Let us bring you around with our photos.

The Bell Tower during the day time. Both the Bell Tower and Clock Tower are icons of Xi'an.

Xi'an Bell Tower at night.

Xi'an Clock Tower is just 200 meters west of the Bell Tower, at the another side of Bell and Drum Tower Square.

We have no idea how the street looks like during the day. But we know how it is at night.

Most if not all, the stalls and hawkers are Muslims, selling souvenirs (upper left), assorted BBQ mutton, beef, and seafood (upper right), and noodle (lower right). The shop keepers can be easily identified by their white hats and head covering costume.

We tried many food and drinks along the street, including the local fruit drink and yogurt (upper left), meigui jinggao (玫瑰镜糕) (upper right), and guihua gao (桂花糕). All were good except guihua gao, which was for us, tasteless.

We stopped by the stall with deep fried banana and soft shell crab (upper left), fried cuttle fish (upper right), mutton pan-fried pie, and fresh cherry. All the food were really nice. The cherry was a bit sour but still acceptable.

Ling Shing's parents at the night market street.

Weiwei BBQ was the best for us. We couldn't stop taking the mutton and beef from the stall.

We visited a noodle station along the street and tried two different local dishes- biang biang noodle (upper right) and the beef noodle (upper left). The price for both dishes were not cheap (lower right) but the taste was "special" (nope, delicious is definitely not the word). To our suprise, there was no beef in the serving of beef noodle.  We came across the coolest Mandarin character, which pronounced as "biang". The word might carry the meaning of the sound "biang" when the noodle was made. Well, biang-biang noodle is shown on lower right, which cannot be found from the dictionary at the moment.

The streets around Muslim Street and the Bell Tower were safe at night. Or at least, we didn't feel threatened. There was one thing which we were quite worried- the battery-powered bike. The bike was really quiet on the road. Well, we learned that we should not avoid the bike when it was approaching from behind. The driver would usually avoid us quietly unless he sound the honk from a distance away, alerting that he wouldn't give way to the pedestrian.

Besides Muslim Street (Beiyuan Men), there are several other streets crossing each others, but don't worry, we won't get lost if we have good sense of direction. For souvenirs, the price was cheaper in the branching streets compared to the main street. A deal with 20% off was done when we tried to buy more. We bought a few key chains, clay-made terracotta warriors (about 2 inch tall), giant jujube, and some snacks as souvenirs. The price for the food however was quite standardized across the area.

Other than local delicacies at Muslim Street, we were also being arranged to dine in two different restaurants- Chuanyu Family Restaurant and Renren Ju Restaurant. Both restaurants provided good Chinese food. For us, Renren Ju Restaurant was better.  

Ramada Xi'an Bell Tower Hotel has unbeatable location. Situated at the center within the old city wall, many attractions and shopping malls are within walking distance from the hotel. By foot, the hotel is just 5 minutes away from the Muslim Street and the Bell Tower. It is 10 minutes away from the Clock Tower. The room was clean and comfy, with good amenity. However, the service was not up to the standard, especially the breakfast- very slow service and many plates were left empty, with no refill of food after 8:30 am, even though the breakfast time was far from over. The wifi connection was slow as well. Anyway, we weren't really bothered by the breakfast service or the online surfing speed. Location is the more important after all. For Xi'an, we would recommend to stay somewhere nearby the Bell and Clock Towers and the Muslim Street.

Located at 79 North Street, the hotel is indeed at the center of the city (upper left). The dining area (upper right) and the bedroom in the hotel.

After staying in China for eight days, we departed back to Malaysia from Xi'an International Airport, with a transit at Shanghai International Airport. The overall arrangement of the tour was great and we enjoyed it very much. China again? Definitely yes.

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