If you join one of our Xian tours, make sure to come hungry and prepare to experience outstanding Xian food. It’s a rich gastronomic experience, shaped by a range of cultures, religions, and traditions, that’ll take you back to ancient China with just a single bite.
From biang biang noodles to roujiamo pita sandwiches, and juicy, spicy beef dumplings, Xian food is heaven for locals and tourists alike. Our Xiam tour guides know where to try all the food classics and visit the best restaurants Xian has to offer.
Xian food guide
Wondering where to find the best Xian food and restaurants? Find out in this complete guide to food in Xian sourced from our Xian tour guides.
Classic Xian foods you can’t miss
Xian has one of the world’s longest culinary histories, and one of the richest too. Xian cuisine is strongly influenced by Islamic food and flavors, thanks to the large Muslim community in the area. Expect fragrant and spicy dishes, imbu with heavy ingredients, like lamb, beef, garlic, onion, and vinegar.
From sizzling street stall kebabs to sophisticated fine dining, there are so many must-try dishes that by the time you finish all of them, you’ll have a great understanding of authentic Xian food. Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of top classic Xian foods you can’t miss.
Paomo is Xian’s signature dish and comes with a uniquely relaxing eating experience. After ordering, you will be served a bowl with two pieces of flatbread. It’s your job to tear the bread into tiny pieces so you can get the true feel for the bread and have a little fun too. Next, you return your pieces of bread to the kitchen. While you’re sitting down, trading gossip with the locals, the flatbread is topped with vermicelli, slices of lamb or beef, and some chopped greens, before being cooked in broth.
Roujiamo is an absolute must-try food when visiting Xian. It’s a perfect mix of both fatty and lean pork meat, served inside a crispy and fluffy bread. To ensure it’s packed with flavors, the meat is braised in a marinade for hours, and then hand-minced, while the bread is baked in a traditional furnace.
Wherever roujiamo is sold, there’ll be Liangpi, or cold noodles. As the name suggests, cold noodles are made by cooking thinly sliced noodles, then setting them aside until cool. Before being served, the noodles are topped with bean sprouts and drizzled with a sesame paste sauce, black vinegar, salt, and roasted chili oil.
Qishan Saozi noodles (岐山臊子面)
Handmade noodles and minced meat are two vital elements for a steaming bowl of Qishan-style Saozi noodles. It’s a dish with a long history, dating all the way back to the Zhou Dynasty. The thin and smooth wheat flour noodles are flavored with various savory ingredients, such as diced pork, black mushrooms, diced carrots, potatoes, garlic, egg, and bean curd. After being topped with a sour and spicy soup, the cooked Saozi noodles leave a delicious aftertaste.
Guang Tang Bao (灌汤包)
Guang Tang Bao is literally what it says it is: Chinese bun filled with meat and soup. Fragrant soup, packed inside an extremely thin bun, that ‘looks like a chrysanthemum when served in the steamer, and like a lantern after being picked up’. Add some local special vinegar and chili, and you’ve got yourself an appetizing Xian specialty dish.
Fun fact: Did you know the word ‘Biang” is also one of the most complex Chinese characters there is? Touted as one the eight strange wonders of Shaanxi because of the belt-like shape, Biangbiang noodles are the famously long and thick, hand-stretched noodles from the Shaanxi Province. Topped with chili sauce and a variety of vegetables, you’ll be amazed by the simplicity and rich flavors of this Xian food.
Famous streets for food in Xian
You don’t have to travel all over the place to enjoy classic Xian foods. Most of these foods can be found on Xian’s most famous streets for food. This way, you can walk around, explore, and eat as much delicious Xian food at your own pace. These are the three streets you’ll want to spend most of your time on to enjoy the best food in Xian.
Muslim Street (回民街)
Savor the flavors of Xian in the city’s most famous cultural food street, Muslim Street. This beautiful and colorful street bursts with authentic local restaurants, shops, and stalls.
With over 300 different delicacies to try, taking a stroll through Muslim Street will surely make your mouth water. But once you’re finished eating, you don’t have to leave Muslim Street just yet. Why not continue walking, and marvel at the Ming and Qing-style architecture? Or pick up a special souvenir at one of the many shops?
Muslim Street is located on the west side of Bell and Drum Tower Square, and easily accessible by public transport.
Datang Tongyifang (大唐通易坊)
Datang Tongyifang, a beautiful antique commercial street with Tang Dynasty architecture. Datang Tongyifang is home to various amazing exotic restaurants and has a variety of restaurants. Besides famous Chinese regional cuisine, you’ll also find restaurants that serve Japanese, South Korean, Indian, and Western cuisine as well.
Located on the west side of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda Square, Datang Tongyifang is the perfect place to finish a day of sightseeing and fuel up on Xian food.
Dongxin Street (东新街)
After a long day of shopping and sightseeing, the famous Dongxin Street night markets are the ideal destination for sampling a diverse range of Xian foods.
Come nightfall, the street comes alive with beautiful, colorful lights, various snack stalls, and bustling crowds seeking a midnight snack. Here, you can try anything from crayfish to kebabs, teppanyaki, soup or delicious dumplings. Dongxin Street is located on the east side of Xincheng Square in the Xincheng District. You can easily get there by public transport.
Our top pick restaurants for sampling authentic Xian food
The local guides from ChinaTours.com have been eating in Xian for decades, so we know exactly where to go for an authentic Xian food experience. That’s why we created a list of our top picks restaurants in Xian.
Xian Restaurant (西安饭庄)
Xian Restaurant is a well-established restaurant serving a range of authentic Shaanxi classics, such as Hulu chicken, sweet rice fried with fruit nuts, and Jinsiyouta. You know it’s worth your while if many state leaders have graced the tables of this restaurant. An average meal costs about CNY90 per person (around USD15). Xian Restaurant is only a stone’s throw away from Bell Tower, located in the Zhonglou Hotel at 110 South Street.
Qinfeng Lou (秦风楼)
Looking for authentic Shaanxi cuisine at a reasonable price? Why not head over to Qinfeng Lou on Yanta Nan Street, one of the best places in Xian for local food. Besides serving delicious classics, like cucumber salad, fried eggplant and bean, and heluo noodles, Qinfeng Lou is also beautifully decorated, and their customer service is splendid. The average cost for a meal is about CNY60 per person (around USD10). Located just south of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda Square, Qinfeng Lou is a great option for eating out before or after a visit to the Pagoda.
Defachang Dumpling Restaurant (德发长饺子馆)
Defachang Dumpling Restaurant is famous for its outstanding dumpling banquets. These banquets are regarded as the most diversified and upscale within China. It’s a restaurant with a long history, which shows in both its antique exterior, resembling the ancient Tang Dynasty architecture, and its spacious and glamorous interior, providing a comfortable and elegant dining experience. You can enjoy the experience for about CNY100 per person (around USD17). Defachang Dumpling Restaurant is conveniently located between Bell Tower and Drum Tower, at 3 West Street in the Lianhu District.
China Folks Restaurant (百姓厨房)
For a taste of classic Shaanxi home-style dishes, make sure to visit China Folks Restaurant. This restaurant excels in serving delicious Shaanxi dishes and providing attentive customer service. Signature dishes include wonton, bean noodles in chili sauce, fried dumplings, and boiled sheep’s blood in chili sauce. In addition, the China Folks Restaurant also serves many Sichuan dishes. On average, a meal costs about CNY80 per person (around USD14). China Folks Restaurant is located at the Southeast Crossroad in Weiyang District.
Fanji Roujiamo (樊记肉夹馍)
Fanji Roujiamo is a local chain restaurant, located at 51 Zhubashi Street. Probably not surprisingly, but Fanji Roujiamo is very famous amongst the locals for its insanely tasty roujiamo.
Besides roujiamo, the restaurant also serves a range of other authentic Shaanxi classics, such as cold noodles, eggs and fermented rice soup, Saozi noodles, and hot and sour rice noodles, all reasonably priced. An average meal costs about CNY16 per person (around USD3).
Other Chinese restaurants in Xian that are worth a visit
Xian Roast Duck Restaurant (西安烤鸭店)
High-quality duck meat, prepared and served by highly skilled staff, Xian Roast Duck Restaurant is the ideal place in Xian to sample some deliciously roasted duck. Ordering is simple, they have an English menu with pictures. An average meal costs about CNY60 per person (around USD10).
Xian Roast Duck Restaurant is located at no. 1 Middle section of Laowei Road in the Beilin District.
Tianlongbaoyan Vegetarian Restaurant (天龙宝严素食馆)
Looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city? The secluded atmosphere of Tianlongbaoyan offers a tranquil and peaceful dining experience in a Buddhistic ambiance. Of course, the major appeal of the restaurant lies in its exquisite vegetarian cuisine. The average cost of a meal is about CNY80 per person (around USD14).
Tianglongbaoyan Vegetarian Restaurant is located at no. 1 West Ci’en Road in the Yanta District.
Yue Zhen Xuan (粤珍轩)
Need a break from the heavy and spicy flavors of Xian food? Yue Zhen Xuan offers Cantonese-style food in an elegant establishment. Options include a variety of seafood dishes, crispy chicken, braised pork with soy sauce, or late-night tea, which is served after 8.30 pm. There’s a separate indoor playing area for kids, making it the perfect place for a family dinner. An average meal costs about CNY100 per person (around USD17).
Yue Zhen Xuan is located at no. 256 Dongzin Street on Xincheng Square, in the Xincheng District.
Popular non-Chinese restaurants in Xian
If you need a break from Chinese cuisine, there are a few great options for western dining in Xian. One of them is Cyclist Restaurant, an Italian restaurant with a quirky bike-themed interior. They serve pizza, pasta, and other Italian-style dishes. Cyclist restaurant is located at no.25 Huangcheng East Road in the Xincheng District.
Another one of our favorites is DUO, which serves authentic Spanish cuisine. DUO is located in the Gran Melia Hotel at no. 1666 Qujianchi West Road in the Quijang District. It’s Xian’s first Spanish-themed restaurant, with authentic Spanish chefs and sommeliers. The food is not only a feast for the eyes, but also for your stomach.
Last, but certainly not least, in our top picks of restaurants in Xian: Ganges Indian Restaurant. Delicious and authentic Indian food, served right where the Silk Road, the route that joined China and India, begins. Ganges Indian Restaurant is located at A5-3 Happy Mall Food Court, at Ci’en Road in the Yanta District.
Looking for a destination unlike any other in China? Why not book a Xian tour, or one of our multi-day China tours, and experience the many traditions and tastes this ancient city has to offer. Make a bike ride on the city wall, enjoy breathtaking views at Mount Hua, or indulge with dumplings at a beautifully prepared banquet.
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