Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sampling Xi'an's Famous Noodles

Xi'an is known for its street food, from chua'r, or kebabs, yang rou pao mo, or a lamb-based soup with pieces of flat bread in it, and noodles, lots of noodles.

There are shou la mian, or hand pulled noodles, dou qie mian, or sliced into long strips with a knife, and then there's biang biang mian, where the elastic dough is hit against the table many times making a "biang biang" sound.

What's interesting is that the character for biang is really big -- no one remembers how to write it as it's composed of many characters together, and it's not entered in Chinese computer programming so you can't find the character in the pinyin or character building system on the keyboard.

Anyway -- it was a street food that I had heard a lot about and wanted to try.

A colleague offered to take me to a biang biang mian restaurant -- which curiously are hard to find. We got the address of one online, but it turned out it had already closed down.

We finally found one down a small street with the giant biang character above the door.

Inside the simple eatery just had stools around tables, but sadly no "biang biang" noises were heard from the kitchen.

And how was the biang biang mian?

It was a bowl of wide noodles, as if eating ravioli skins, in a thick meaty sauce with a side of scrambled eggs and tomato, a homestyle staple dish.

While I like eating noodles, this one wasn't quite what I was expecting, with the rich oily sauce. I just barely finished mine, while my colleague wasn't quite into hers and left half of it.

If all the biang biang mian in the city taste like this, no wonder many of these shops have closed down. Oh well. At least I can say I tried it!


ks said...

there is a muslim street which is full of local eateries and souvenir shops near downtown xian. we have tried similar dishes. yea, most of them too salty and oily. but damn cheap. i like the dumplings though. about one rmb each.

Airchild said...

I'm really curious about how the character "biang" looks. Did you take a picture of the sign from the outside? Hope you are enjoying Xi'an's other aspects :)