Xi’an Famous Foods
81 St Marks Pl
(between 2nd Ave & 1st Ave)
New York, NY 10003
This, my friends, is my go-to weekday spot when I don’t feel like cooking and want something delicious and cheap. Xi’an is a city in China in the Shaanxi province that is fairly centrally located. Its cuisine therefore is heavily influenced by all regions of China, especially Sichuan for its spiciness and numbing flavors. As the first capital of China and the start of the Silk Road, Xi’an cuisine is also influenced by Middle Eastern cuisine. Hence, you’ll see a lot of cumin-flavored meats… I always get three things at Xi’an: a noodle dish, a burger, and a tofu dish.
Pictured here is the Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles ($4.50). This is a very traditional dish that originated in Xi’an. The noodles are made from rice and are served cold with cucumber, bean sprouts, cilantro, and chewy tofu/bean curd pieces. The sauce is garlicy, sweet, sour, spicy, and tingly all at the same time. It honestly is an explosion of flavors and textures. The noodles are very springy and chewy, which pair very well with the crisp cucumbers. The cucumbers, bean sprouts, and cilantro add a bit of freshness to the spicy and oily sauce. I always, ALWAYS get this in the summer because it is light and refreshing, especially compared to Xi’an Famous Food’s other noodles… I took my dad here when he came to visit and he thought that this was even better than what we get in Beijing. He’s from Xi’an, so he would know.
The other noodles are all hand-pulled noodles. There is quite a variety of flavors, my favorites being the Spicy Cumin Lamb, Spicy Hot Oil Seared, and the Pork “Zha Jiang” noodles. These noodles are made with flour and are hand pulled to a tremendously chewy texture. They are wide and flat, equivalent of a pappardelle pasta. As you can see, the noodle dishes are saucy as hell. You can generally adjust the level of spiciness though don’t go asking for zero spice because it just isn’t going to happen. They pride themselves in serving authentic Chinese food and will only cater to your weak buds to a small extent. Honestly, if you can’t handle it, you should just force yourself to eat spice more often and you’ll soon appreciate it, I promise. Continue reading Xi’an Famous Foods, one of the most authentic Chinese restaurants in the city.