As I have stated in other posts the way to enjoy Chinese food properly is of course with chop sticks and also with many people. The time our group spends the most together is around a large lazy susan gushing about the day or eager to start a day. Dishes are brought to us the second we sit down and don’t stop until we are about to explode! As each city is introduced to me I am more and more enthralled in its adventures and cuisine. Thus I bring you ‘Sharing in Xi’an’… my new favorite city in China or at least it is higher on my list than poor Beijing. We arrived in Xi’an at 4:30 in the morning and we were woken up by bright lights and loud Chinese chatter. The beds were not comfortable and using my bumpy lumpy backpack as my pillow did not make it any better of an experience but that is exactly what it is… an experience.
Upon arrival at the hotel the room wasn’t ready and the breakfast buffet wasn’t set … so we sat. This was not the worst since all of us were too tired to function anyway. The breakfast was served hot and fresh at 7:00 am and we were a few of the firsts to be in line. Breakfast in China consists of various vegetable dishes, with staples like hard boiled eggs soaked in tea and grease sticks to dip in sugary warm milk. This buffet also offered a yogurt drink that is like plain yogurt you slurp out with a straw, it doesn’t sound like anything amazing but I always found myself downing at least two for breakfast along with mini Chinese cucumbers. All the food here is amazing but my body craves fresh veggies every once in a while and this buffet hit the spot.
Xi’an food had its ups and downs as our tour guide decided to take us to a “Chinese” buffet. This was in an elaborate looking hotel, which should of belonged in Disney Land. There was also nothing traditional about this meal and that was apparent by the swarms of foreigners rushing to get fed as well as the rough translations of the meal choices. Mashed potatoes were labeled as Soil Bean Mud and after examination it could make sense that a potato which didn’t originate in the Chinese culture could be considered a “soil bean” but where the “mud” came from … no one knows! There was also a meat with “burnt potatoes” dish which were really only in an orange colored sauce that tasted like some kind of Salsberry Steak sauce, but at least they labeled the correct vegetable. The “Various Vegetables with Fungus” dish was appetizing despite the name, which was really only a veggie and mushroom stir fry. Finally to top it all off located next to the French fries (is that necessary?) there was speghetti and the sauce was called “Meat and Ketchup” or also commonly known as meat sauce! To say the least, we did not dine here again or anything similar to the likes.
A true specialty we found in Xi’an was a small stand about a block from our hotel that served hot and fresh grease sticks that were almost a foot long. The woman working there also served us a milky porridge that is served with them for dipping. We decided to wake up early one day and head over there for some breakfast and brought some back for the girls who couldn’t wake up in time. It may not have been the healthiest choice but it was most definitely worth the alarm to be set ten minutes earlier 🙂
Xi’an is also where we sampled our first hot pot, on our way to the Muslim Quarters. This was nothing like the hot pot in Chengdu, but was still a tasty meal. We were all given our own individual hot pots with boiling water and were able to combine whatever we wanted. My hot pot consisted of every vegetable on the table and eggs, which you cracked into the hot pot and waited for it to become like a hard boiled egg… yum yumm yummmmy! There were also some meats sliced thinly, some pork and mutton, these were very good with all the other flavors. A sauce was also composed to dip the hot pot contents in after they were cooked, I loaded mine with garlic and ginger, of course! To end the meal we had fried bread that is like a little donut that we dipped in a phenomenal frosting …this actually ended up being condensed milk… still simply amazing!
There were many more amazing meals that wowed my taste buds but this is all for ‘Sharing in Xi’an’… bon appetit!