Article By Brian Cotter
70103-70104, Building 9, Pedestrian Street, Min Le Yuan Wanda.
11:00am – 8:00pm
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 50RMB
For one person, a curry, naan and a drink should set you back
PROS: Fresh, affordable
CONS: Ordering takes some getting used to, but is kind of fun
Yeah, I know what you’re likely thinking. Salad…it’s great in theory, but as a friend of mine remarked to me recently, “It’s not really a meal, is it?” I have to admit I was also somewhat sceptical when asked to review a salad restaurant for Xianease, but it turns out I didn’t have to be; Hi Salad turned out to be pleasantly surprising, to say the least. Not only does the food taste great, but it most certainly qualifies as a meal and, regardless of what you choose to eat, you will not be leaving here with anything less than a full stomach.
Hi Salad openedin January, with a view to serving tasty, healthy, filling food to the growing local middle-class consumer base in Xi’an; most of their customers so far have been the post-workout crowd and young professionals. The emphasis is on freshness. The fruit and vegetables arrive fresh every morning, and the beef is homemade (and halal). As cliché as it sounds, we could taste the freshness and left the restaurant actually feeling energised, in stark contrast to the carb-infested food coma you tend to receive in the more traditional restaurants in town.
The décor is in that minimalist Scandi style becoming more and more ubiquitous in Xi’an and beyond, and it’s a strictly no-smoking restaurant. The staff are extremely pleasant, and it’s clear that the owner is a committed foodie who knows what he’s doing with the place (his family have owned a Pao Mo restaurant for decades).
The ordering system is quirky in a charming way. The very many potential ingredients are, as usual, behind a plate glass display, but what’s unique is that they are represented in front of the display by different coloured casino chips labelled with the name of the ingredient. There’s a row of 30 different stacks of casino chips in front of the counter; you move from right to left picking up individual chips for each food you want: avocado, enoki mushrooms, red pepper beef, tofu, pickles and so on – and present your stack to the cashier. In a couple of minutes, you’re eating.
Lastly a mention for the most important part: the food. There is a massive selection of all kinds of ingredients here – from freshly cooked beef to shrimp to salmon to crab to tofu to nuts to a ridiculous variety of vegetables; there is surely not a person on earth who couldn’t find something appealing here. Our favourites were the red pepper beef, papaya, sweet potato, snow peas, cashews, and chickpeas.
I’d highly recommend paying Hi Salad a visit. Average price per person is around 50 RMB, which for the good it will do your health and the attending smug self-satisfaction it delivers, and in a city where a mediocre coffee can cost you 35 RMB, is, for me, more than reasonable!
Brian Cotter is Batman. He can be reached at email@example.com