Written by Inda and Johan
Good news for kaorou (BBQ) lovers in Xi’an! Don’t let cold temperatures stop you from enjoying a sumptuous grilled lunch, dinner or late night snack. Try Jiari Kaorou; a Shaanxi based Kaorou resto with 5 branches around the city. While you may find one closer to your home, we went to the Wang Ting Guo Ji building location; at the crossroads of Gaoxin Lu and Keji Si Lu.
Upon entering the restaurant, you will be greeted by not only energetic and friendly waiters, but also a clean and unique interior design. With 2 floors and a total of 24 tables, the resto equally provides comfort, cleanliness and tasty healthy dishes at a good price; while many nice indoor kaorou restos can be quite pricey. As soon as you’re in, you’ll find a combination of safari-animal-painted walls, vivid colours, pebble mosaics and shipping containers they use as room partitions. The atmosphere is very eclectic and warm.
Since they opened the branch near our home, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed many lunches and dinners there, but, this time was special since we were accompanied by the manager from the headquarters, 任景坤, who was spoiling us with a variety of their specialities. So, we will be reviewing dishes from this special dinner combined with other meals we’d had.
After checking the menu (they’re in English with photos), we had some friendly talk with the friendly and humorous manager. This resto has a total of 15 branches in 6 China cities. Established in 2003, their food selections represent styles from different provinces; from Sichuan to Shaanxi to Xinjiang. As we were talking, the dishes came one by one; there was no long wait before the first dish was rolled out.
The first dish that came was one of their specialities called: Cao Yu Xiang La Wei (fish hot pot) 草鱼香辣味。I usually avoid fish with Y bones, but this one really pleased my taste buds. I asked for medium spicy (wei la) it came perfect seasoned with a hint of sweet and sour. It comes with a selection of fresh veggies and a variety of noodles and tofu that you can add to the spicy water. The manager said it is special because the cooking method was done by a top Sichuan chef.
After that, came some other dishes including another speciality, 吊炉烤牛排 (Diao Lu Kao Niu Pai) which is basically Xinjiang grilled beef steak. They’ll give you plastic gloves to eat with. I had to struggle a bit when chewing (it’ll be perfect if they can make the meat more tender), yet the strong flavor of honey and black pepper made the taste divine!
I often go there for their grilled lamb/beef, and they’re always fresh. It is best eaten with steamed rice and some grilled veggies – my fave choice is cucumber as I find it really neutralizes the saltiness from the meat. They have loads of non-vegetarian kaorou options. If you’re like myself, a fan of combo spicy and honey sweet, you may want to try their chicken wings. They’re quite addicting!
For seafood selections, they let me try 烤生蚝 (kǎo shēngháo) which is baked oysters. Garlic and seafood are best friends, but I found that some places put excessive amounts of garlic in their baked oysters which makes it taste bitter instead of improving the flavour. Theirs was exceptional!
While they have plenty for meat lovers, they also have a huge selection for those who are vegetarians.Two of our favourite dishes from them are 烤豆腐卷 (kǎo dòufu juǎn) or grilled tofu roll and 烤豆腐干 (kǎo dòufu gān) or grilled tofu. These two are great to eat anytime. My husband enjoyed more of those than me since he doesn’t eat meat anymore; he never gets bored of those two kinds of tofu after almost 10 years in China.
Roasted eggplant is a rather eye-catching selection for vegetarians and meat eaters alike when browsing the menu, and their 烤全茄 (kǎo quán qie) or Whole roasted eggplant is a must-try! The vegetable is very tender and the skin is skillfully roasted. The richness of the taste had us licking the plate; we don’t usually eat the skin part of roasted eggplant dishes from other places, but this place is certainly the exception.
Another surprisingly mouth-watering one for us was their 锡纸烧粉丝 (Xízhǐ shāo fěnsī) which is basically grilled rice noodles wrapped in tinfoil. We’re not nuts about noodles, but we fell for this one. It is dynamite and its smoky, savoury and slightly sweet flavour melts in your mouth. We’ll definitely be getting that one again!
Like any other kaorou places, if you prefer bread than rice, they have many kinds of bread selections including spicy 烤馒头片 (kǎo mántou piàn) or grilled dry bread coated with Xinjiang kaorou oil mixed with ingredients. Eventhough it is a bit dry outside, the inside texture is fresh and quite fluffy.
They have a wide selection of green veggies which can be grilled in tinfoil or added to hot pots. To mention a few, there is: tinfoil broccoli, tinfoil mixed veggies, tinfoil mushrooms, mushroom kaorou, and long green bean kaorou.
Non-vegetarian: BBQ Chicken wings, BBQ Clamshell (Kao heng Hao), BBQ Lamb (YangrouKaorou), Fish hot pot (Cao Yu Xiang La Wei).
Vegetarian: BBQ Rice noodle (Xizhi Shao Fen Si), BBQ Eggplant (Kao Quan Qie), BBQ Dou fu (Kao dou fu Juan), BBQ Dou fu gan (Kao dou fu gan).
Pro: very affordable price, loads of meat and veggie selections, uses electric grills which is healthier and worry-free (from carcinogenic and PM 2.5 effects); open until 3am – great after a night of clubbing!
Cons: No outdoor area – which is always nice during the summer.
Price range: 2 RMB – above 100 RMB (depends)
Discount card: If you take photo of their dishes and immediately share on your Wechat, then you can get membership (white color) card for free. Or, you can just buy the card for 28 yuan. The card entitled you with 8% discount each time dining in.
Address: Gāoxīn qū gāoxīn lù wàng tíng guójì (高新区高新路望庭国际) 029-89389377.
Feng Lin Lu Zhou Xi Men stop (by bus K700, K35, 206, 710, 522).