Written by Brian Bergey
After spending weeks scouring the streets for the best noodles in Xi’an, I stumbled upon one bowl of mian that you’ve likely never tried before. Deep within the city wall lays a small but popular shop that sells bright green noodles flavored with spinach. The shop is so small, in fact, that the brightly dressed women who created this recipe make the noodles in their own homes before bringing them to the shop where they are cooked fresh to order.
While watching the women prepare the bowls, you can see the pride they take in their ingredients and their shop. A lot of us are used to getting some extra attention as foreigners in China, but after snapping a couple pictures I was dragged into the shop where I was shown piles of fresh green noodles waiting to be cooked. They then took me through each step of preparation so I could see where my food came from.
They start with a typical noodle dough and then add finely chopped spinach. The vegetable turns the noodle an appealing green and adds a subtle depth to its flavor. Once boiled, a delicious mixture of sesame oil, soy sauce, and a hint of vinegar is added to the bowl. The toppings are prepared just as carefully as their noodles and include fried cabbage with tofu, potatoes, stewed beef, tomatos, and an optional fried egg cooked to perfection.
In the end, you’re left with a picture perfect bowl of noodles with a unique flavor and appearance. The noodles have a perfectly soft yet slightly chewy texture and are just as enjoyable to eat on their own or with the other flavors.
The best part is that the shop only sells bowls of spinach noodles, so all you need to say is “xiao” or “da” and you are good to go. Or you can join a Lost Plate Food Tour and find this place and many others from the comfort of your own private tuktuk!
What you need to know
Address: 莲湖区 夏家什字5号 (Lian Hu Zone #5 Xia Jia Shi Zi)
Directions: From Xi Da Jie (West Street) west of the bell tower, head south on Bei Xia Jia Shi Zi. After one block, the road name changes to Chai Jia Shi Zi. The shop has a large green signboard and will be on your left.
Cost: Small is 9rmb, Large is 10rmb