Xian’s Best Persimmon

Article By Brian Bergey

The great thing about seasonal food is that you know it’s fresh and local.  Now that we have entered the middle of persimmon season, we scoured the city to find the best way to enjoy these bright orange fruits and stumbled across a family business that has been making fried Persimmon cakes for 4 generations.

Although not commonly experienced by Western palates, the persimmon fruit has some excellent health benefits.  They are high in vitamins A & C and are an excellent source of dietary fiber.  They also have a relatively high amount of antioxidants and have even been found to kill cancer cells.  Aside from all this, they are a nice tangy treat to enjoy fresh, dried or fried and are easy to find all over town.

刘明糊塌 (Liu Ming Hu Ta) has been selling their fried persimmon cakes from a small roadside food cart for 80 years.  They source their persimmons from local farms and harvest up to 2 tons of the fruit every fall.  The earliest fruits are ready in September, when they start making their cakes, and they continue until they run out of fruit, which is typically in March.

Our favorite part about these cakes is their simple and natural preparation.  They start by blending the fresh fruit in a blender until liquefied, using the entire fruit.  Then they mix the liquid with wheat flour by hand until a smooth dough is formed.  No sugar or additional ingredients are added.

Once the dough is formed, they press it into a small metal plate to form a round, pancake-like shape.  Those round pancakes are then fried to a crispy golden orange color on the outside while the inside remains soft, chewy and piping hot.  Persimmon cakes are eaten for breakfast, so they start selling them every morning at 8am and stop whenever they feel like it, usually around 5pm.  Regardless of the time of day, you’ll be greeted with a smile and a line, as this cart is widely popular with locals.

What You Need to Know:

Chinese Translation: Persimmon Cake; 柿子饼; Shi Zi Bing

Directions: Alight from Sa Jin Qiao subway station, exit B, and walk west to the intersection with Sa Jin Qiao street.  Go south on Sa Jin Qiao about 100 meters to find the food cart on the right (west) side of the street.  The cart sits right along the road in front of a few shops and can by noticed by its tray of orange and white pancake-sized treats. Persimmon2

Brian is from the US and has lived all over the world finding good food and adventure everywhere he lives. In Xi’an he works for an American software company and co-owns Lost Plate Food Tours, a tour company aimed at introducing foreigners to the best local food in the city. To find out more about their tours, check out www.lostplate.com or email info@lostplate.com.