Article By Mike Leaner
Foreigners like to talk about the different kinds of Chinese food, but we do it in generalities. “That Sichuan place,” or “That bo cai noodle restaurant” is about the closest anyone gets to being specifi c about it. Well, it’s time to wipe “That Xinjiang restaurant” out of your vocabulary, because this place has a name and you need to know it.
Loulan Xinjiang Food is located in the vicinity of North Gate, not too far from Line 2 of the Xi’an Metro. It doesn’t look too different from your basic Chinese restaurant, until you start to notice the little things, like hookah pipes at the front counter and Abbey Road posters hidden between more traditional imagery on the walls.
The owner seems to have a singular philosophy when it comes to his restaurant: everything must be authentic. The chefs are from Xinjiang, the recipes are from Xinjiang, and even the beer is from Xinjiang. As an added bonus, I’ve been promised that the meat is from hand-picked, grass-fed, free-range animals in Yinchuan, so those who worry about food safety should be able to breathe (anddine) a little easier.
All of this comes together into what is easily the most delicious experience with Xinjiang cuisine that I’ve ever had. They have all the staples: dapanji (大盘鸡), polu (抓饭), nang bread (馕), as well as some dynamite lamb and beef barbecue skewers. The meat was tender, and the traditional spices enhanced every single dish without overpowering any of their subtleties. There are also some fried dishes, for people seeking something that will be a little more familiar. I have to single out the sweet and sour chicken, which foregoes the typical heavy breading and thick, saccharine sauce for a lighter dish carried by the fresh meaty taste and the peanuts that garnish it, and will make sure that even the least-adventurous eater in your group will have something to enjoy. Also, though Xinjiang cuisine has a reputation for being somewhat meaty, there are enough vegetarian options that you won’t have to exclude any non-meat-eater friends from the meal.
Trying some of the more obscure Chinese cuisines can be daunting, but Loulan Xinjiang Food is an easy way to try some of the most unique and delicious food you’re likely to fi nd in the city. Grab your friends, get north of the city wall, order a little bit of everything, and get eating.
North of Quan Ji Hotel on Wen Jing Nan Lu
( 莲湖区文景南路全季酒店向北一百米路东楼兰新疆餐厅 )
Average Price per Person /人均消费 : 50 RMB
Delicious, high-quality food; great varietyof dishes
This is not a date spot; this place is for eating, full stop. You should bring at least four or five people if you’re keen to try a good variety of dishes. My group of five half-finished everything we tried and the owner poked fun at us for not eating enough
Mike Leaner loves to get down and dirty, but not for free. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org