Article By Brian Bergey
What You Need to Know:
Location: Southwest corner of Shangjian Lu and DongxinJie, across the street from the Hilton Hotel.
Cost: Approx 70 RMB per chicken
Hours: 10:00am – Midnight
This month in our never-ending search for Xi’an’s best local food, we ended up near the Dongxin Street restaurant market on the southwest corner of Shangjian Lu and Dongxin Jie. Here, you’ll find Wang’s Chicken food cart every day of the week.
Mr. and Mrs. Wang have been shelling out their stewed chickens (王家桶子鸡, wáng jiā tǒng zī jī) on the same street corner for 33 years. It’s rare that you won’t find a line here. The sidewalks are permanently stained with soup spillage and chicken oil in the spot where they sell about 150 chickens daily.
So what makes their chickens so special? They start with pregnant hens and stew them whole in a rich, perfectly seasoned broth for hours, to the point that the meat falls off the bone. They are so tender it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between meat and fat. You can taste the five-spice flavors from the broth in every bite.
The special treat is what’s found inside when the chicken is served. When the stewed birds are split open, the innards can be removed or packaged with your meat, including the un-hatched eggs which resemble hard, dark yellow egg yolks. You can also purchase the eggs separately and they are surprisingly delicious and taste just like an egg, but are flavored with the soup seasonings. Some locals stop by just for a few eggs, which are apparently packed with nutrients.
Mr. Wang will cut your chicken to order, whether you buy a whole bird or just a few pieces. He’s a pro at slicing, dicing and de-boning them, which he does very quickly for each person. The birds are served at room temperature and packaged to take home. We’re told they will keep for 2-3 days.
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 email@example.com