Article By Mike Leaner
#52, Si Fu Jie
(029) 8762 8668
11:00am – 10:00pm
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 300RMB
PROS: Delicious food, great environment
CONS: Pricey, but you’re definitely getting something for it
The most interesting restaurants in Xi’an can appear in the unlikeliest places. Just north of Xiaonanmen, an area known for its down-and-dirty bars and local restaurants, you’ll find a nondescript, but very unique façade—two porthole-sized windows and a wooden door with a peace sign carved into it. After going through the door you’ll find something much more perplexing: a completely mirrored room with seemingly no escape. Ever forward, my hungry compatriots, because the far wall will glide open and reveal its secret: a really, really nice restaurant dedicated to the art of the barbecue.
The interior of Da Ren Wei Man is a pastiche of sleek, modernist interior design. Simple, yet elegant tables fill much of its floor space, and there are a few round, glassed-in VIP tables for good measure. It’s all very classy and comfortable—this is a place you can have a nice, relaxed meal, but if you’re like me there’s a possibility that you’ll feel a bit self-conscious if you’re underdressed.
I’ve done a few of these reviews now, and I have to say that this is one of the most impressive meals I’ve had in Xi’an. We were on a set menu for the night, starting with a salmon sashimi salad accompanied by a signature soft drink that can only be described as some kind of a yogurt soda. The star of this first course was obviously the tender and generous cuts of salmon, but the dressing tied the whole thing together, lending a nice salty, soy sauce-esque tang to the lettuce, avocado and other assorted vegetables. After that though, there was really only one thing on the menu, and that was meat. Hear me now and believe me later, leave your vegetarian friends at home because this is a place for carnivores. We were served around a half-dozen different cuts of beef, as well as a bit of pork. Well-trained servers cook the meat for you, ensuring that every piece is perfectly cooked (often rare in the case of the beef) and practically melts in your mouth.
The whole service took approximately an hour, ending with some grilled vegetables and chicken and rice porridge. It was a steady stream of food heading from the grill to our mouths, and though it was only a few small pieces at a time, the pace allowed us to savor and discover the nuances of each different cut. If that sort of sounds like you’re not going to get a lot of food, know that we still left stuffed to the brim.
For this kind of gourmet experience, it’s going to cost you a bit—to the tune of 300RMB a person on an average visit. But to answer the question of “Is it worth it?” I would have to give an emphatic yes. That price point will likely relegate Da Ren Wei Man to the “special occasions only” list for many expats, but meat lovers take notice: you have got to try this place. There may be nothing else quite like it anywhere around.
Mike Leaner likes to get dirty but not for free. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org