Little Steamer 小萌笼

Article By Mike Leaner

6F, Yi Tian Holiday Shopping Mall, No.166, Chang Le West Road.
长乐西路166号 益田假日广场6层
(029) 8246 7925
11:00am – 10:00pm

Average Price per Person /人均消费: 60RMB

PROS: Good food, affordable prices, a focused menu
CONS: Heavy language barrier for the less Chinese-inclined among us

I’ve been having a torrid love affair with Cantonese food for a while—especially dim sum; but if you’ve been to any of the notable Hong Kong restaurants in Xi’an, you’ve almost certainly been faced with every laowai’s living nightmare: a menu of about 200 items, all in Chinese, with few-to-no pictures to help you out.

14-1Little Steamer, which you’ll find on the 6th floor at the Yitian Holiday Mall at Chaoyang Gate, will solve the first (but unfortunately not the second) problem. This homey, pastel-colored eatery is a great entry point into the slightly sweet, seafood-heavy cuisine of China’s southeast. The usually massive menu of a restaurant of this style is pared down to a few dozen of the very best and most popular dishes. There are a few pictures, but you’d still be advised to bring a Chinese-literate friend if you’re not up to the task (and don’t feel like playing Dim Sum Roulette).

My companions and I didn’t do much experimenting, seeking out our favorites and gorging on shrimp dumplings, fried beef noodles and the like. Service was incredible, everything came out super fast and super fresh, and it seemed like every time we finished a plate of something there was a new dish for us to enjoy. Though we were hoping for a beer or two (they don’t have any, ever), we were just as happy to wash everything down with milk tea and their interesting juices (for example, a lemon dragonfruit juice). If you’re feeling like some dessert, there are a couple of red bean dishes, or for bolder palates, some durian pastries.14-2

For those wishing to try out one of China’s most unique cuisines, or to experience it in a much different atmosphere, Little Steamer is a great, affordable place. Never has it been more accessible while keeping a high standard of quality. Just be ready to read some Chinese, and the rest will just be a delicious journey to being overstuffed.

Mike Leaner likes to get dirty but not for free. He can be reached at