Article By XIANEASE
While winter may not be the high season for street food, the weather doesn’t keep a lot of those vendors down. Intrepid sidewalk chefs will bundle up when the temperature drops and keep offering their devilishly tasty food no matter what’s going on outside. Whether you’re hardy enough to brave the elements or just looking for a quick meal to take with you to a more climate-controlled locale, you can’t go wrong stopping by one of these five notable spots.
THE MUSLIM DISTRICT 回民街
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Or is it so obvious? Anyone who’s lived in Xi’an for more than a couple of hot minutes will automatically associate Huiminjie with the suffocating throngs of tourists that pack every millimeter of its alleys in the summertime, but, as you might guess, those herds thin out this time of year. That makes it a pretty good time to go and stuff yourself with giant halal lamb skewers, persimmon cakes and all the tasty treats these vendors are world-famous for.
LUO MA SHI 骡马市
While Luomashi is renowned mostly for its shopping, in the two malls and myriad shops on its surface and the labyrinthine market underneath, it’s also a good place to grab a snack. The northerly East Street entrance has an incredibly popular place for fried and grilled skewers of meat and seafood, for starters. Perhaps more notably, the western entrance to the walking street, a small alley that snakes behind the Kaiyuan Mall, has evolved in recent times from a dumpy street market to a street filled with Chinese snacks popular with the local palate. If that’s not enough for you, the east alley next to Minsun Mall’s got even more.
XIAO ZHAI 小寨
Another shopping district that gets newer and shinier year by year, just a little exploration away from the Saga Mall will reveal a wonderland of street food and takeaway restaurants. About a block north of Saga, on the same side of the road, you’ll find East Xing Shan Si Street. If nothing there catches your eye, a quick jaunt across the footbridge over Chang’an Street will take you to West Xing Shan Si Street. If still you can’t find something to eat there, well, you’re crazy.
YONG XING FANG 永兴坊
While some food streets exist despite development, Yongxingfang is actually a product of it. The specialty here is every kind of Shaanxi food you can imagine, and due to some government regulation you won’t find any duplicates. Every restaurant and stall specializes in a different local food, and a trip here will save you the journey to the village for some authentic, down-home Shaanxi delicacies. If nothing else, the grand gates and canopy of red lanterns provide an atmosphere unlike almost any other snack place in town.
SA JIN QIAO NIGHT MARKET 洒金桥夜市
This is one for you night owls: Sajinqiao Night Market is open almost literally all night. A favorite of graveyard shift taxi drivers, you can find a good, rib-sticking meal here at a time when just about everyone else has closed up shop. The whole thing really comes to life after 8pm; if you hop on the subway before it closes, you can just get off at Sajinqiao Station, otherwise you’ll have to do some exploring. Either way, you can’t beat a nice hot bowl of hulatang after an evening of drinking.