Article By Thabo Jaffe
4F, Kaide Square, South 2rd. Ring Road.
(029) 8521 8381
10:00am – 9:30pm
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 75RMB
PROS: English Menu with pictures, professional staff
CONS: No spoken English (point at the beautiful menu)
In two words, Xibei Youmian Cun (insert Chinese here) is “very Mongolia style”. But to describe anything in only two words should be a crime. There’s a bit more to this place.
Searching for this restaurant on the map, I realized that it’s located in the now familiar Kaide square shopping mall, just along the 2nd Ring Road South. Upon arrival we were kindly guided to a table by a very attentive waitress and given a complimentary porridge. I’m not usually drawn to porridge but as I had my reviewer hat on, I gave it a go. This was oddly impressive already, as they added their signature oats to the mix. Oats are the theme here, as well as lamb, beef, and somehow, local wrestling.
This restaurant is Mongolia style cuisine, so you can find all the regulars such as Roujiamo – described as “Marinated meat in pastry bun” – set in an English-friendly menu at very reasonable prices. They have a glass-walled kitchen at the very entrance, so you can be assured of the cleanliness, and you can watch them cooking if that’s your thing. It’s pretty well lit, with quite an open and simple layout, giving it a warm family appeal.
As one of the many who have lived in Xi’an a while now, I was tasked with finding how this place is different from other local restaurants. So, we tried their specialty “Oat rolls with tomato sauce”, followed by their grilled lamb chop. Oats as a main ingredient changed the usual texture you’d expect from any noodle/pasta type food (in a good way), and it soaked up more flavour. Definitely worth a try. The grilled lamb chop was my clear favourite though. Cooked in a Mongolia style and served in a hot pan, it had a thin yellow crust of rendered fat and some other magic, with the meat itself still succulent and invitingly falling off the bone.
With every order, the moment it’s confirmed with the kitchen, the waiter pulls out an hourglass (Sandglass? Sand-timer?) set for 25 minutes. I’ve seen this at a few other restaurants before, but it’s usually made quite clear what the consequence is, if the food is late. Not so here. I never got to find out. If you’re ever around Kaide square and looking for Mongolia food with a twist, or just want to find out what happens when the timer runs out, give this spot a chance.
Thabo is an avid explorer and less-than-worldly South African, always in search of new experiences. Stopping just short of suicidal, he’s a true Yes Man. You can reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org