Article By XIANEASE
The cold months are coming, and that means the fridges are going to shut off and it’s time for some hot things, because they’re good for healthy. If you get caught in the cold and need something to warm your bones, look no further than these piping-hot meals. Nota bene: this is still Xi’an, so expect lots of lamb and bread.
SOUR SOUP DUMPLINGS
Chinese dumplings are a filling, delicious meal unto themselves, but if you haven’t had it soup-style, you’re missing out. Made with vinegar and chilies, it’s sour- and spicy-forward and adds a nice spike of flavor to each and every delectable dumpling.
The undisputed champion of “foods you think of when you think of Xi’an foods,” pao mo is a undeniably hearty lamb stew that invites you to get in on the fun by spending the next forty minutes of your life tearing bread into infinitesimally small pieces before the restaurant’s kitchen staff stews everything together. If you don’t have the time for that, perhaps seek out the quote-unquote “fast food” version of it called xiaochao, which does most of the work for you.
SHUI PEN LAMB SOUP
If you want a lamb soup but want something a bit simpler and not involving tiny pieces of bread, look no further than shui pen lamb soup. This uncomplicated soup composed of a salty, savory broth, cilantro, spring onions, rice noodles and, of course, lamb doesn’t change much from store to store; surprisingly, the star of this particular show is the mo. Make sure you skip the places with the hockey-puck-looking processed breads; try to find a place with freshly baked bread, because whether you’re going to make your own roujiamo or soak it full of soup, the difference is night and day.
BAKED SWEET POTATO
Finally, we have the baked sweet potato, a street-side treat that you can pick up for a couple of RMB for a quick, naturally good snack. As a bonus, a freshly baked sweet potato can also double as a hand warmer.
A solid contender for the out-and-out hottest dish ever, shaguo is a mélange of tofu skin, seaweed, mushrooms, bok-choy and noodles (your choice!) boiled together in its namesake clay pot. A much lighter meal than some of the previous entries on this list, it comes out scalding hot and will fill you up without giving you the Itis.
Know any other good eats? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org