Article By James Morrow
2F, BlockB, Wang Du International, Northeast of Zhang ba 1 Rd and Jin Ye Rd.
(029) 8102 6999
11:00am – 2:00pm
5:00pm – 9:30pm
Average Price per Person /人均消费:330RMB
For many foreigners, especially those who have limited abilities in Chinese language, high-end Chinese restaurants can be a little intimidating. There are often long lists of dishes with unfamiliar names, and unusual ingredients that make it hard to know exactly what you are getting. This leads many people to stay in a narrow path of eating the exact same dishes at the exact same restaurants for nearly their entire stay. This is a shame, as Chinese cuisine has a great variety of dishes and sub-cuisines within it, and there are numerous things to try. Once place to try a different kind of cuisine is to try the restaurant Puxian.
Puxian is a restaurant from Zhejiang Province, which is famous for its cuisine, being one of the Eight Great Traditions of Chinese Cuisine. The food of Zhejiang is heavy on seafood, but also has very high quality meats and vegetables. Puxian is incredibly picky about the sources of their raw ingredients, choosing to have most of their supplies brought from Zhejiang to ensure that they are making the most authentic version of their beloved cuisine.
The restaurant itself is located on the second floor, accessible by escalator. The décor is done in a very chic modern Chinese style, with a partially open kitchen, area for selecting live seafood, and a large number of private dining rooms that can hold up to 18 people. The main dining area is designed for hosting events, as well as for regular service.
The first thing that we tried was a simple dish of wendan, a type of pomelo that is unique to Zhejiang. When harvested, the pomelos are very round, and the taste is less acidic and sweeter than a typical pomelo. The next dish was a sweet dessert style dish, of ice cream wrapped in a specially made wrapper made from fruit, a truly delicious and unique experience. The next dish was a plate of Zhejiang style sausages. The flavors of Chinese sausages can sometimes be overly sweet, but this was surprisingly mild, with a slight funk from the air drying process that these sausages went through.
We also sampled their house-made fish cake, a blend of different whitefish that was then steamed and then deep-fried to give it a crispy outside. This was easily one of the most delicious fishcakes I’d ever tried, and the flavor was light and delicate and the texture pleasantly springy. Next up was a dish of sticky rice flour pancakes that had been lightly fried and tossed in sugar and spices before being rolled up and decoratively sliced. These little snacks were crunchy and chewy at the same time, without being overly cloying. These would make an excellent pairing for coffee or tea on their own.
Next up, we were able to try a dish of green vegetable that had been cooked in a light seafood broth. This was good as many of the dishes lacked the usual large amounts of vegetables that you find in other Chinese cuisines. After this, we had a small individual bowls of rice noodles in a seafood soup that had, among other things, sea anemone. Next up was a special dish of soft tofu in a yellow sauce with crab roe. The braised tofu dish was light and delicious.
Next up was a dish of a unique kind of yam that is cultivated in Zhejiang. Unlike the potato like mountain yams that you get in Xi’an, these yams had a slight tooth to them, but a completely unique texture that you’d be hard-pressed to replicate. Next came a dish of delicious beef, cooked medium-rare and served with a sauces on the side. The beef was extremely tender and the meat had been properly rested and pre-sliced so that you could eat it with chopsticks. While the sauces were good, the quality of the meat made for one of the best steaks you might try in Xi’an.
After this, they brought a large dish of specially caught fish to the table. Fish is definitely one of the showcase dishes at this restaurant, with their most expensive variety going for 1000RMB per 500g. The fish was delicious, though at this point we were beginning to slow down due to the sheer volume of delicious food. Luckily, we were nearly at the end.
The final dish to come out was a simple teacup with a set custard and a dollop of passion fruit seeds. It was sweet and hit just the right spot for the end of the meal. It was truly a memorable experience, and one that we are likely to replicate in the near future. The quality of the service and food is exceptional, and this is one of the best ways to sample some of the best of Zhejiang food without traveling there.
Alas, good food comes at a price, and the average cost per person is around 300RMB, and it would be very easy to spend more, so it’s best to save this place for a special occasion. If you want to book one of their private rooms, it’s best to do so early, as they fill up quickly, and often they are booked out a week in advance, though that should just be testament to the quality of the restaurant.
James is currently living in Xi’an and loving it, from the food to the people.