Article By Stephen Robinson
1F, Yong Ning Li, South Street
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 50RMB
I s there anything in life better than a really good burger? Probably, but the experience of diving in to a tasty pile of meat, cheese, and bread is definitely up there. But, alas, in Xi’an it can be difficult to find a burger that really hits the spot, and often times you get a fried chicken sandwich instead of a burger when ordering a 汉堡. But, luckily we seem to be going through something of a burger revolution, as there are now numerous spots serving up burgers that are better than anything we’ve seen in recent years. One such place is a new restaurant that ranks among the best we’ve seen in a long time, Yan.
Located just inside of South Gate, close to the entrance of Shuyuan Men, Yan started serving food at the end of 2021, right before the most recent lockdown shut temporarily shut their doors for a month. However, they persisted and now are back to serving up some great food.
The menu at Yan is fairly straightforward. They serve five different kind of burgers and a variety of side dishes to satisfy any taste buds. The burgers are divided by the types of meat that comes on it. All of the typical varieties are there, with beef, pork, lamb, chicken and fish all available. Each has their own preparation, with all except the fish coming grilled on a flat top griddle (always the sign of a good burger). The fish for the fish sandwich is deep fried, similar in looks to the golden arches version, but handmade. What I really liked about the burgers was the little ways that they improved the burger to make it better. The buns were toasted on the inside and out, which improves the flavor and texture of the bread. The onions were grilled. The cheese was allowed to melt and cover the meat. The sauce had a nice but not overwhelming kick to it. There was enough sauce to cover the sandwich, but not so much that it was swimming in it. All of this added up to a great burger experience.
Even though the burgers are good, the sides might be even better. The first dish to come out was their smoked chicken, a thin cutlet of chicken topped with a spicy mayonnaise and green onion. If you’re a fan of smoked meats, then this is for you. The deep rich smoky flavor is perfect, and with the slightly spicy creamy flavor of the mayo, you could probably get by on a meal of just this. The owner mentioned that they smoke all of their meat over cherry wood in a central kitchen where they prepare all of their ingredients.
Next up was what the owner dubbed Chinese fried chicken. A riff on Korean fried chicken, the boneless chunks of chicken were specially breaded and tossed in a soy and honey sauce that added a delicious flavor to the fried exterior of the chicken. I’m not sure exactly what they put in the sauce, (I asked, but it’s a secret) but whatever it is, it’s working. In addition to this, they served up some fried calamari, which had been cut into strips and seasoned with a dry spice mix. They were crispy, and well cooked, with the squid retaining a bit of a snap as you bite into them.
With all of these delicious foods, you need something to wash them down with. For that, you can choose from one of the 50 different beers that they have on offer, all available in their supermarket style fridges, chilled and ready to drink. The selection included a lot of beers that I had personally never seen before, from local producers and imported makers. Enough choices that anyone can find what they’re looking for. If beer is not your thing, there is also a pretty extensive wine selection, from small bottles of sparkling to full-sized wines from many different producers around the world. The prices on the beers and wines were also pretty reasonable, meaning that you can get your drinks without breaking the bank. That day, sadly, there was still much to be done that day, so we opted instead for the coffee. While the coffee menu isn’t too extensive, the quality is good.
Overall, if you’re into burgers and sandwiches, liked smoked meat, or if you want a place to grab a quick meal before you head around town, this is a good place for you. The burgers are 68RMB or 78RMB a piece, which puts them at about average in cost for most good burger places in the city, and sides are anywhere from 18RMB to 48RMB. The beers and wines range in price, depending on the type, but all are clearly labeled, so you will know what you’re getting. They are also currently running a deal on 大众点评 that puts a single person meal at 39.9RMB and a two person set meal at 89.9RMB, making this a very affordable stop. This is definitely worth a try if you’re in the area, and might even be worth a trip even if you’re not.
If you give this a try, let us know about your experience by messaging us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen Robinson is the editor-in-chief at xianease and would love to get your thoughts on everything we are doing. You can contact him at stephen@xianease