The heat of this June was brutal. While we haven’t yet been able to escape to the breezy Qingdao seaside or to the dry dunes of Dunhuang, we did find respite at the Moli Restaurant during a weekend lunch hour.
Situated deep in the Zhonglou Xiaoqu, a mixed residential-commercial area immediately southwest of the Xi’an Bell Tower roundabout, Moli is a bit difficult to find. To get there, you will need to navigate around several corners and inevitably pass numerous traditional Shaanxi snack stalls and small restaurants peddling local dishes. The searching is well worth it though – Moli is the only Western restaurant in the area, and it offers several wonderfully pleasant surprises.
Some experiences just stick with you: your first sports game; your first kiss; or maybe a trip you took years prior. For me, one that resonates with me was my time in Japan. There were so many experiences to take in, so I can think of lots of things I enjoyed, but one I carry with me was the simple pleasure of the Izakaya. By definition, an Izakaya is a type of Japanese bar in which a variety of small, – typically inexpensive – dishes and snacks are served to accompany the alcoholic drinks. And that’s exactly what I got while I was there. It was a relaxed drinking environment for the weary and hardworking. A place to gather and take in the people around you, while enjoying simple prepared food at a decent price. Oh, and of course you had to have a nice cold draft to chug while you ate. It was that charming and unpretentious dining experience that was so attractive, especially after running around the city chasing fancy cocktail bars, malls, and museums. It was so nice, and now I find myself longing for that same feeling after a busy day.
Tommune is probably familiar to many expats in Xi’an, as it is one of the more reasonably priced options when it comes to going out in Xi’an. With a massive selections of drinks and food, a lively environment, and friendly service, it is no surprise. Capitalizing on the success of their first location near West Gate, they have opened up a new venture in Qujiang near the BeiChiTou subway station. Since people have been so taken with the first location, we decided to go check out their newest venture to see how it stacks up.
Have you heard? There’s a new western restaurant in town that has been the talk of the town. Real, home-style Western food, something the community in Xi’an has been sorely missing, especially in this era of limited travel. But this is no mere substitute for tastes of home. The food here is legitimately good, and varied enough to satisfy any taste buds. Whether you want smash burgers, fish and chips, falafel, or delicious milkshakes, Mina’s Western Restaurant is sure to hit the spot..
Oh, man, is it hot! I’m scorching hot. I’m talking egg-frying, fire-starting, mind-numbingly hot! What is a simple drinker supposed to do in this whether that demands us to go outside, but at the same time is cooking us alive? There is of course a way to fight back against this heatwave. The magic of a refreshing drink can shield you from the sun’s vengeance, while making for a fun way to relax. The remedy to the summer burn is a refreshing drink. Now, as a man who knows his way around a bar, I know lots of refreshing drinks, so I won’t bore you with the list (in this article), but when I think of the summer heat and the need for something to cool me down, my mind goes back to one thing: bubbles.
Fine Wines and Good Times
The end of May in Xi’an was, in a word, HOT. Cub Grocery is here to save us with cold beverages and tasty food.
For lunch, we visited the Cub Grocery in Qujiang in Liangzichen 量子晨, part of a hip new chain of café/bar/restaurant/wine stores with three other locations: one inside the city wall, one in northern Xi’an in Weiyang District, as well as a new location opening near south gate. Each location has its own kind of style and atmosphere. For example, the Weiyang Cub Grocery has a rooftop and the new location opening by south gate will focus on entertainment. The location we visited at Liangzichen has a weekly DJ and plaza to host events. It offers a comfy space for getting tipsy and being social, all in a relaxed environment.
A humble restaurant that punches well above its weight
As summer arrives and Xi’an starts heating up, the restaurant scene in Xi’an is clearly trying to keep pace with the rising temperatures. There are so many new restaurants and each new location turns up the heat.
For no restaurant is this truer than Yakitori, opened this May. Literally meaning “grilled bird,” yakitori is a Japanese type of skewer cuisine, usually chicken barbecue over charcoal and seasoned with a tare sauce (a kind of sweetened and/or thickened soy sauce) or salt. And this is exactly what is on offer here. As you walk through the door, it’s hard to say what you notice first – the large grill and exhaust hood, or the wash of mouth-watering aromas.
The bread isn’t sweet. I could probably end the review right there and it would be enough to get you to go to Ugly Bread, a bakery that has recently opened at the 西影Time Shopping Plaza next to the Movie Park. But that would be doing this shop a disservice, as they are doing much more than simply making savory bread. Opened with the idea that bread should taste good, this bakery is serving up bread with some unique and delicious flavor combos, as well as some classics bound to make you happy.
Tea is part of the inextricable cultural heritage of China. Legend states that tea was discovered by the Chinese emperor Shen Nong, and it is a beverage that has been carefully cultivated and enjoyed by the Chinese people ever since. A good cup of tea is refreshing and revitalizing, and the art of good tea preparation is what separates tea from hot leaf juice. While tea shops abound in Xi’an, there seem to be two main styles, traditional tea shops that are often stuffy and ornately decorated, with hundreds of teas to choose from that can be intimidating for the non-expert; and the modern tea shop where the tea tends to be more fruit juice than tea, and there is so much sugar that the delicate flavors of the tea and the health benefits are lost entirely. However there is a new place that looks to find a happy medium between the archaic tea shop and the modern coffee shop – DAHUA Tea Lounge.
Finger-licking goodness just in time for summer
If you had any doubts despite the sunshine, 30+ degree weather, and rapid proliferation of outdoor seating, let us reassure you that summer is finally here. And what better way to welcome summer than with savory finger food and cold beverages?
We are of course talking about Cajun Seafood, a new spot that opened this April. Before we get into food, we must first address the important question: what is Cajun? It is a style of cuisine originating on the