Muslim Quarter, located in the heart of Xi'an, is a must-see for travelers to China. The snack street connected by a number of old lanes is actually a labyrinth of food stands and trinkets, making a mecca for the foodie around the world. The bustle of hawkers is mingled with the smell of snacks, the light of neon signs, and "beep beep" of motorbikes as sun sets in the west. Thus a visit to Muslim Quarter is the best way to savor Xi'an specialties, experience Muslim culture, encounter friendly locals and admire ancient mosques built in traditional Chinese style.
Established in the 7th century, Islam was introduced into Chang'an (now called Xi'an) by the merchants and students from ancient Arab, Persia, etc. Some of them later settled down and married the local women of Han nationality, whose children were considered as the ancestors of Hui ethnic people at present. It is estimated that more than 60,000 local Muslims lived there for generations, known as the Muslim Quarter where the original flavor is much preserved.
For architecture lovers, the Great Mosque is a sight not to be missed. It is an Islamic art that sets in the tranquil Huajue Lane with more than 1,200 years history. As one of the largest mosques in China, it receives the local Muslim men come to worship five times a day. It is also rare to see Islamic mosque built in traditional Chinese style, like cornice roofs, exquisite paintings and carved decorations.
It is a cannot-miss experience to taste the authentic Xi'an flavors in the bustling Muslim Quarter with a wide range of local delicacies on offer.
- Chinese hamburger (rou jia mo)
- Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup (pao mo)
- Soup Dumplings
Chinese hamburger to the locals just like burger to westerners. Rou jia mo, originated in Shaanxi province, has long been adorned by the tourists around the world. The baked bun stuffed with marinated meat is so crispy that you cannot wait to devour it. In summer, rou jia mo is always served as the best lunch together with Cold noodles (liang pi) and Ice Peak (famous local beverage).
Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup has long been served on the local's table as a staple food. Start with getting the pita bread into pieces with your own hands, then cooked in the lamb soup and served with garlic and chili sauce. Then satisfy with every bite of this yummy dishes that best worth your foodie adventure.
Soup Dumplings are one of the best choices for you to please your taste bud. Have a bite of it dipped in the sauce and then sip the broth inside. Once you swallow it, the tender and juicy meat will melt in your mouth. There are lots of soup dumplings-oriented restaurants, among which Jiasan Soup Dumpling located at 121 West Xiyangshi Street gains great popularity.
Besides the local snacks, the bazaar is also home to all sorts of trinkets with reasonable prices. Not only the Chinese crafts like paper-cutting and shadow puppet but the most well-known terracotta warriors will greatly enhance your leisure strolls. It is an ideal place for you to handpick some adorable gifts home to memorize the days in Xi'an.
Muslim Quarter offers tourists a chance to feel the living ambiance that surrounds old Xi'an whether day or night. It is the most well-known snack street that attracts thousands of tourists and locals gathering here for a real appetizing meal. Here, you will mingle with the friendly locals, sample some must-try dishes and even buy some souvenirs home. As neon signs light up, the bazaar becomes much livelier than the daylight. You may satisfy you with every bite of the yummy dishes no matter which restaurant you enter in.
Take the metro Line 2 to Zhonglou (Bell Tower) Station (Exit C). Walk towards west for about 8 minutes and then you will find Muslim Quarter behind the Drum Tower.
Take bus No. 7, 15, 32, 205, 215, 218, 221, 222, 251, 612, 618 etc. to Zhonglou Xi (Bell Tower West) Station directly.
- Please respect the local Muslim's customs.
- It is unacceptable to drink alcohol or enjoy dishes with pork inside.
- Do not wear shorts or short skirts when you visit the mosques.