Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province, has secured a place among the most popular destinations during both the Spring Festival and Labor Day holidays, according to reports from online travel service company Trip.com.
The ancient capital has become an internet sensation for its enchanting appeal. While its historical and cultural landmarks awe visitors, it is the varied, mouthwatering selection of snacks that truly captivates their hearts.
As a result of its strategic location along the Silk Road, Xi'an is a melting pot of culinary influences from far and wide, and its history of growing wheat has led to the creation of an array of flour-based dishes, with noodles taking center stage.
From the iconic biangbiang noodles to the tantalizing oil-splashed noodles, Xi'an's noodle scene is a delightful journey through flavors and textures.
Biangbiang noodles are named for the "biang-ing" sound the noodles are said to make when they are beaten on the table as they are being formed. Quirkily, the Chinese character for biang is one of the most complex and intriguing in the language, as it is composed of 42 strokes.
While the appeal of biangbiangnoodles is that they are wide and hand-pulled, their tantalizing toppings are also a highlight. They are typically garnished with a medley of savory ingredients, including spicy chili oil, aromatic garlic, fragrant vinegar and a variety of fresh vegetables. This combination of flavors and textures results in a harmonious symphony that aficionados say delights the senses.
The equally renowned oil-splashed noodle is not just a culinary delight, but also a visual and auditory feast to boot. The dish is finished by pouring a generous drizzle of scorching hot oil over a combination of chopped scallions, fragrant Sichuan peppercorns and a secret blend of spicy chili powder.
As the oil meets the ingredients, a magnificent spectacle unfolds, bubbling and sizzling energetically, and the bowl brims with a vibrant red hue.
Another iconic snack, roujiamo, is often referred to as the "Chinese hamburger". This sandwich-like delight has a lengthy history dating back approximately 2,400 years. Yangrou paomo, or flatbread soaked in lamb soup, is another signature Xi'an dish.
In recent years, hit TV dramas like The Longest Day in Chang'anand Nothing Gold Can Stayhave also showcased the rich culinary heritage of Shaanxi.
Shaanxi huamo(or flower bread) is particularly popular in Xi'an and is listed as a national intangible cultural heritage. With its vibrant colors and variety of shapes, huamocaptivates the eye with its dynamic and exaggerated forms. Depicting birds, animals, flowers, insects, historical figures and folk legends, each round of bread is an artistic masterpiece.
According to Bai Rong, an inheritor of Yanliang-style flower bread who comes from Xi'an's Yanliang district, huamois an expression of ancestral worship, a way of sending blessings to elders and an embodiment of aspirations for a better life.
Bai said that in addition to flour, huamois made using beans, dates, rice and pepper and not only tantalizes the taste buds, but also has remarkable visual appeal.