The Muslim Quarter of Xian is a foodie paradise, especially as evening falls when the area is redolent with the smell of spices mixed with a range of vegetarian and meat dishes being, boiled, broiled, deep fried and roasted in the eateries along the street. The cooking traditions here date back hundreds of years when Xian was the capital of China and the starting point of the famed Silk Route. Xian’s Muslim Quarter is home to a large Muslim community a majority of who are Hui, one of the country’s largest ethnic minorities. The enclave covers several city blocks. It is a great place to stroll to catch a glimpse of cultural practices that were brought to Xian mainly by traders and diplomats from Central Asia all those long years ago. Many people here wear a doppa or the round skullcap that sets them apart from the local Chinese.

The Muslim food street comprising of little restaurants and street vendors, food and spice shops stretches for about 500 meters starting north of the Xian Drum Tower, close to the historic Great Mosque. Ming and Qing Dynasty style buildings line the street on both sides which is also shaded by rows of trees. It is indeed an experience to walk along the alleyways and backstreets here to see what make everyone tick food wise. Beef and lamb dishes served as soup with vegetables glass noodles and pancakes, cold noodles, rice with lamb raisins and nuts, hand pulled noodles with spiced lamb, chili and cumin flavoured beef and lamb barbeque, stuffed flat breads, steamed buns stuffed with lamb or beef, pastries and a range of sweets too tempting to ignore. Steamed cake like confections dipped in sugar and sesame and in a range of modern flavours, deep fried sticky persimmon pies with rose petals and walnuts, Turkish delight, dates with almond stuffing in honey or plain and a mind boggling array of dried fruit and nuts that are a staple of Muslim meals anywhere in the world. Whether snacking on the move, sitting in a makeshift café or a regular restaurant, there is always something great to sample here.

Whether it is a long or short stay Citadenes Central Xian offers some of the most conveniently located Xian accommodation for corporate and leisure travelers and their families. These fully equipped and serviced apartments Xian in studio and one bedroom configurations offer modern amenities, privacy and security including a range of business, leisure and other conveniences to make a stay here both comfortable and desirable.

Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.