Visiting The Muslim Quarter, Xian

Forming the start of the Silk Road over 1000 years ago, Xi’an has been the central point for many merchants, students and travelers from Persia and surrounding Arabic countries. Many visited this city to trade but whilst some left, others settled resulting in the formation of a strong Hui (Muslim) community which has now grown to over 60 000. Today Huimin Street more popularly known as the Muslim Quarter, has become a famous eating area visited by tourists from all over the world. Filled with unique snack stalls, neatly lined restaurants and souvenir markets; the sights, smells and Chinese-infused Arabic atmosphere is sure to make this one of the most memorable places you’ll visit when in Xian. 

The Muslim Quarter does not just form one major street but instead consists of many backstreets and alleyways making up the eating district. These include Beiyuanmen Street, North Guangji Street, Xiyangshi Street and Dapiyuan Street.

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Walking down these streets you will see a mix of old and new architecture lining numerous eating houses. They tell the age old tale of how this city formed a major cultural crossroad.

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Every day, both locals and tourists visit to try some uniquely tasting snacks. Long lines serve as a silent signal of stalls with the best tasting dishes.

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Mixed aromas of fried mutton, lamb and beef waft through the air. Bear in mind the Islamic influence is still strong so you won’t find pork anywhere.

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Food will be prepared right as you buy it.

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Warm sesame coated naan can be found everywhere.

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Watch real-time Xi’an candy making.

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Smell the strong scent of overflowing chili stalls.

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Hear the sound of biang biang noodles being slapped on the table.

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Some local dishes to try include:

  • roujiamo – marinated beef or lamb stuffed inside a freshly baked bun.
  • yangrou paomo – pita bread soaked in lamb soup.
  • hulatang – a thick soup served with bread)
  • Rouchuan – meat (grilled lamb or beef) on a stick

 

There are a range of famous restaurants lining the streets that you should try. Popular ones include:

  • Chun Fa Sheng Restaurant on Nanyuanmen Street
  • Tong Sheng Xiang Restaurant on Zhonggulou Square
  • Tian Tang Ke Restaurant on 215 North Guangji Street
  • Jia San Steamed Dumpling Restaurant on 121 West Xiyangshi Stree

 

HOW TO GET THERE:

  • The Muslim Quarter is located near the Bell Tower.
  • Location: West of Zhonggulou Square, Beilin District
  • By bus: Take buses numbered 4, 7, 15, 32, 43, 45, 201, 205, 206, 215, 218, 221, 222, 251, 300, 604, 611 and 612. Get off at the Bell Tower and walk for approximately three minutes.
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Hi World! I'm Shal - an environmental microbiologist, writer, teacher and artist from Durban, South Africa. I've spent the last two years traveling and teaching Chemistry and English to young kids in Asia. Life of Shal was founded as a way to share travel experiences, tips and other worldly magic with you! Join me on my journey!

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