Lisa and Georgie's Food Review: Xi'an & Pingyao

This is our last one of our travels! Hope you enjoy lovelies!

To give you an idea of what we mean by our ratings:

0 out of 10 – we will never eat again

5 out of 10 – average snack that we’d eat if it was the lesser of two evils

8 out of 10 – really good and delicious

10 out of 10 – “I’m just going to go ahead and buy five, that’s not crazy right?”

Glossary:

味道 – flavour

小吃 – it’s quality as a snack, is it a snack we’d have again?

外貌 – aesthetics (appearance)

菜 – it’s quality as a dish, would we have it for dinner again?

肉夹馍 – roujiamo

We saw many people queuing for something along one of the main streets in the Muslim Quarter and immediately decided to buy whatever they were buying. It is a local food that is basically a beef burger but only in appearance. The inside is a beef brisket with a spicy sauce used rather than ketchup 😉 with added juices. The bun is made from white flour that is first steamed then slightly toasted on a sandwich toaster before being filled with beef. The chef cuts the beef every time he makes a burger so it is hot and fresh! He also adds a spoonful or two of the juices into the burger. All we can say is: *cue Homer Simpson drooling*.

We’re in two minds as to whether this is a snack or a meal that you’d have at lunch (or with a packet of crisps). It could count as a meal if one has a whole one to themselves because it is a huge portion! Yet as we shared it was more like a snack. The first few bites were good, the middle balanced and delicious yet the end a little anticlimactic. It was soggier and had more of the chilli paste that deterred Georgie from finishing it off. However Lisa enjoyed the whole thing in its entirety. The meat was tender, well cooked and juicy. Aesthetically pleasing! We can understand why so many people queued up to try this, and also why it was worth the twenty minute wait!

9 out of 10 小吃

(8 out of 10 菜)

10 out of 10 味道

10 out of 10 外貌

牛肉泡馍 – niurou paomo

This is a DIY dish where they give you a bowl with two bread rolls in it. The bread is different to western bread as it is denser and completely white (inside and out). You have to rip the bread roll into tiny pieces. Then you hand your bowl to the chef who adds a clear soup, beef brisket, and clear vermicelli noodles. The bread soaks up the soup, turning soft and chewy (we expected it to get soggy but it didn’t!) The soup itself is quite oily, and because there are so many carb-y elements it is quite heavy on the stomach. However the taste was average to good. We found that adding chilli was a great idea because it “spiced it up” (the pun is courtesy of Lisa ;)). The beef was tender and very juicy. This dish, overall, was an exciting experience but wasn’t necessarily a delicious one. It tasted good but once the novelty had gone, we didn’t walk out utterly satisfied.

5 out of 10 菜

6 out of 10 味道

7 out of 10 外貌

Biáng.svgBiáng.svg面 – biangbiangmian

Lisa got the opportunity to eat this famous dish whilst Georgie lay on a sofa in the hostel trying to fight off a cold. Biang biang noodles are thick noodles resembling tagliatelle but double the width, and it’s a white colour. The name comes from the ‘biang’ sound that the noodles make as it is stretched and hit against the table. The noodles came with cubes of potato, tomato, celery, cauliflower and wood-ear mushrooms. This was garnished with a sauce consisting of chilli oil, vinegar and a hint of peanut sauce. Lisa loved this noodle because it was a dry noodle! Noodles were textural and chewy, but slippery to pick up! In terms of texture,the thick noodles are somewhat overpowering compared to the small cubes of vegetables/meat, but still enjoyable because the noodles are yum. I feel a touch of soy sauce would have made the dish better. Overall, yum!

7 out of 10 菜

7 out of 10 味道

8 out of 10 外貌

Lisa and I: 浇汁考栳栳 (Pingyao)
Lisa and I: 浇汁考栳栳 (Pingyao)

浇汁考栳栳 – jiaozhi kaolaolao

This is a quirky dish because it is aesthetically different to a lot of dishes. we were first intrigued by the name then by the picture beneath! It looked like a flat block of honeycomb with hollow cylinder served against one another. It is made of oat noodles that have been flattened rather than strung into noodles then made into a little cylinder shape. It is served with a vinegar, chilli oil and sesame oil (which we ended up not using because we are not fans of sesame oil!). The noodles were dry but when added to a bit of vinegar sauce they were moist enough. It wasn’t a particularly flavoursome dish but perfect for breakfast. It also felt pretty healthy because it was made from oats!

6 out of 10 菜

5 out of 10 味道

7 out of 10 外貌

The dish Lisa points at is the Pingyao Beef, the dish closest to me is the Cats Ears
The dish Lisa points at is the Pingyao Beef, the dish closest to me is the Cats Ears, the dish to the right of that is Wantu (review below)

猫耳朵 – maoerduo

The English name is ‘Cats Ears’ and originates from, coincidently enough, having the appearance of cats ears. They are small curled pieces of noodles that resemble sugar puffs (the cereal). The dish was served with vegetables such as peppers, tomato and wood ear mushrooms in a salty sauce. In short, it was a delicious and well-balanced dish with a good ration of noodle to other ingredients! Definitely would eat again.

8 out of 10 菜

8 out of 10 味道

8 out of 10 外貌

平遥牛肉 – pingyao niurou

This is as simple as a dish gets. This is freshly carved cooked but served cold beef. It has a good pink colour, the flavour is not to strong and not too dry on the tongue. It was of a good quality that Georgie’s dad would approve of! It was lovely to eat at a meal but not on its own.. Unless you’re having it in a sandwich! It is used in all the beef dishes and adds a different yet yummy flavour that contrasts to the common way of cooking the beef.

6 out of 10 菜

7 out of 10 味道

6 out of 10 外貌

碗秃 – wantu

Round rice noodle sheets are made using a small bowl as a mould (hence the name “bowl bits”).Then they are cut into strips and chilli oil is added, so flavour wise there isn’t that much going on. Noodles chewy and not too dense. A simple dish (albeit a bit boring), served cold and a good entree for dinner.

5 out of 10 菜

5 out of 10 味道

6 out of 10 外貌

石头饼 – shitoubing

This is a pancake made in stove full of hot black stones. Due to this method of cooking, the final product resembles a poppadom as it is flat yet has a wavy appearance. It is quirky! We had one spicy one, a salty one with five spice and a salty “original one”. After the first bite they were rather crispier than Georgie expected. However it didn’t dry out our mouths and was rather soft to eat! All were well balanced but Georgie’s favourite was the five-spice. Lisa agrees that the original was too original in flavour. Stephanie (a friend who joined us) enjoyed the spicy one for the kick. Overall, a great little snack that isn’t too filling and a change to the stodgier pancakes.

7 out of 10 小吃

(Original) 5 out of 10 味道

(Five-spice) 7 out of 10 味道

(Spicy) 6 out of 10 味道

7 out of 10 外貌

(can’t find a picture for this one… Sorry! So I stole one off the internet hehe)

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过油肉 – guoyourou

This is a simple and good dish so we don’t have much to say about it overall! The sauce was thick and tasty and there was a good garlic flavour. Pork was succulent and the garlic stems were crunchy and matched the pork perfectly.

8 out of 10 菜

8 out of 10 味道

7 out of 10 外貌

Lisa and I: 平遥蒸饺
Lisa and I: 平遥蒸饺

平遥蒸饺 – pingyao zhengjiao

These are dumplings specific to this region of China. They are different to normal dumplings because oat flour is used instead rice or normal flour. Hence the texture is like a dry thin bread rather than being smooth and chewy. However the way they are presented and the fillings are the same as normal dumplings! We happened to cone across these by Stephanie and Hayden ordering them by accident, but they were good to try all the same!

5 out of 10 菜

5 out of 10 味道

7 out of 10 外貌

Thank you for reading guys! Hope you get to try amazing food when you’re out travelling, sometimes the street food is the tastiest and most local food you can buy. Be safe on your travels.

Xo.

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Published by

Georgie

British. Foodie. Traveller. Cat-lover. being a twentysomething and trying to have an adventure at the same time, speak chinese, spanish, korean and english, hence: this is the life of a language student, now transformed into georgettaloretta.com ! xo.