More from Xi’an….
One of the sad parts of our rainy weekend adventure is that we weren’t able to do an exciting hike to Hua Shan that we had planned on doing. I guess all things happen for a reason, though, because instead of hiking in the rain we got to explore the Muslim Quarter of the city, with its many winding alleys and incredibly delicious street food offerings.
Only about a dozen steps into our walk I already had to stop for my first taste sensation — I couldn’t help myself. I saw a lady selling a sort of fried pancake filled with meat (picture above). It was…..SO good. As I write this my mouth is watering and I am seriously hankering for more. I don’t know how she managed to fit so much flavor into this mouth-watering morsel, but she did. It was a bit oily, but mostly in the way that just lends flavor and tastiness, and the meat was filled with a combination of flavors that I had decidedly never tasted before…think salty-cumin-flavored meat in between thin, crispy breaded deliciousness. Mmmmmm.
Moving along the narrow streets we came across a bakery selling an enormous assortment of baked goods. I was quickly drawn to one that looked like it was oozing chocolate, and proceeded to buy several of the variety, only to discover after leaving the store that they were most definitely NOT chocolate. I don’t know how long it will take me to learn that Asia just doesn’t do chocolate, but I am forever hopeful.
We walked around the district for several hours, ducking into an assortment of shops to avoid the rain that insisted on being present for the duration of our stay in Xi’an. But despite our sogginess, and a small adventure with a pedicab driver who managed to get arrested by the local police — while we were still on his cab — we had a really amazing time. The street food was truly incredible (and hugely varied) and the narrow streets spattered with old mosques and historic homes was a delightful change to the general sprawling enormity of Beijing. I will certainly be making the 14-hour train trip again to continue my explorations.