Street Food, Mosques, and Markets in the Muslim District in Xi'an, China

Monday, September 15, 2014



The Muslim District in Xi'an, China


The Muslim District in Xi'an is a neighborhood with a high concentration of Muslims, particularly those of the Hui nationality. Beiyuanmen Snack Street, located next to the Drum Tower, is the main portal into the Muslim District. As the name suggests, on Beiyuanmen you will find a huge smattering of amazing but sort of expensive street food.

Because I'm feeling a bit hungry I thought I'd give a breakdown of some of the local Muslim specialties that can be found on Beiyuanmen. 1) peanut brittle, 2) fried spicy potatoes, 3) dark plum juice, 4) Ro Jia Mo - a sort of lamb sandwich, 5) barbecue, and 6) dried fruit. Have I made you hungry?



pulling peanut brittle in Xi'an
Pulling the peanut brittle

frying potatoes for street food in Xi'an

plum juice in the Muslim district in Xi'anRou Jian Mou, a lamb sandwich in Xi'an




the drum tower in xi'an
The Xi'an Drum Tower - use this as your landmark

beiyuanmen street in xi'an
Beiyuanmen Snack Street

Chinese barbecue in Xi'an

dried fruits and nuts for sale in Xi'an



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The Great Mosque in Xi'an, China


The Great Mosque, founded in 742 AD is the oldest mosque in China. The Great Mosque is special because it is built completely in a Chinese architecture style rather than in Arabic style. Therefore, you won't see any dome-shaped peaks, unlike other mosques in China. I've seen Arabic style mosques in China before, so I was interested in seeing how the two architecture styles compared.

It took us two different tries to find the Great Mosque, because the signage is horrible and maps were just as useless. Luckily, I speak Mandarin so asked around and after numerous wrong turns we were able to find it. Below are directions to help guide you in your quest to find the Great Mosque. 

Walk away from the Drum Tower down Beiyuanmen Street. Take a left onto the small side street called Xiyang Shi. Xiyang Shi is noted with a large sign arching above the street. Walk down this street until you see a very small sign on the left hand side pointing towards the Great Mosque (the sign is really hard to miss and is up far above eye-level). Following this sign will take you down a small dirty alley that is full of random vendors. Follow this alley until you reach the end. To the right hand side you will see the entrance to the Great Mosque (which is denoted with a sign). The Great Mosque costs 25 RMB to enter.




An archway in the Great Mosque in Xi'anA building inside the Great Mosque in Xi'an China

detailed doors in XI'an


Gardens in Xi'an, China
 Inside the Great Mosque in Xi'an, China

Details in Xi'an, China


Did you know about the Muslim District in Xi'an? What is your favorite street food?

I'm linking up with Bonnie Rose and her co-hosts for Travel Tuesday. I'm linking up with Kate Winnderful for her Social Saturday Linkup.

18 comments:

  1. I didn't know about it at all! A really interesting read - I liked the photos of the Great Mosque. xx

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    1. Thanks! The Muslim district was surprisingly huge.

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  2. Awesome! Thanks for the directions. I'm adding this to my list of things to see in Xi'an

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  3. This blows my mind. I didn't know there was a huge Muslim community in China. Very interesting piece Liz. Love it!

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    1. Thanks! When I was first learning about China I didn't know there was a large Muslim population or that there were several different Muslim ethnic minorities in China. I love learning about cultures!

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  4. yes, yes you have made me hungry! so much delicious food! I like this part.."Luckily, I speak Mandarin" like it's so casual ;) so cool!

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    1. Haha! I had to learn for my job :) Luckily the grammar in Mandarin is very flexible - and I worked with people who spoke Mandarin as a second language so we all could make mistakes together! Now, if only Lithuanian was a little easier!

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  5. Rou Jia Mo! We've already been introduced to that wonder of the world! We live in ShenZhen and a little halal noodle restaurant is one of our go-to places to eat!

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    1. The Muslim noodle places are my favorite too. And oh Rou Jia Mo! It was so good. The street food in China is just so good.

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  6. Like most people here, I also didn't really know about this ...is it weird that I didn't even think there were muslims in China? Gosh I'm terrible! It's so fascinating that the mosque was built in the Chinese style - I mean it must not stick out at all!

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    1. It isn't weird at all that you didn't know about muslims in China. I think it is common to only be familiar with Han - the main ethnic group in China and probably Tibetans as well. To me seeing the mosque built in Chinese style was so strange and also very historically interesting. I've seen a ton of mosques in China, but they always had those domes on top. China always has surprises and new things to learn!

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  7. That sandwich looks appetizing. I love that the mosque has Chinese architecture rather than Arabic - it makes it so unique.

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    1. It was really cool to see. They sandwich was really good!

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  8. You had me at peanut brittle! Great post, I love reading about all of this history. You make me miss Chinese street food!!!

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    1. I loved learning about all of the history there. I'm making some Chinese food for dinner tonight because I miss it as well!

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