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The Top 10 China Silk Road Foods You Must Try

Written by Chris QuanUpdated May. 24, 2021

On a China Silk Road trip, you can not only delve into its history and culture, but also explore the delicious food of the Silk Road.

Many of the cities along the Silk Road are inhabited by ethnic minorities, mainly the Muslim Hui and Uyghurs, so you can try many Halal foods when you travel along the Silk Road.

The Silk Road passes through northwest China, where wheat is the main staple, so you can also taste many kinds of noodles and pancakes.

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1. Lanzhou Beef Noodles

Lanzhou Beef NoodlesLanzhou Beef Noodles

Hand-pulled noodles are served with a clear beef soup. Slices of beef, coriander, and chopped green onion are added. The aroma of beef is mixes wonderfully in the mouth with the coriander and green onion.

The red chili oil drizzled on the noodles makes the whole bowl look appetizing (if you like spice). If you don't like spicy food, you can ask the shopkeeper not to add chili oil.

2. Xi'an Roujiamo (Chinese Hamburger)


Stewed chopped meat is sandwiched in thin baked bread. A dash of savory gravy softens the crisp bread. When you take a bite, the soft meat and chewy bread satisfyingly melt in the mouth.

Roujiamo and many other delicious Xi'an foods can be found in Muslim Street.

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3. Xi'an Yangrou Paomo (Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup)

Yangrou PaomoYangrou Paomo

Baked pita bread is broken into pieces and soaked in lamb soup. Agaric, day lily, vermicelli, garlic bulbils, and mutton are also added to the soup to make it more flavorful. If you like a spicy taste, you can also add some chili oil. The bread soaked in the soup is soft and tender and imbibed with the freshness of the lamb soup.

4. Xi'an Biangbiang Noodles

Biangbiang NoodlesBiangbiang Noodles

The wide and thick hand-made noodles are cooked and then mixed with pepper, soy sauce and vinegar. Drizzle with heated oil before serving to bring out the flavor of the pepper. It is savory, spicy, and chewy. A more appealing version would be topped with braised meats and assorted vegetables.

Biang is the most complex Chinese character, with 57 strokes. The word mimics the sound of the noodle dough hitting the counter when being stretched. Hence the name.

5. Ningxia 'Hand-Grab Mutton'

Hand-Grab MuttonHand-Grab Mutton

Hand grab mutton is one of the best 10 dishes in Ningxia.

A big lamb chop stewed for a long time is chopped into small pieces. The bone and meat separate easily with a simple bite.

Grab a piece and dip it into the sauce, typically made from salt, crushed garlic, parsley, soy sauce, vinegar, chili oil, and sesame paste. (You can actually make the sauce as you like.) The lamb itself is tender and not odorous. Just a simple sauce can make it delicious.

6. Niangpi (Cold Noodles)

NiangpiNiangpi (Cold Noodles)

Niangpi is a traditionally food popular in northwest China. It is served cold. Strips of steamed wheat flour are mixed together with salt, soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, sesame sauce and other spices. The addition of shredded cucumber and bean sprouts adds a crispy taste and refreshing. Because of different regional dialects, many people also call it liangpi (cold noddle).

7. Xinjiang Dapanji ('Big Plate Chicken')


This dish is usually cooked by stir-frying and then stewing. The chicken and green and red bell peppers are stir-fried first to create a delicious collusion. After stewing together, the potatoes absorb the flavor of the chicken and taste soft and glutinous.

Dapanji is usually served with noodles. The noodles also absorb the rich soup while stewing and taste spicy and appetizing.

8. Xinjiang Lamb Kebabs

Xinjiang Lamb KebabsXinjiang Lamb Kebabs

The marinated lamb cubes are served on bamboo skewers. Lamb kebabs are flipped every few minutes over a charcoal fire. The aroma from the roasted lamb and a spicy mixture of cumin and pepper is amazing.

9. Xinjiang 'Hand-Grab Rice'

Hand-Grab RiceHand-Grab Rice

Always popular, 'hand-grab rice' is a must-try food in Xinjiang. The ingredients include mutton, rice, carrot, onion, vegetable oil, and mutton fat. The vegetarian version uses dried fruits, like raisins, as the main ingredients.

The cooking method is very simple. Just put everything in a pot, add salt and water, and braise until everything has blended together and the flavors of the ingredients have been released.

Xinjiang 'hand-grab rice' was originally eaten by grabbing (scooping) with a hand, but now people usually eat it with spoons or chopsticks.

10. Nangs


Nangs are yet another traditional food in Xinjiang. Like Indian naans, a nang is a kind of round bread. It is made with sorghum flour, onions, eggs, vegetable oil, butter, and milk, and topped with sesame seeds.

In Xinjiang, there are over 50 kinds of nang! Some are sweet, some are salty, and some have fillings. The bigger ones can be as big as a wok lid, and the smallest can be as small as a fist.

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