Mutton Soup and Dumpling Dinner
Best of Xian Foods

Mutton soup and dumpling dinner are definitely the most representative Xian foods. I’ll talk about them later in this chapter.

Eating in Xian has to start with the Muslim district at Xidajie (West Main Street). You’ll find plenty of street food stalls where you can find all kinds delicious food.

Just make sure the food are well cooked and avoid cold cuts.

Yummy noodles in soup, BBQ skewered mutton, steamed dumplings, juicy buns and all kinds of everything that are delicious could be found here. Noodle in Xian is very famous, feel free to try whatever attracts you.

Among the numerous delicious foods in Xian, I would highly recommend two – yangrou paomo (mutton soup) and dumpling dinner.

mutton soup of  Xian

Yangrou Paomo - Bread in Mutton Soup
Mutton soup is an extremely popular cultural food in Xian. Few people come to Xian without trying it. You just can’t resist its fragrance and love it. Paomo (mutton soup) is served by both restaurants and street hawkers.

Have a bowl of mutton soup on a freezing street in winter is the best thing to do in the world. It is extremely delicious and keeps you warm. In Xian, if you have paomo on your menu, your restaurant will never be short of customers.

Watching street hawkers making Paomo (‘mo’ is a Chinese dry bread) is already lots of fun.

Lamb or beef bones are put in a big boiler. With high heat and long hours, the soup turns milky white and thick and is extremely tasteful. Meat and bones are separated during the cooking process, while meat is cooked to tiny bits and almost melted. Spices, green onion and ginger were added to the mutton soup.

Before serving, guests are given dry breads to break into tiny pieces and put inside a bowl and pass back to the chef. Inside the bowl, the chef will add sliced vegetable, green onion, jelly noodle or rice noodle together with some seasoning like pepper, salt and cumin. The boiling milky mutton soup is pour into the bowl together with bits of mutton or beef. You would expect the bread to absorb the mutton soup and become soft and extremely delicious.

There are lots of paomo (mutton soup) shops in Xian. Among them Lao Sun Jia (老孫家- 東關正街西段) and Tong Sheng Xiang (同盛祥 - 鐘鼓樓廣場) are most famous.

In a restaurant, a bowl of paomo costs ¥12. Unless you really like to eat in a restaurant, otherwise just eat it as a street food. It’s far more economic and fun. Watching the street hawkers to make a freshly steaming hot mutton soup is very interesting.

dumpling dinner at Xian

Dumpling Dinner

View a Pictorial Dumpling Dinner

Dumpling dinner and Tang Dynasty music and dances seem to have paired up in Xian travel. If you are on a package tour, this must be on your itinerary. If you travel on your own, please do arrange for yourself.

Dumpling feast is a newly created banquet style. It was invented by Jie Fang Lu Dumpling Restaurant in 1987. Since then dumpling dinner has created fame and wealth for the restaurant. Thousands of domestic and overseas visitors come to taste this special cuisine everyday.

Dumplings are very creative in many ways such as ingredients, cooking of fillings and shapes. Chefs are able to make up to 108 different types of dumpling with various attractive shape, size and taste. Beautiful names are given to different themes of the feast, such as ‘Dragon and Phoenix Feast’, ‘Peony Feast’, ‘Floral Feast’, ‘Palatial Feast’ and ‘Eight Treasures Feast’ etc.

Dumplings are served in Chinese steamers. Each themed feast might consist of 15 to 20 different types of dumpling resembling different shapes and fillings. They are served according to the number of guests at the table. Even if you eat fast, you won’t be able to get a second dumpling of the same style.

pearl dumpling hot pot

Towards middle of the dinner, you might start to worry if you would have enough food. For regular size dumplings, you might need four bites to finish one. But at the dumpling dinner, you can eat four at one bite.

Towards end of the dinner, you are served the pearl dumplings hot pot which is claimed to be Empress Dowager Cixi’s favourite. Indeed, at the size of a pearl, you might worry if you can get the dumplings back after putting them into the boiling soup. At the very end of the feast, you will be served some regular size dumplings that will let you go to bed without hunger.

The two most famous dumpling dinner restaurants in Xian are:

解放路餃子館:解放路隴海酒店一層 Jie Fang Lu Dumpling Restaurant located at No. 229 Jie Fang Road.

德發長:鐘鼓樓廣場西大街3號 De Fa Chang Dumpling Restaurant located at 3 Xidajie of Drum and Bell Tower Square.

Dumpling Dinner and Tang Dynasty Music and Dance
The Tang Dynasty located at the heart of Xian’s downtown offers nightly audiences a balanced combination of dumpling dinner and a show that highlights music and dance from Tang Dynasty.

Personally I would say this is the best among other similar shows in Xian. Let's take a preview of the Tang Dynasty Music and Dancing show.

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