The Muslim quarter or the Hui quarter of Xi’an is home to more than 40,000 Muslims and is near the Drum Tower. As one of the must-visit places in Xi’an city, the Muslim quarter is a symbolic site of Xi’an flavor for its old street of more than 1,000 years old to sell 300 sorts of food, which attracts some foodies to please both their noses and taste buds. Also, the well-preserved folk life gives visitors a great chance to feel the featured culture in Shaanxi province.
The origin of the Muslims in Xi’an can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (7th to 8th centuries AD). As the Tang Dynasty established friendly relations with today’s Iran and Arab countries, through the Silk Road, a large number of merchants, diplomats, religious figures, and students from Iran, Arabia, Central Asia, and other places gradually settled in Chang’an city (now Xi’an), and they were the ancestors of the Hui people in Xi’an.
Muslim Street (Huiminjie) is a street in the Muslim quarter. It is paved with large stones and crosses this district from north to south over a length of 500 m. Walking along this meander and narrow street which is aligned with stores on both sides, you can see that Muslim men with white hats sit inside the stores and talk leisurely with each other. In front of the doors of some stores, aged men with white beards sit on the cane chairs to enjoy the tender touch of the sun and have fun with the children running along the street. The main goods of these stores are authentic hand-making Muslim food which tastes very good. While still small stores are selling the unique local products of Shaanxi Province and yet others provide you with exquisite souvenirs.
The Xi’an souk, also called the Beiyuanmen market, is located north of the Drum Tower, in the heart of the city. This covered market sells clothes, calligraphy, watches, and souvenirs of all kinds, and all the merchants are Muslims. The atmosphere is friendly, and forced selling will never happen.
We recommend visiting the souk at the end of the day when the skewer restaurants begin to roast the barbecues.
Here are the different “snacks” that you can taste while visit:
– The star: the “Chinese hamburger”: 15 RMB / piece
– Meatballs in the spicy sauce: 10 RMB / 3 skewers
– Jackfruit: 10 RMB / portion
– Breaded banana: 5 RMB / banana
– “Chinese pizza”: 5 RMB / piece
If you want to taste the mutton stew and its flatbread, Laowangjia restaurant is a good reference. Mutton stew is a specialty found only in the Muslim Quarter (18 RMB/person). The address of the restaurant Lao wang Jia: In the Muslim quarter.
Chinese Name: 回民街
Location: Bei yuan entrance, Lian hu district, Xi’an city, Shaanxi province
Opening hours: All-day
Recommended length of visit: 2 hours
Subway: Line 2, get off at Zhonglou 钟楼站
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