Well, at last, this is my final post for Xian Muslim street food. In previous three posts, I show you around the Muslim street (look & feel), introduced the Xian local wheat made food, meat dishes and snacks. In this post, it is all about the Xian local specialized sweet stuff.
Does Chinese eat any dessert? Well, I'd say not as in the West.
Talking about sweet snacks or dessert, I still think the West has more and better options than China. I don't mean the chocolate bars but the desserts. In the West, the dessert would appear in the menu, and having something sweet to finish a meal seems to be a tradition. But this is not the case in China.
I guess there are two reasons for that. First, China is still a developing county, for most places, having dessert sounds so luxury that may still beyond most people’s expectation. Of course, in some big cities, particularly for the younger generation who likes to experience the West style of living, sweet treat is nothing surprise. But for most Chinese, having dessert is not a tradition.
Second, I don’t think Chinese kitchen has the facility to make those western style desserts. For example, there is no oven (except microwave oven) in Chinese kitchen. Chinese cooking does not use butter, cheese or excessive sugar. There are baking shops to make those cakes or western style pastry, but it is not easy to make these at home.
Therefore whenever I see the dessert recipes appeared in some Chinese cookbooks or websites, I guess at least that is not from the mainland of China.
But Chinese have own sweet stuff. For example, during the Spring Festival, we would have the sweet glutinous rice balls filled with black sesames or nuts. We also have the moon cakes for the Middle Autumn Festival. In most restaurants, fruit salad might be offered after the meal. Some may offer the steamed buns with custard, or sweet pumpkin cakes.
Well, that’s bit too much about Chinese desserts. Now let’s go back to see Xian Muslim street food.
When I walked in the street, immediately I noticed this super size cake. What a lovely colour! The locals name it “Gui Hua Gao”, the rice cake topped with red sweet dates.
The dates are preserved with sugar, still looking shining on the top.
Each slice cake comes with a date on top. Comparing to the cakes in the West, it is less sweeter and much lighter.
Another popular snack in China is the green bean cake. Here in Xian Muslim street, the green bean cakes seem to have various combinations, such as green bean mixed with sesame, grape or nuts.
The bean cakes have a very delicate sandy texture. It is firm but once you have a bite, it will crumble (??? help, please, :) in your mouth. I just love it. Again, not that sweet. It is a good gift choice. They also have the low sugar version. I bought two boxes for my parents and brother.
Finally I noticed one thing that I have seen in the West, the frozen yogurt! I was surprised to see it at Xian Muslim street, as this is not available in my hometown Hunan.
The colourful toppings for you to choose.
Looking good, tastes lovely.
When I just thought I have seen enough, some big noise caught my attention. It sounded like someone was hitting something heavily on the table. I couldn’t believe it, they were making candy!!
Why do they need to hit the candy so hard? Try to research it, haven’t got answer yet.
Love their candy stall too.
Another interesting handy making process was the hand-pulled candy. As they were so skilful that it was really fun to watch, many people just standing by and filming it.
Watch the short clip here, which shows the hammered candy and pulled candy. I found it was interesting and fun to watch them:)
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Here is another famous local snack called Mirror cake, made by steamed glutinous rice. The name comes from its shape. Here is the lovely stall making mirror cakes.
The cake itself tastes very light, but you can choose different flavours and toppings.
One more famous local snack, persimmon cake. They look so lovely in this photo, regret that I couldn't try these when I was there as I was so full that day.
Ok, that's it, the end of my experience of Xian Muslim street food. It took me longer than expected to tidy up all these pictures.
I hope you like them as I do. If so, please like it on Facebook or share with others.
In general, I like the Xian Muslim street is very “local” food focused, which is a perfect place to enjoy the Xian local food and food culture. It still keeps some old buildings, and not overly commercialized (unlike some Beijing food street).
My only issue with their food is that, there are so many wheat made food, and I can’t have a small sample of them. It is a shame, as for me, trying to taste as many as possible is a fun for visiting the food street.
But overall, it is a place I would definitely recommend to people who will visit Xian.
(Post: 23/10/2014; Update: 08/03/15)