xi’an famous foods
While picking up tips on where to snack in New York, I was persuaded by the ever reliable L to try Xi’an Famous Foods. Our timetable was already jam-packed, but she reasoned that the Chang-an Spicy Tofu (one of their specialities) was pretty small and I could squeeze that in if nothing else. That seemed logical to me, so I convinced B to partake in a post-Minetta nibble with me at their East Village branch. Of course once I was there I couldn’t resist ordering a few more dishes…
The small pot of tofu was indeed lovely – warm, silken and bathed in a zha cai (Sichuanese preserved vegetable) studded piquant chilli oil. The Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles were also interesting both in texture (chewy hand-torn wheat noodles, crunchy cucumber, spongy gluten) and taste (tangy and hot). This is the cuisine of Western China, an intriguing hybrid of Chinese and Middle Eastern flavours.
The influences of the latter cuisine were pronounced in the Spicy Cumin Lamb Burger – a flatbread sandwich stuffed with cumin-spiced lamb, jalapenos and onions. Very tasty, but I would’ve liked some salad or pickles to freshen it up a bit.
The best dish was the Spicy and Tingly Lamb Face Salad, a taste bud-popping tangle of gelatinous lamb muscle and tendon, cooling cucumber and sprightly bean sprouts tossed in a fiery mouth-numbing sauce. Definitely worth stuffing my face for before our flight (the plane meal was rubbish anyway).
Xi’an Famous Foods
81 St. Mark’s Place
(at 1st Ave.)
New York, NY 10003