Saturday, November 8, 2014

The bustling Muslim Streets in Xian - Xian, China

Halal Restaurant on Muslim Street

Since we were not going to Zhangye...we decided to be closer to the city centre and all its attractions like the Drum Tower, Bell Tower, Muslim Quarter, mosques and the shopping malls. We moved to Ancient City Youth Hostel near Be Dajie metro station.  Getting a cab was much easier with the help of the hotel security staff. We went to Muslim Street for lunch and dinner and we visited the Xian Great Mosque almost every day.  
The street is always full of people and most stalls open until 3 am
The food at the Muslim Street is cheap and tasty but you really have to observe the level of hygiene. Some places can be quiet dirty.  Some of the chefs wore inappropriate attires like sleeveless skimpy shirt. So we were selective about where we eat and what we eat to avoid any related illness. But you'll love the Muslim Street even if you're not keen of eating there. The vibrant streets are lighted with neon all days and nights, the shouting vendors are calling for customers and the creative candy man are pounding the sugar with all their strength.  There're so many activities going on and it's just an amazing scene. 

Just behind the Muslim Main Street, there were many shops which sell Chinese antiques, painting, clothing, shawls, souvenirs and just about anything you may think of. But you really have to be careful with the prices. The price difference from one shop to another can be so huge that you really have to be cautious.  We asked the price of a table runner from a shop in front of the mosque's entrance and he quoted RMB 185, That was really exorbitant as we already asked the price further down the lane where it was quoted for RM 40.  We did not bargain (do not bargain if you have no intention of buying, they might get annoyed) but the vendor slashed the price to 120 then to 85 and finally to 50. We kindly refused the offer because we did not bargain for any price and we walked off. I read the advice of other travelers, where they advised that the bargain should go for 50 to 70%, which I found to be perfectly true. 

But nevertheless, food is cheap and you need not have to bargain. Most of the food prices are labeled and you don't have to worry about being cheated.  I saw the food vendors charging the same price to the locals so no worries about that.  However, we saw an European man bargaining for food which made us smile and perhaps he was taking the advice of other travelers about bargaining.  

This fried pancakes with fillings are really yummy
He's mixing the sugar and nuts before pounding
Pounding the candy
Pound till it's flat
The candy is cut into pieces
Huge pieces are then packed for sale
Small pieces of rice cakes fried
At another stall they stretch the sugar
Then he twists the pliable candies
This bread is delicious when you eat them with grill lamb or chicken
Side road stalls
The street is full of people

A long stretch of the candy
The queue for food can be very long 

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