Xi’an Cuisine: A Food Court Gem

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I recently had an opportunity to enjoy a week in Vancouver, so off I went and I schemed as much as possible so that I get to visit some old haunts and explored new discoveries in the few days I was there. I’ve got a few posts lined up to share the fruits of my labor. Ahem.

Within an hour of getting out of YVR it was Food Court Time!!

With the slight nausea from lack of sleep(I have a love-and-hate relationship with 6AM flights) and an incoming headache, these savory gems from Xi’An Cuisine were exactly what I needed. Xi’An Cuisine is located in the upstairs food court at Richmond Public Market. The store might look small and simple, but their food is a sure bet. I’ve been there many times, and I’ve always had a happy experience.

That plate of noodles in a pool of spicy chili oil is the cold noodles and a signature of Xi’an Cuisine. You can order it without spice, but I think the spice really brings the dish. Their cold noodle is mixed with sprouts, thinly-sliced cucumbers and bean curds and it is spicy, sour and it really wakes up the taste buds. The cold noodles are made fresh at the store, I believe. The noodles are quite slippery, but still chewy and not limp and sad at all. Highly recommend this.

Sliced beef in Shaobing. These are like flatbread pockets and technically the plate pictured is meant for two, but I know I can finish everything by myself. The beef is super tender, well-seasoned and just a touch spicy from the chili and green onion. But what I really like is the flaky, toasted Shaobing. Shaobing is like the Chinese pita bread and it is often eaten for breakfast. But I think if it’s made well, it’s toasted, flaky, crunchy and you can tuck literally anything into it and it will work well. The Shaobing really soaks up the flavor of the sliced beef here, and with the great texture contrast between the tender beef and flaky Shaobing, these little sandwiches were amazing.

Knife-cut noodle stir-fry with lamb. This is honestly my favorite dish at Xi’an Cuisine. Xi’an is so far the only place I found that actually has authentic knife-cut noodles (Shaolin Noodles on West Broadway also has them, but I haven’t been in a while). Knife-cut noodles must be made fresh, it cannot be dry noodles, and it is literally made by having the chef slice at the dough with a knife and the noodle strands cook in the water. Because of the knife slices, the noodles are usually thinner around the edges and meatier and thicker in the middle. The noodles are definitely chewier but not tough. These type of noodles work well in a stir-fry or in a soup. I like the lamb noodles for the flavor, though I wish they will add more vegetables in the stir-fry. Still, I came for the noodles and they were just the perfect chewiness, as always. This is like my favorite comfort food.

Last but not least, Xi’an Cuisine is quite cheap. Xi’an Cuisine is a great place for a quick lunch, take-out or an afternoon pick me up. I will definitely end up coming back here again in the future when the cravings hit.

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