After the long bullet train ride to Xi’an we were tired, hungry, and needing to stretch our legs. We checked into our hotel for a short rest and then adventured out to find food.
While visiting us in Beijing, Nana recommended to us a dumpling place in Xi’an, so we set that as our targeted destination. After navigating our way across the street, around construction, dodging eager taxi drivers who were quite positive we needed a ride, and up and down multiple flights of stairs, we finally found the restaurant. (We just knew it was the right one when we saw the golden dumpling. I mean, it has a golden dumpling, it’s got to be good.)
After being seated we promptly ordered the dumpling feast. A few minutes later the dishes began to roll out.
We started of the meal with some sprouts, vegetables, meat and peppers, a meat like substance that had the taste like low quality spam, and this beauty. Yes folks, that is a whole chicken. And when I say whole, I’m talking the head and neck still attached. It almost looked as if it had just been minding it’s own business and tripped into the fryer. Anyways, after all the good meat had been picked off (it actually was pretty tasty), Eli pipped up and stated that he wanted the neck and head.
He didn’t really end up eating the whole thing, but hey, he tried something new! After a while the dumplings began to arrive. I think we ended up having about eight different types of dumplings total. These were a few of the more notable:
This one had more of a sweet/dense flavor. It was both shaped and tasted like walnut.
This dumpling was my personal favorite, in both flavor and appearance. The shape of the dumpling, again, was shaped exactly like what it was filled with. Can anyone guess? It was filled with lotus. Lotus is a plant with bowl shaped leaves and grows in the water, almost like a giant lily pad, but with a stronger stem. The plants produce pods which look almost identical to the shape of this dumpling. After learning how to make dumplings ourselves, and barely producing mediocre basic shaped ones, we knew it was an impressive feat to get them so intricately shape.
Again, here is another dumpling taking on the appearance of it’s filling. In this case it was filled with duck.
At this point Abel had finished his meal and decided that it was time for some entertainment. With his makeshift microphones of a chopstick and spoon, he proceeded to sing at the top of his lungs for the enjoyment of the rest of the restaurant as well.
After we had gorged ourselves on large dumplings, the waitress brought out a big pot of soup and a cup. She proudly showed us the contents of the cup. It was filled with little dumplings. And we’re talking baby dumplings here.
It was around this time that I started to talk about the blog post that I would write about the meal. As we were talking Eli stated that he thought the blog should be called the Xi’an Dumpling Gang after one of our favorite movies, The Apple Dumpling Gang. And as you can see it was. (Bonus points to the people who caught the reference earlier. Gold star. 😉 )
In the end, we put a good hurting on the food (as we always do). We left the restaurant full stomachs and journeyed on, quite unsuspecting of the experience that lied a head.