Halal Cuisine and Middle Eastern Restaurants Hidden in the Alleys of China
By: Jenny Lyu / Arab America Contributing Writer
Ever since I can remember, I have loved to go to the Huimin Street (Muslim Street) in front of my house. The bluestone pavement, green trees, buildings, artifacts, and food with strong halal characteristics make me linger. Like Korean town, Chinatown in New York, the Huimin Street has become a new world around the corner of the city. The 60,000-strong Hui Muslim community lives here, blending traditional Chinese architecture with Muslim architecture to create a unique scene.
Nowadays, wherever we go, we can find our sense of belonging in an exotic world and cuisine from our hometown. In the far East, whether you are in Xi’an’s Huimin Street, old Beijing’s Hutong, or Shanghai’s ancient Longtang, you will find an authentic Arabian restaurant if you miss your hometown food or a community that shares beliefs to unite and enjoy food together. Today, I’ll introduce authentic Halal cuisine and Middle Eastern restaurants in China.
Xi’an “Hui Fang”
Forgive me for putting this “Halal Cuisine” first to relieve my homesickness. Xi’an has preserved most of the ancient Silk Road relics and absorbed the food style of the Silk Road. It has been on the tip of the Chinese people’s tongue for the development of generations. “Fangshangren” is a Xi’an area for the Hui people who believe in Islam. An affectionate title, Fangshang people, have been good at making snacks for generations. The craftsmanship passed down for thousands of years has wholly preserved the traditional halal food flavor, making Xi’an Huifang a paradise for all tourists and diners.
Pita Bread soaked in beef/lamp Soup, honey cold rice dumplings, eight treasures of sweet rice, mutton dumplings, yellow cinnamon persimmon cake, waxy beef and mutton, spicy soup, sesame biscuits, milk mash, and other hundreds of snacks. The ingredients are exquisite, sweet, salty, and spicy meat and vegetarian with. After being finely produced, it has become China’s halal snack of the crown. For thousands of years, the people on Hui Street have lived here. Dynasties have changed, and things have changed, but what remains unchanged is the unique taste. The culture of Hui Fang has continued for generations in this ancient capital of 13 dynasties and influenced Xi’an in the blending of cultures, making Xi’an’s rich history stained with the flavor of Islamic culture.
If you have a chance to come to Xi’an, you can spend Eid al-Fitr or Eid al-Fitr with the Hui people there. After the morning rituals with the Muslims to welcome the rising of the sun, then have a snack to make your day. If you ask an authentic Shaanxi, why do you have to eat at Fang Shang? Because here is the “old taste” attached to the environment and style.
One Thousand Nights
One Thousand Nights is the first authentic Arabian restaurant in Beijing. Once you enter the front door of the restaurant, you will feel the strong Arabian culture, the huge sand sculpture door consists of six huge arches, each door is set with a glass painting taken from the Arabian mythological story of the night. The crystal chandeliers and the Arabian trinkets placed in the corners will pull you away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Chef Hussan was recruited from the most famous Ali Baba restaurant in Syria, and he personally oversees every dish from selection, and ingredients to production. The whole lamb is slaughtered in the Muslim way, soaked in dozens of Arabian spices, then baked in the oven until 80% cooked, filled with Thai spices, green beans, pine seeds, etc., sealed, and baked in the oven again until cooked, and finally tasted the whole lamb with charred outside and tender inside, full of flavor and aroma. In addition, Hummus sauce with cedar cake, and hummus roasted pine nuts are also popular among diners, which will make you feel satisfied instantly.
The owner is from Jordan and the chef is from the United Arab Emirates. This restaurant serves Middle Eastern-inspired food along with a few fusion dishes on the menu.
A traditional staple around the Eastern Mediterranean that puffs up like a pocket after it’s baked. The pita is pretty much like Naan, which is the staple food in Xinjiang, China. It can be torn open, dipped in hummus or hot sauce, or filled with grilled meat and sautéed vegetables. The pastry is wheat-flavored and tasty. Except for the dryness, it’s still quite tasty.
Jordanian Grilled Chicken
Half a juicy grilled chicken with onions, peanuts, and pancakes that soak up the juices of the grilled chicken and onions and are very filling. The taste of grilled chicken is more original. Serve with steamed veggies, flavorful flatbread, and an excellent agave margarita that’s exactly middle eastern flavor!
Originally from the Levant, it was spread by Syrian and Lebanese immigrants and is very popular in Brazil. The traditional sfiha is stuffed with minced meat and can be made with onions, tomatoes, etc. It comes in a variety of shapes. Here, the Sfiha is stuffed with minced meat and cheese, and it looks similar to Turkish Pide or pizza, but the pastry is fluffy and has less cheese to customize.
The delicacies hidden in China are endless. In addition to a diverse diet, Chinese people pay more attention to the human touch. From the early morning, the smoke of fireworks permeates the streets and alleys, and the steaming food conveys the hospitality of the Chinese people. The food-oriented China will satisfy all your fantasies about food.
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