adventures in the people's republic of china and beyond

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Xi'an for two: 40 kuai a day

You can eat very well on very little in China. I always thought "40 dollars a day" was a lot of money to be spending on just one person's food; here in Xi'an, a bustling city of over 8 million people, two can eat well on just 40 Chinese yuan a day(about 5 US dollars). But how?

Steaming hot buns and seaweed soup

Start off the day with one long(笼, basket) of baozi(包子, buns) and two bowls of zicaitang(紫菜汤, seaweed soup)- shouldn't cost more than 3 kuai altogether at most holes in the wall selling buns.

Biang Biang noodles

For lunch, have a delicious bowl of biang biang mian, a Shaanxi specialty famous for the complicated character used to write its name(see the photo for how to write it). Apart from the character, Biang Biang noodles are famous for their width, length, and bouncy texture. Some would consider this one of Shaanxi's eight great wonders (八大怪). 4 kuai a bowl in most places; that comes out to 8 kuai.

Cross the bridge noodles

Having spent a total of 11 kuai so far, treat yourself to a nice dinner for two. You could try cross-the-bridge noodles(过桥米线), a specialty from Yunnan province. You get a big bowl of rice noodles in a hot broth and lots of small dishes of meat and vegetables, which are instantly cooked once you put them in the broth. The amount of dishes you get depends on how much you pay - the ones in the photo are only 10 kuai per set(the one for 40 kuai comes with literally dozens of dishes!)

Bingzhou - "ice porridge"

With 9 kuai left, you have just about enough to cool off with two bowls of bingzhou(冰粥), also called bingshan(冰山) - a treat of shaved ice, fruit syrup, and lots of assorted fruits and berries(5 kuai per bowl). You can usually find this treat in any one of the many bakeries around town - 好利来(Holiland) and 米旗(Maky Bakery) come to mind as the most common chains.

And there you have it - a day's meal for two on just 40 kuai(5 dollars). Enjoy!

Hi Pravit!
It looks delicious!
Looking forward to seeing you and the various gourmet places we are going to visit!
Looking forward to our Chinese adventure!
Best personal regards


Hi Pravit,
You surely beat Rachale Ray on this one! Pictures look great that you almost can taste them. I'm surprised that you still can find the full Chinese writing on Biang Biang noodles. wonder what it means, I'll look it up!
Much love, MOM


Hi Pravit,

I already am hungry looking at those delicious entrees!

May be me & mom will visit China on our next vacation trip to Thailand!

Love, alwaus...


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