Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province, has secured a place among the most popular destinations during both the Spring Festival and Labour Day holidays, according to reports from online travel service company Trip.com.

The ancient capital has become an internet sensation for its enchanting appeal. While its historical and cultural landmarks awe visitors, it is the varied, mouthwatering selection of snacks that truly captivates their hearts.

As a result of its strategic location along the Silk Road, Xi’an is a melting pot of culinary influences from far and wide, and its history of growing wheat has led to the creation of an array of flour-based dishes, with noodles taking centre stage.

From the iconic biangbiang noodles to the tantalising oil-splashed noodles, Xi’an’s noodle scene is a delightful journey through flavours and textures.

Biangbiang noodles are named for the “biang-ing” sound the noodles are said to make when they are beaten on the table as they are being formed. Quirkily, the Chinese character for biang is one of the most complex and intriguing in the language, as it is composed of 42 strokes.

While the appeal of biangbiang noodles is that they are wide and hand-pulled, their tantalising toppings are also a highlight. They are typically garnished with a medley of savoury ingredients, including spicy chili oil, aromatic garlic, fragrant vinegar and a variety of fresh vegetables. This combination of flavours and textures results in a harmonious symphony that aficionados say delights the senses.

The equally renowned oil-splashed noodle is not just a culinary delight, but also a visual and auditory feast to boot. The dish is finished by pouring a generous drizzle of scorching hot oil over a combination of chopped scallions, fragrant Sichuan peppercorns and a secret blend of spicy chili powder.

As the oil meets the ingredients, a magnificent spectacle unfolds, bubbling and sizzling energetically, and the bowl brims with a vibrant shade of red.

Another iconic snack, roujiamo, is often referred to as the “Chinese hamburger”. This sandwich-like delight has a lengthy history dating back approximately 2,400 years. Yangrou paomo, or flatbread soaked in lamb soup, is another signature Xi’an dish.

Shaanxi huamo (or flower bread) is particularly popular in Xi’an and is listed as a national intangible cultural heritage. With its vibrant colours and variety of shapes, huamo captivates the eye with its dynamic and exaggerated forms. Depicting birds, animals, flowers, insects, historical figures and folk legends, each round of bread is an artistic masterpiece.

According to Bai Rong, an inheritor of Yanliang-style flower bread who comes from Xi’an’s Yanliang district, huamo is an expression of ancestral worship, a way of sending blessings to elders and an embodiment of aspirations for a better life.

Bai said that in addition to flour, huamo is made using beans, dates, rice and pepper and not only tantalises the taste buds, but also has remarkable visual appeal.

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