Xi’an Muslim Quarter: the Best Place for Xian Local Food and Authentic Life Experience

Muslim Quarter in Xian, aka Muslim Street, is a famous Muslim community with a population of about 300 thousand Muslims. Located behind the Drum Tower in the center of Xian, it’s also a well-known food street in Xi’an. Since the end of the 1990s, some Muslims began to sell their food there, and later the place has been full of restaurants gradually. The Muslim Quarter consists of multiple streets, including North Guangji Street, Beiyuanmen, Xiyangshi, Dapiyuan, Huajue Lane, and Sajinqiao.

Xian Muslim Quarter
Muslim Qaurter

Quick Facts about Muslim Quarter in Xian

  • Type: Food street, Muslim cultural quarter
  • History: Since the late 1990s
  • Religion: Islam
  • Food Style: Northwestern food in China, Halal food
  • Opening hours: all-day
  • Tickets: free
  • Time Needed: within 5 hours
  • Best Seasons: All seasons
  • Recommended for: food lovers
  • Location: the center of Xi’an downtown

What to See & Do in Xi’an Muslim Quarter

See Many Unique Muslim Buildings

This quarter is pretty exotic in Xi’an, as the buildings there are in Islamic style. However, it may differ from what you see in other countries, combined with the traditional Chinese architectural style. This makes the buildings quite distinctive to see. In addition to Muslim restaurants and snack bars, these buildings are the folk houses and shops of Hui ethnic costumes, handicrafts, etc.

Admire the Xian Great Mosque

In the Muslim Street, there are also 10 large and small mosque built in different times, e.g. Great Mosque on Haujue Lane. The Great Mosque is one of the two oldest mosques in Xi’an. It was firstly constructed in the middle period of Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), and was repaired and expanded for several times in later dynasties. The architecture there was in traditional Chinese style, with the roofs were titled with glazed tiles, and most of the tiles are black. This is a masterpiece of ancient architecture, combined with Islamic style. If you are a Muslim, this is a must see in the Muslim Street.

Savor Popular Muslim Dishes & Cuisines

What to do in Muslim Street? That’s to eat definitely! You can taste almost all the snacks in Xi’an, including kebabs, steamed buns, spicy lamb trotters, Mutton and Bread Pieces in Soup, lamb in basin, fried rice with sauerkraut, cured beef and lamb, cold rice noodles, and lamb patties. After feeding yourselves up, you can also buy some local pastries, candied fruit and other snacks as souvenirs or gifts for relatives and friends. Below are some typical Xian street food you should try when wandering around this area:

  • Crumbled Flatbread in Mutton Soup (羊肉泡馍): Speaking of Xi’an food, Crumbled Flatbread in Mutton Soup is the most famous dish. As the mutton pieces and small baked bread pieces are soaked in the thick mutton soup, it is delicious, in particular, in winter. If you like beef, the bread pieces can also be soaked in beef soup with beef pieces. The best restaurants for this dish are on North Guangji Street, including Lao Mi Jia and Lao Liu Jia.
  • Cold Rice Noodles with Sesame Paste (麻酱凉皮): Liangpi, aka cold rice noodles, is one of specialty snacks in Shaanxi. It is refreshing and is rich in nutrients. The Liangpi with sesame paste is in a halal way, and it is common in Muslim Street. It is characterized by a large amount of sesame paste. Sheng Zhi Wang is the recommended restaurant at the T-junction of North Guangji Street and Dapiyuan.
  • Soup Dumplings(灌汤包): Although it is called as soup dumplings, it’s a kind of steamed buns indeed. The thin wrappers are made of fine powder, and the stuffing are made of rib meat with fresh bone soup is also added. Just take a little bite, the soup would flow out which is oily but not greasy. Jia San Soup Bao is the best restaurant with a unique flavor in Muslim Quarter. One of its branch is on Beiyuanmen just behind the Drum Tower; the other is on Xiyangshi, which is near the crossroad of Xiyangshi and North Guangji Street.
  • Beef Balls Spicy Soup (肉丸胡辣汤): Beef balls spicy soup is a distinctive halal food in Xi’an. It is one of the most popular breakfasts for people in Xi’an; of course, it is also served for lunch and dinner. It is like a stewed dish with vegetables and beef balls, and the soup is very thick. The vegetables include sliced potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, fungus, day lily, and white gourd. Lao Liu Jia Yi Wei Xiang on Dapiyuan and Ma Er Li on Sajinqiao are the recommended restaurants to try.
  • Rice and Jujube Cake (甑糕): Rice and Jujube Cake is also called as Zeng cake in Chinese. It is a characteristic snack in Xi’an with a long history. The deep cauldron to steam the cakes was called Zeng in ancient times, hence the name. This dessert snack is sticky and sweet, being steamed of glutinous rice, kidney beans and red dates. The restaurant of Southeast Asian Zeng Cake at the northeast corner of the cross of North Guangji Street and Xiyangshi is recommended.
Xian Muslim Quarter
Delicious lamb kebabs

Recommended Xian tours including the Muslim Street:

History of the Muslim Quarter

Muslim Quarter was a part of the imperial city in the Tang Dynasty. At that time, the Huihe Tribe helped the general Guo Ziyi quell the An Lushan Rebellion. When Guo Ziyi returned to the capital Chang’an (Xi’an today), more than 200 Huihe generals and entourages went to the city with him. They lived in this quarter, learning the laws of the Tang Dynasty and the culture of the Han people. The entire quarter expanded to become the Hui community of Xi’an gradually.

It is also said that it used to be the settlement of foreign envoys and merchants who came to Chang’an for business, and most of the people there now are the descendants of these ancient immigrants. During the later dynasties in ancient time, the government had been all situated in this quarter or its surroundings. In 1900, the Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxu fled to Xi’an, and tributes and slivers from various provinces gathered here. The old-style banks emerged and flourished there for a while. In the end of 1990s, the Muslims intended to live on selling special food, since then the food streets thrived and became famous.

How to get to the Muslim Quarter?

You can take the city bus 15, 32, 43, 45, 201, 215, 218, 221, 222, 251, 252, 286, 300, 604, 611, 612, 618, 622, or Tourist Bus Line 8/610 to the Zhonglouxi (Bell Tower West) stop, which is just in front of the Drum Tower. Walk towards the Drum Tower and pass it, you would reach the Muslim Quarter.

Travel Tips

  • This is a Muslims community. Please respect Muslim customs during your visit. For example, don’t get intothe halal restaurant with non-halal food, especially those made of pork; and don’t wear shorts and short skirts when you go to a
  • There would be crowded during Chinese holidays, such as Chinese New Year and National Day. In such a case, you may need to queue up to dinner there.
  • Some portion of the dishes in the restaurants of this area is in quite large amount. It is recommended to choose small portions when ordering, so that you can try more types of snacks as well.
  • You can choose a Xian hotel near Muslim Quarter, which is also adjacent to iconic landmarks such as the Bell Tower & Drum Tower, the ancient City Wall, and enjoy a night walking tour at the quarter to see the lively nightlife of Xi’an.
  • Please try to bargain when buying handicrafts or tourist souvenirs. The labeled price is usually higher than exhaust price.

Nearby Attractions

  • Drum Tower & Bell Tower: two iconic landmarks standing in the center of Xi’an; both of these two towers are built in the Ming Dynasty and offer the vista view of the city from the upper floors.
  • Xian Forest of Stone Steles Museum: a museum housing a collection of stone steles, sculptures, calligraphy, and paintings of different dynasties.

Customize Your Unique Xi’an Tour

Want to explore the historical and cultural wonders of Xian in your style with all comfort? We are here to help you. As an experienced travel agency based in Xi’an, we have over 20 years of experience in organizing Xi’an tours. We offer a wide range of Xi’an private tours, including tours of different durations, classic highlights tours and in-depth explorations, to allow you a culture immersion at your own pace. Or, you can contact our expert team to tailor-make your unique Xian adventure completely based on your preferences, budget and requirements.