The Muslim Quarter, or Huimin Jie Chinese, is the hub of the Muslim community in Xi'an. Located to the north of the West Street in the city center, theMuslim Quarter occupies quite a few blocks inhabitated by over 20,000 Muslims. About ten mosques are located on this Muslim Street, among which the Great Mosque in Huajue Lane is the most famous and popular one.
Muslim food and souvenir market gained its fame of the Muslim Quarter. Beiyuanmen Muslim Market is just to the north of the Drum Tower, it is a great choice after the sightseeing in the city center. About 500 meters (about 547 yards) in length from south to north, the street can be reached through the archway under the Drum Tower. This street is paved with dark colored stone with green trees providing heavy shade during summer; the buildings on both sides of the street are modeled on the styles of both the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing Dynasties (1644-1911). Some of the constructions are restaurants; while others are stores.
Beiyuanmen Muslim Street enjoys a long history. In old days, foreign diplomatic envoys and merchants lived here and then they married and had children, so gradually the population increased. Nowadays, most of the inhabitants here are the descendants of those immigrants. The Muslims here are pious and devout followers of Islam, which maintains its own culture and traditions even in modern society.
Walking along this twisted, narrow street with stores aligned on both sides, you can see t Muslim men wearing white hats sit inside the stores and talk leisurely with each other. In front of the doors of some stores, senior citizens with white beards be seated on the cane chairs enjoying the tender touch of the sun and having fun with the kids running on the street. Some stores offer authentic hand-making Muslim food, while other small stores sell local products and exquisite souvenirs.
It is said that once you have been to the Beiyuanmen Muslim Food Street, you won't feel regretted for the snacks of Xi'an. Crumbled Unleavened Bread in Mutton Stew (Yang Rou Pao Mo) is a very distinctive snack of Xi'an, and is extremely delicious. Fried rice with pickled Chinese cabbage and little capsicum is extremely savoury. And it is a real enjoyment for you to eat it on a hot summer's day. Roast beef, mutton or lamb is another snack that can make your mouth watery. After broiling on a charcoal fire with some flavorings on the meat, it is ready for you to enjoy. While the most famous snack on this street is the steamed stuffed bun of Jiasan. The main ingredients of the steamed stuffed bun here are beef or mutton mixed with the soup decocted from the bones of sheep or cattle.
There are also fruit pies made with persimmon here which are considered as the unique refreshment in Xi'an. These pies take the bright red, glittering and translucent persimmons from the Lintong District of Xi'an City, Shaanxi Province as the basic ingredients. When making the pies, firstly people will get rid of the skin of the persimmons, pounding the flesh, mixing it with flour, then putting the sweet-scented osmanthus and white sugar inside as the stuffing, then frying them in oil until they are cooked. When eating them, you will feel savory, sweet and soft.