乾州食府 (科技路) in Xian, China

I just came back from a “business trip” from Xi’an, China and while I was there, I asked my staff to surprise me with some local delicacies … I was brought to a 乾州食府 on 科技路. The restaurant was semi-decent; it was definitely not the hole-in-wall type of restaurants, nor was it anything upscale. The restaurant sits comfortably in the middle of the spectrum I guess …

I had the locals do all the ordering … but after a full day of meeting, all I really wanted was the Hans Beer, which I believe is brewed locally. Apparently, Hans was acquired by Tsingtao but unfortunately, the quality didn’t quite transpire downstream. Hans was a bit lacking in flavour and was actually quite watery, but hey, I wasn’t expecting too much either. Whatever got me off my feet a little bit on an empty stomach would do. Speaking of beer though, my favorite beer in China other than Tsingtao is still Yanjing Beer (燕京啤酒) … but anyway …

Restaurant Hygiene in China

Restaurant Hygiene in China

After all these years living in China, I still find it funny how restaurant have to resort to having their plates and bowls sanitized by a third party vendor. But the truth is, I do feel better that my utensils are vacuum-wrapped, grease-free and free of residue from previous patrons … whether it really is bacteria-free, I don’t know … but this is good enough for me.

Shaanxi 锅盔

Shaanxi 锅盔

First up, a type of hard bread called 鍋盔 that you dip into some preserved veggies, meat, spice and herbs … I actually have no clue what’s inside the dip. The outer layer of the bread is supposed to be slightly crispy with the inside, a little bit soft. But the bread itself is probably the blandest (is there such a word?) of bread I’ve ever tasted. It really was tasteless. There’s quite a big Islamic community in Xi’an and I’m pretty sure that has got to be the influence behind this bread. But I don’t judge 🙂 I appreciate it for what it is …

Apparently, you can only get the dough and the water used for making the perfect 鍋盔 from some place, so most of these bread are pre-made and brought into the restaurants in bulks.

豆脑 or 豆腐脑 which roughly translate (literally) as Bean Curd Brain

豆脑 or 豆腐脑 which roughly translate (literally) as Bean Curd Brain

This dish is called the 豆腦 or 豆腐腦, which literally translate into “Bean Curd Brain” … haha, not exactly something you want associated with your food … but what it really is, is bean curd in half broth and half hot sauce (as you can probably tell from the photo). It wasn’t too spicy … and it was … well, nothing special. I have 豆腐花 all the time, but that’s the “sweet” version … I suppose you can do anything with bean curd.

This bean curd brain together with the bread you saw just now are consider 2 of 4 of Shaanxi’s “Treasures” (陝西四寶), the other two being 挂面 (gua mian) and 馇酥 (cha su). Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to try the last 2 of the “Treasures”.

Fried Flour Soup

Fried Flour Soup

So anyway … I thought that this brown soup … substance … thingy was sesame soup, which I would’ve been perfectly fine with. But I was told, after having a couple spoonful and slowly realizing it wasn’t made with sesame, that this is made from frying flour powder and mixing it with some soup … which I thought was totally weird and that was the end of it. I can’t really describe it either … and you know what that means? It taste like chicken. HAHAH … it was probably made from chicken stock …

It wasn’t bad … and I’ve had much much more weird stuff, but I wasn’t quite ready to waste my quota on fried flour, if you know what I mean. Oh, how difficult it is being a self-proclaimed food critic vs. maintaining my weight.

Braised Fatty Pork

Braised Fatty Pork

Umm, this was so so. I’m not even sure if this was a Xi’an dish. Looks Shanghainese to me and that version is much better.

Raddish with ... umm, some sort of eel

Raddish with ... umm, some sort of eel

This was some big wok of raddish and eel fried together with peppers, spring onion, onion and garlic. They had a burning flame underneath to keep it heated … wasn’t bad of a dish, but the eel was a bit weird. I’m guessing its some sort of freshwater eel, it has to be … given Xi’an’s proximity to salt water.

Garlic Fried Ribs

Garlic Fried Ribs

Neither was this a Xi’an delicacy … I don’t think. But I see fried ribs with garlic in all sorts of Chinese cuisine. This was one of the better dishes of the night. I had TWO of these ribs.

Grilled Chicken Bones (雞軟骨)

Grilled Chicken Bones (雞軟骨)

And finally, this was actually the best dish of the night … it was tender and it was actually spicy. If I’m not getting a kick from the taste, at least give me some thing to numb my tongue.

A disaster? Hmm, not really. I’m not going to just generalize Xi’an food from this one sitting. This was an definitely experience, nonetheless. Especially fried flour soup … who would’ve thought.

Siu Yeh Rating: 2/10
Photos taken with an iPhone

乾州食府 (科技路) Gan Shi Fu (Ke Ji Lu)
中国陕西省西安市雁塔区科技路甲26号
No. 26 Ke Ji Road, Xi’an
Shaanxi, China
Tel: +86 29 88228166

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5 Responses

  1. haha thank god i wasn’t there, i probably wouldn’t have eaten ANY of those dishes.

    i could always shed a few pounds! i’ll know where to go next time… 😛

  2. Never say never 🙂 It was definitely an experience. When are we meeting up next for dinner? I’m still full from Tequila.

  3. got a couple of places i want to try out … when you free?

  4. Next time you’re in Xi’an, you should check out the Bell Tower.

    Inside are two restaurants – one serves only dumplings, and they serve something like 100 types of dumplings.

    The other serves local Xi’an cuisine, but the big draw is a dish that I’ve only ever seen in Xi’an. They’ll give you an empty bowl, and a couple of pieces of the hard bread that you showed earlier. You take the hard bread and tear it up into tiny pieces – takes about twenty minutes. Once you’re done with that, they take the bowl with all the bread bits from you, and fill it up with this amazing lamb and noodle broth, then bring it back to you. It’s one of the best lamb dishes you’ll ever have, and it’s perfect for those Xi’an winters too. They also make something similar to those fried ribs you had but with lamb, and those are excellent as well.

    • Hey Krad,

      Thanks for the comment. I know which dumpling you’re talking about … is it called “De Fa Chang”? I went there as well, but haven’t had a chance to blog about it yet … but thanks also for the recommendation on the hard bread bit + lamb and noodle broth. Now THAT sounds good … 🙂 I’ll keep that in mind. I’ll probably need to visit Xi’an again soon … so I’ll check it out. And thanks for visiting!

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