Xi’an Famous Foods is not glamorous. It’s not somewhere to go for a meeting. It’s not somewhere to take your grandparents when they’re visiting. But it is where you should spend your lunch break.
Tuck your napkin in your top, remove your glasses, tie your hair up, hold your chopsticks in one hand, iced tea in another, and start slurping. A bowl of Xi’an’s noodles, eaten in solitude, is one of New York’s top experiences.
Order the lamb cumin noodles and get the smashed-cucumber salad on the side. Don’t question this decision. The hand-pulled noodles are chewy, thick, stretchy and so satisfying. Served with slow-cooked lamb, a powerful dose of cumin, a spiced broth or dressing (depending if you get them in soup or not) and topped with fresh cilantro, this meal isn’t for the faint-hearted. The cucumber will help with the heat and add another bolt of umami-rich flavor.
Don’t wear a white shirt and don’t ask for it to be extra spicy unless you’re on a suicide mission. Do revel in this New York famous meal, whose addictive flavours and textures will have you coming back for more.
Photo: Hannah Hoskins.