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★ Taste of Xi’an

Xi’an has some popular snacks you can try that differ from those from other cities. Maybe it is history of Xi’an of being a Silk Road terminus or the presence of Muslims, but the snacks seem more familiar to Westerners than snacks further south. Popular snacks are Roujiamo, Xian Kabobs, Mutton Paomo, Guan Tang Baozi (Juicy Bun), quick noodle dishes, Muslim fruitcakes, honey cakes, and dried fruit.

• See must-taste Chinese foods as follows

Dumpling in Sour Soup

With a history of over 1000 years, the Dumpling in Sour Soup properly deserves the name as an ancient flavor snack. Mutton dumplings are placed in a special sour soup before giving to the customers, and therefore, it gets the name. The name reflects its distinctive feature — sour taste.

Sour soup boasts for its wide range of ingredients with a variety of over 13 kinds. The most common ones are sweet vinegar, dried shrimps, cooked sesame, chicken oil and butter, just to name only a few. Mixing Vinegar (adding 30% water) with star anise, fennel, and cloves is a necessary process to cook sweet vinegar. And when the ingredients boiled, put sweet vinegar (sugar and vinegar as the proportion of 50:1) into the soup. 30 minutes later, this dish will be well prepared.

You can visit Dengjia Restaurant, a ten-year-old restaurant located in Fen Lane, to eat Dumpling in Sour Soup.

Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup

Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup is the unique local snack founded in Xi’an, with its history dating back to the 11th century BC. It is well cooked with rich ingredients so as to form a pleasant flavor, thick soup and overflowing smell. Moreover, it offers a persistent aftertaste with rich nutrition.

With functions of hungry-resistance and comforting stomach, Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup has been deeply loved by people from Xi’an and other places for a long time.

Adding high-quality beef and with ingredients into the pan, we should reserve the soup after a long time cooking. Baked pancakes have to be split into small pieces and then continue to be cooked in the soup. Finishing the dish, a small bowl of soup will make your mouth feel an exceptional fragrance. After eating it, the pleasant aftertaste will make you feel refreshed and you will definitely want another one. To enjoy the Pita Bread Soaked in Lamb Soup, you can visit the famous Lao Sun Jia restaurant (with a history of over a hundred years) and the Li Ming restaurant.


Taihou Cake

The cake is a famous snack in a county of Shaanxi Province, Fuping County. Today, it is one of the popular snacks in the whole province of course including Xi’an City. With an appropriate salty taste, the cake has golden external surface with crisp mouth feel and soft core with a great fragrance. The history of the cake can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (202 BC–220 AD), more than 2,000 years ago because the Queen Mother Bo (the mother of Emperor Wendi of the Han Dynasty) liked the cake very much, the cake was given a name, Taihou Cake (Taihou is a Chinese name of Queen Mother). Eating the cake with sugar garlic will have a better taste.

Fan Family Braised Pork

Fan Family braised pork is made with fresh pork, after stewed with more than 10 condiments (packaged in a bag). The braised pork with some juice is contained between steamed bread. Fan Family braised pork is delicious without greasiness but with soft mouth feel and aromatic fragrance.

Roujiamo: Finely Chopped Pork Stuffed in Baked Pancake

Roujiamo is mainly dominated by two categories in two regions. One is bacon stuffed in baked pancake which is popular in Shaanxi region, and the other one is with mutton stuffing commonly in Ningxia region.

Bacon and baked pancake combined properly together to form the famous Roujiamo with wonderful flavors. Fluffy bacon plus fragrant baked pancake, with a long and pleasant aftertaste, will satisfy your stomach and eyes. This dish was awarded as the excellent dish in 1989 by the "Golden Tripod Prize"(an award promoted by the Ministry of Commerce to select high-quality foods).

Due to the complexity and specialization of the ingredients (over 30 categories) and the cooking method, the bacon has red color, fragrant smell, and unique flavor. Earning the reputation as “Chinese hamburger “, Roujiamo is deeply loved by people both at home and abroad.

Tips: Do not drink too much tea after eating pork

Xian Kabobs

They are much like Western kabobs and are like the common food in the west. Various kinds of meat are skewered and cooked over fire, and spices and sauces are added. The common vegetables like bell pepper can be placed in between.

Guan Tang Baozi

These are packets of meat and vegetables and spices that are placed on flat tortilla-like pieces of bread and cooked. Baozi is a kind of favorite food all over China.


Shi Zi Bing

These are buns that are made from persimmons. Persimmons are a common and very tasty fruit that is eaten in China. If you haven’t had a persimmon, the fruit itself may be a new favorite snack for you. Shi Zi Bing are stuffed with fillings such as bean paste or sesame paste and then fried. They are sticky and sweet. In the Muslim Quarter, each one costs about 1 RMB.

Biang Biang Mian

If you want to try a bowl of noodles, this is a local specialty that is made with wide noodles and served with toppings of eggs, tomatoes, and beef.


In the Muslim Quarter and on many city streets, there are Muslims selling their very thick and nutty fruitcakes. These cakes may be a foot thick,very big and highly decorated. Good fruitcakes can taste very good.

Dried Fruits and Nuts

In the Muslim Quarter of the city that is close to the Drum Tower, a lot of shops and people with carts on the streets sell dried fruit like raisins and dates, different kinds of seeds like sunflower seeds, walnuts, peanuts and etc. These are readily available natural snacks. However, be careful about the cleanliness of the fruits and nuts. One way to make sure that the natural food is good to eat is to drop them in boiling water or rinse them in boiling water.

Feng Mi Zong Zi

If you love honey, Feng Mi (honey) Zong Zi is a regional snack for you. Honey is mixed with glutinous rice. It is popular in the summer because it is sweet and often served cold.



Attractions of Xi’an

The Terracotta Army

The Terracotta Army is one of the top attractions in China, because of its historical significance and uniqueness. It is significant because the hundreds of detailed lifesize models represent the army that triumphed over all other Chinese armies and who were the decisive factor in forming a united China.

The Terracotta Army Museum lies 2 km east of The Tomb of Qin Shihuang, known as the First Emperor, who unified China 2,200 years ago. Emperor Qin, from whom China gets its name, ordered the creation of this model army.

Why Were the Terracotta Warriors Made?

The army of terracotta statues was made to be buried with First Emperor Qin Shihuang:

as a show of his glory, to remember the army that triumphed over the other Warring States to unite Chin and because it was believed that objects like statues can be animated in the afterlife. Also, because Qin Shihuang required an after-death army. Although the Terracotta Army has not been animated, they serve their first two purposes very well which is standing on show, defying time, a majestic reminder of Emperor Qin’s military success, and the wars of long ago.



The Terracotta Army figures’ excavation is regarded as one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century. It had laid underground for more than 2000 years before farmers digging a well in 1974 uncovered what is now considered one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world.

The first part of the Terracotta Army site to be discovered was named Vault One. In 1976, two other vaults were uncovered 20-25 meters away, and were named Vault Two and Vault Three.

The tomb is a treasury for the Chinese people and for the whole world. In December 1987, UNESCO selected the Tomb of the First Emperor (including the Terracotta Army Vaults) as a World Cultural Heritage Site.

Incredible detail

Thousands of life-size, vivid terracotta warriors in battle formation were revealed in the course of excavation of the earth and timber vaults - a whole army which would accompany its emperor into immortality. The sight transports you back to the ancient warring states period.

The horsemen, the longbow bearers, the archers, and the senior officers and generals were positioned in a grand ancient army formation, in strict accordance with the ancient directives on the Art of War.

Every figure differs in facial features and expression, clothing, hairstyle, and gestures, providing abundant and detailed artifacts for the study of the military, cultural, and economic history of that period.

Many of the figures originally held real weapons of the time, such as bronze swords, longbows, arrows, spears, dagger-axes, and other long-shafted weapons. The weapons were treated to make them resistant to rust and corrosion, so that even after being buried for over 2,000 years they were still sharp.

Ancient City Wall


The first landmark visitors will encounter in Xi'an is the ancient city wall, which stretches around the old city. The northern side runs parallel to the railway. Xi'an was originally a walled city, and even today the wall is considered a landmark dividing the city into the inner part and the outer part. The city wall is massive - tall, long and thick. The South Gate and North Gate are the two main entrances to the inner city. The city itself is neatly arranged along the city wall.


Xi'an City Wall was erected in the 14th century Ming Dynasty, under the regime of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. When Zhu Yuanzhang captured Huizhou, long before the establishment of the Ming Dynasty, he was admonished by a hermit named Zhu Sheng, who told him to "build high walls, store abundant provisions and take your time in proclaiming yourself emperor." This advice Zhu Yuanzhang heeded. Once the whole country was unified, he sent orders to the local governments to build city walls on a large scale. Zhu assured that "out of all the mountains and rivers in the world, the area of Central Qin is the most strongly fortified and strategically impregnable." The current city wall is an enhancement of the old Tang Dynasty structure, as a result of the emperor's wall building campaign.

The Structure of the City Wall

The first city wall of Xi'an was built of earth, rammed layer upon layer. The base layer was made of earth, quick lime, and glutinous rice extract, tamped together. It made the wall extremely strong and firm. Later, the wall was totally enclosed with bricks. A moat, wide and deep, ran around the city. Over the moat, there used to be a huge drawbridge, which would cut off the way in and out of the city, once lifted.

Xi'an's city wall, after its enlargement in the Ming Dynasty, stands 12 meters high. It is 12-14 meters across the top, 15-18 meters thick at bottom, and 13.7 kilometers in length. There is a rampart every 120 meters. The ramparts are towers that extend out from the main wall. The ramparts were built to allow soldiers to see enemies trying to climb the wall. The distance between the ramparts is within the range of arrows fired from either side. This allowed soldiers to protect the entire wall without exposing themselves to the enemy. There are altogether 98 ramparts; each has a sentry building on top of it.

The Gates

The gates of the city wall were the only way to go into and out of town. Therefore, these gates were important strategic points which the feudal rulers racked their brains to try to defend. In Xian’s case, the north, south, east and west gates, each consisted of three towers: the gate tower, which holds the drawbridge, the narrow tower and the main tower. The gate tower stands proud of the wall. It is used to lift and lower the drawbridge. The narrow tower is in the middle. Its inner walls have square windows to shoot arrows from. The main tower is the innermost one and forms the entrance to the city.


The narrow tower and the main tower are connected by tunnels, in which soldiers could be stationed. From the tunnels there are also horse passages leading to the top of the wall. There are gradually ascending steps which were made so that it was easier for war horses to ascend and descend. There are altogether 11 horse passages around the city.


Watch Towers

A watch tower is located on each of the four corners of the wall. The one at the southwestern corner is round, probably after the model of the imperial city wall of the Tang Dynasty, but the other three are square-shaped. On top of the watch towers there is a corner rampart, higher and larger than the ordinary ramparts. This shows the strategic importance of the corners of the city wall in war times.


Along the outer crest of the city wall there are crenellations or battlements. Under each of the 5,984 crenels there is a square hole, from which arrows were shot and watch was kept. The lower, inner walls are called parapets. They were used to prevent soldiers from falling off the wall, when traveling back and forth.

Make sure you bring something to drink, especially on hot days.
You will have another interesting experience by biking on the City Wall or explore it at night before 20:00. The rental fee is about RMB 40 RMB 1.5 hours per bicycle.

Some bicycle drivers on the city wall which will charge a higher price than usual. Ask you guide.

It is cheaper to rent a bike at the foot of city wall.


Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Situated in Da Ci'En (Great Kindness and Grace) Temple, about four kilometers from the urban center, Big Wild Goose Pagoda is one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in China. The Pagoda was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) for the study of Buddhist scriptures. It has been attacked by centuries of weather, war and seismic activity which destroyed most of the original material of the structure. A pagoda by this name and style still exists on the site.

A pagoda was built on the site in 589 A.D. in the Sui Dynasty. It was called Wu Lou (Five Story) Temple. It was not until 648 A.D. that Li Zhi, then still a crown prince, sponsored a renovation project on the temple in memory of his mother's kindness after she suffered an early death. The temple then assumed the present name: Temple of Kindness and Grace. When Li Zhi became the Tang Emperor Gaozong, he was said to pay homage to his mother twice a day by looking towards the temple from Hanyuan Palace, which was built in 663.

The temple once had 13 separate courtyards and contained 1,879 magnificent-looking rooms. It was a place of grand dimensions in the Tang Dynasty. However, it went into gradual decay after the dynasty's downfall. The halls and rooms that have survived to this day are structures that were built in the Ming Dynasty. The Tang regime gave orders to build a chamber for the translation of Buddhist scriptures in an effort to have the then widely renowned Master Xuanzang agree to be the head of the temple. Xuanzang was a Buddhist monk who travelled to India, translated Sanskrit scriptures and developed theories of consciousness, karma and rebirth that were adopted by some later popular schools of Buddhism.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda was finished in 652 A.D. Its five stories were 60 meters in height. The decay of the earth-cored pagoda made necessary the new construction of a new 10-story pagoda from 701 to 704 A.D. However, the winds of war in the years to come, not to mention a massive earthquake in 1556, reduced the pagoda almost to ruins  which in turn resulted in the construction of a 7-story, 64 meter-tall structure in the later Ming Dynasty, which still stands today.

The storied pagoda is an architectural marvel. It was built with layers of bricks without any cement. The bracket style used in traditional Chinese architecture was also used in the construction of the pagoda. The seams between each layer of bricks and the " prisms' on each side of the pagoda are clearly visible. The grand body of the pagoda with its solemn appearance, simple style and high structure, is indeed a good example of Chinese traditional architecture.


Music Fountain at Bid Wild Goose Pagoda Square

Address: North Square of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Time: Every 12:00 and 20:00 from Monday to Saturday; 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00 and 21:00 in weekends; and no show from November to January in the next year.

Covering about 110,000 square meters, the music fountain in the North Square of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is the biggest one in Asia. The Fountain and Music Show has the most benches, the longest light-belt, and the largest-scale acoustic complex in the world.

Generally, the fountain contains 1360 sets of pumps, 1124 sets of transducers, 3300 sets of lampion and more than 2,000 sets of nozzles in all. Also, it is equipped with a high technological lighting system as well as professional audio systems.

What is most amazing is that the sound, the light, the water and the color of the fountain are harmoniously combined.

Bell Tower

Standing at the crossing of the East, West, South, and North avenues in city proper, the Bell Tower is a symbol of Xi'an.

The tower was originally built in 1348, toward the end of the Yuan Dynasty, and was moved to the present site in 1552, during the Ming Dynasty. It was rebuilt and enlarged during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

There used to be a huge iron bell hung in the tower, which was used to strike the hours. After the bell fell from its operating position it was placed on the northwest corner of base.

The bell tower is a wooden structure topped with dark green tiles. It is a grand ancient building with traditional Chinese architectural features. The Bell Tower is beautifully lit at night.

From the top the Bell Tower, visitors can get a bird's eye view of the surrounding areas and the building's brightly-decorated eaves.

Shaanxi History Museum

Located to the northwest of Big Wild Goose Pagoda, in the southern suburbs of Xi’an city, Shaanxi Provincial Museum is a tribute to Shaanxi's glamorous imperial past. The museum building was designed in China's grand and elegant ancient Tang Dynasty (618-907) style.

Shaanxi was an important province in China's imperial past. Xi’an served as the capital of China for 10 dynasties over 1,100 years, from 221 BC to 904 AD. It was the seat of China’s first imperial civilization. Xi’an, a place of great significance in Chinese history is well-endowed with historical sites and relics. Now most of these relics, once scattered around the region, have found their way to Shaanxi Provincial Museum. The building covers an area of over 70,000 square meters and houses more than 37,000 historical relics excavated from all over Shaanxi Province. The collection includes bronze ware from the Western Zhou Dynasty, 3,000 years ago, terracotta figures, gold and silver ware and murals discovered in Tang tombs.

The main part of the museum is composed of three sections: the General Exhibition Hall, the Local Themes Exhibition Hall and the Temporary Exhibition Hall. If you are interested in Chinese culture, there is the option of seeing a tomb murals exhibition for an extra 150 yuan.

Shanxi was a premier in China's imperial past. Xi’an served as the capital of 12 dynasties over the years. It was the seat of some oldest civilization. Xi’an, a place of significant importance in history is well-endowed with many historical sites and relics. Now most of these relics scattering around everywhere in the region have found their way in the Shanxi Provincial Museum. The building covers an area of over 70,000 square meters and houses more than 37,000 historical relics evacuated around Shanxi area, including Bronze wares from the Western Zhou Dynasty, three thousand years ago, terra cotta figures, gold and silver wares and murals discovered in Tang tombs  and much more.

The exhibit, which is the main part of the museum, is composed of three sections: the Basic Exhibition Hall, the Theme Exhibition Hall and the Temporary Exhibition Hall.


Xi'an Great Mosque


The Great Mosque, located at 30 Huajue (Change Feeling) Lane in the center of the city, is the largest and one of the most important Islamic places of worship in China.


It's construction started in 742 AD, the first year of the Tianbao Era of Emperor Xuanrong's reign in the Tang Dynasty, and additions were made during the Song (960-1279), Yuan (1271-1638), Ming (1368-1644), and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, which makes it an ancient architectural complex representative of many periods of time.


In the Tang dynasty, Islam was introduced to China by the Arabian merchants. Many Muslims settled in China and married Han people. The Great Mosque was constructed at that time to honor the founders of Islam in China. Since then many other mosques have been erected across the county.

Covering an area of 6,000 square meters, the whole complex can be divided into four courtyards. In the first courtyard, there is a wooden arch. The arch is nine meters high, with glaze-covered tiles  and can be traced back to the seventeenth century. Three chambers stand on either side of the arch, which is now displayed with some furniture preserved from the Ming and Qing dynasties. In the center of the second yard stands a stone arch with two steles on both sides. On the steles are famous calligraphic writings from prominent ancient calligraphers. The fourth courtyard contains a big prayer hall which can accommodate over a thousand people.

The mosque is a combination of traditional Chinese architecture and Islamic art. In Chinese style, there are a series of pavilions, with the four courtyards of the mosque between them. The wall, however, is decorated with Islamic art.

It is the only mosque in the country that is open to visitors. However, non-Muslim visitors are not allowed to enter the main prayer hall. The Great Mosque was added to the UNESCO Islamic Heritage List in 1985.

Xi'an Nightlife

Nightlife in Xi'an is varied and colorful, and it is vibrant enough to satisfy a whole range of taste and tempos, catering for both young and old. It tells the world how the site of an ancient civilization can blend well with new culture.

Places such as night clubs, karaoke, discos, bars and cafes are all good places for you to get yourself a relaxation. You can sing and dance, which will take tiredness away. In a word, you will be captivated by the various entertainment activities in Xi'an.

Fountain and Music Show
Address: North Square of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Time: Every 12:00 and 20:00 from Monday to Saturday; 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00 and 21:00 in weekends; and no show from November to January in the next year.

Covering about 110,000 square meters, the music fountain in the North Square of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is the biggest one in Asia. The Fountain and Music Show has the most benches, the longest light-belt, and the largest-scale acoustic complex in the world.

Generally, the fountain contains 1360 sets of pumps, 1124 sets of transducers, 3300 sets of lampion and more than 2,000 sets of nozzles in all. Also, it is equipped with a high technological lighting system as well as professional audio systems.

What is most amazing is that the sound, the light, the water and the color of the fountain are harmoniously combined.


Tang Dynasty Show

The Tang Dynasty Show offers you the chance to experience a traditional Chinese evening. The Tang Dynasty is regarded as the most progressive and prosperous era in the days of Imperial China and its music and dance symbolize the glory and beauty of Chinese civilization. Visitors can watch the shows in Tangyue Palace, located in Chang'an Bei Road, Shaanxi Song and Dance Theater in Wenyi Bei Road and the Tang Paradise  in Furong Road, Yanta District.

There are over 100 artists for a performance with a colorful spectacle of traditional music and dance routines.

Location: Shaanxi Provincial Song and Dance Troupe, NO.165, Wenyi Road North, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province.



From Xi'an Xianyang International Airport to Shaanxi Song and Dance Troupe by Bus NO.40. From Xi'an Train Station to Shaanxi Song and Dance Troupe by Subway Route 2.

Ticket Pricing: 238CNY / Person (Dumpling dinner not included, dumpling dinner for 100CNY / Person).
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