23 September 2012

Xian Kitchen ~ Chinese - Dixon House Food Court, Chinatown [CLOSED]

We find it utterly, stupendously, incomprehensibly wonderful that we can find so many regional Chinese cuisines in our fair city of Sydney. We'd never even heard about Xi'an food until we'd digested it in Chinatown. Now we're obsessed with it.

[CLOSED - AUGUST 2013]

To the folks that ran this stall - man we loved loved loved your food - we will miss you!


Lately we've been revisiting the most excellent Xi'an Cuisine around the corner from Dixon House, opposite the Entertainment Centre. We've really got a taste for that north-western, noodley cuisine. So we're super happy to see another Xi'an joint open in Dixon House Food Court.

Noodles are the order of the day at Xi'an Kitchen: you can get them steamed, fried, ripped, handmade or swimming in soup. You can get them made of rice, wheat, egg, potato or even pancake.

In our bloated opinion the standout dish is the regional speciality, Xi'an Pi Cold Noodles. These are amazing, and only five freakin dollars eighty.  Our other favourites are the stir fried chopped pancake, spinach dumplings and a top notch pork and shallot pancake.

Xi'an Kitchen joint is run by a friendly bunch of folks, the younger folks speak more English than the older ones. If in doubt, just point at the picture menu and smile.



On our first visit we ask the boss man what the best dish is. He wisely suggests Xian Pi - cold rice noodle with spicy oil - $5.80 - "very famous in China". This is amazing. Handmade noodles served cool with a slightly warm, very garlic-y, oily dressing. The dressing has little specs of chili in it, but somehow the flavour reminds us of pesto, mysteriously freaking delicious. Highly recommended. For more info on this dish see this article on xianese.com.



Steam buns are on special for $1 at the front counter. A stodgy bread roll, plain on it's own, but wonderful when dunked into sauce from the Xian Pi above.



Stir fried shredded pancake - $7.50. Google tells us this is another regional speciality. There's a nice wok smokiness and a perfect chew to the sliced pancake noodle thingies that got us all excited. Delicious and carbolicious.



Spinach dumplings - $8.50 for 14 pieces. These are handmade and quite different to your regular dumpling.



Inside the green spinach case is a mildly spicy mixture of meat (pork most likely) and veggies: fancy pants Chinese rissoles.



Another killer morsel at Xi'an Kitchen is the pork and shallot pancake $3. If you see they guy cooking these at the counter make sure you grab one, these are amazing when fresh off the hotplate, the best we've had since we had one on the street in Shanghai, only this one has pork in it.



Spicy hot oil seared hand ripped noodles - $6.50. Lovely big flat noodles that are like pappardelle pasta, with chili and a good drizzle of oil. This looks super spicy but the chili has a real warmth and flavour and it doesn't burn.



Handmade noodle with tomato and egg - $6.50. Plain, simple and homely yet very well cooked.



Xi'an charcoal skewers - 4 for $5, the boss threw in an extra one for us. These are ok but Anna's Kitchen is still the best place for skewers at Dixon House.



Pork rib noodle soup $7.50 - from the handwritten specials sign. A plain peppery broth with rice noodles, livened up a little with optional chili. Comes with a few big hunks of pork on the bone. Not the most exciting soup but it's excellent value, there's lots of noodle and plenty of pork.



Marinated pork ribs - $10. These are mostl likely the same big hunks of slow cooked pork as used in the soup above, they must have a big pot of it brewing out the back. It's quite plain but there's a lot of flesh for your dollar. A dish best shared, unless you're after a big protein hit.



The same flesh as above is used in these pork stuffed buns ($3). Depending on your lingo, these are called rou jia mo, or pulled pork sandwiches. Or Chinese hamburgers if you're a dag like us. The porky filling is good but the bread was hard, very hard, maybe we got this on a bad day. For a consistently 'wow' rou ja mo head to nearby Xi'an Cuisine, the egg ones are even yummier than the pork ones.



Minced meat noodles $7.50. If you asked a Chinese Auntie to make spaghetti bolognaise we reckon she'd make something like this: simply pork mince on boiled noodles. There's little spice or pizzazz to this dish but Mr Shawn found himself scoffing a bowl of the stuff and drinking the juices at the bottom.

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Xi'an steamed noodle - $7.50. Lighter and healthier than fried noodles, sort of reminds us of Singapore Noodles, except drier and with thicker noodles. Has some slithers of pork amongst a handful of veggies. This has a subtle, unique flavour that we liked a lot.

[BACK AGAIN APRIL 2013]



Steamed Pork - $10. This mystery bowl is number 1 on the menu has been on our 'gimme eat' list for a while. As you can see, the top layer is 10 or so thin slices of lovely, moist, lardy pork belly. But what is underneath?




Underneath the fatty pork slices is a gorgeous, porky/salty/soy flavoured broth. This is cut perfectly with fresh Chinese greens and tofu skin. This is one of the happiest feedtimes in a while.


[BACK AGAIN MAY 2013]



Back again to try another classic - lamb soup with bun - $10. A thin, simple broth tasting of lamb and a little white pepper, reminds Mr Shawn of the simple English style meat'n'veggie soups his mum makes, except with a kick from the optional chili. There's three or four nice slices of lamb, and some veggies, mushrooms, tofu skin and flavour-soaking clear noodles. It served with two inch thick discs of white Chinese bread.



The bread is dunked in the soup, or better still, broken and soaked in the broth. This is one of those homely style Chinese dishes we have grown to love.



Xi'an Kitchen is in Dixon House Food Court, corner of Dixon and Little Hay Street's Chinatown.

21 comments:

  1. Oh gosh I am salivating at all these foodie pictures! They look so delish. Never thought to venture inside Dixon before, perhaps this might persuade me otherwise.

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    1. Dive in there, you will find amazing food treasures!

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  2. Whoah this looks crazy delicious - loving the sound of those cold noodles and anything starchy and carbalicious gets me anytime!

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  3. So many new stalls in Dixon House to try!

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  4. i can't believe i'm so late onto this blog, it is excellent! tks for doing the "hard yards..." and trying the entire menu!

    just wanted to mention there's another xi'an restaurant in the arcade in which menya is in - at the end on the other side from the pho place. i haven't been, but looks like it could be authentic too. so in about two yrs we've gone from 1 xi'an place (opp entertainment centre) to 3! sydney dinning is awesome!

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    1. Oooh I must find it, which Menya is it near?

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    2. so in the arcade that has menya mappen and next to pepper lunch on george st. the xi'an place is at the end of the arcade closer to the kent st entrance. on the other side of the arcade from the xi'an place is a pho place.

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    3. thanks heap - will have a snifter!

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    4. Found it today, it looks awesome, thanks arp, and good spotting!

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  5. The cold noodles with the bun to mop up the juicy juices sounds great!

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  6. Yumm!! I am going to have to try this... everything looks so good! I am especially intrigued by the hand ripped noodles :)

    p.s. I have only recently discovered your blog, but loving it! It gives me constant inspiration for my own eatings and bloggings... Keep up the awesome work!

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  7. Cheap AND delicious noodles and dumplings? I'm there. You manage to make every single dish look absolutely mouthwatering.

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  8. Just a heads up, there's a new stall down in Dixon House, where that Indonesian joint used to be. It looks like a juice bar, partly because it is, but in addition to fresh juices it also sells a few Hong Kong-style dim sum dishes.

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    1. Hehe - thanks for that - we're giving them a bit of time before our oral assault :-)

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  9. The different dishes look so good. Can't believe there is more than just normal Cantonese restaurants if you just look! Thanks for sharing. I love your blog.

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    1. Thanks Bianca. Keep looking, there's so much to discover in Chinatown. We are always learning something new and finding great dishes we have never eaten before.

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  10. the noodles at xi'an kitchen are all hand-made daily! Definitely wonderful. I personally love their cold noodles more and it is the best choice for the hot summer. Seems very hot (the red color), but it's actually not hot at all. Thanks for yr honest advices here. By the way, their soups is the best at the food court there.

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    1. The cold noodles are now centre stage on their menu and have gone up to $6.50 from $5.80. Well worth the extra, we had them last night and they were still divine.

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  11. There's now another place selling skewers in Dixon house, that hotpot place now has them for $2 each

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    1. Which one is the 'hot pot place'? Anna's has them, is this place where you got them?

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    2. The hotpot place which always has a big queue in the corner next to the BBQ joint.

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Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great nom noms that come along with it. Think Maeve O'Meara, not Masterchef :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (although sometimes our Mum shouts us).