Xi’an Famous Foods is a well loved fast food joint specializing in the flavors of the city of Xi’an. This place has a hole-in-the-wall vibe, but the location on 34th Street is plenty spacious and even has a heavily air conditioned second floor. Believe me, you’re gonna need that AC blasting when you’re chowing down on spicy noodles. Their original location is in Flushing, but Xi’an is now all over NYC. Great option for a quick, cheap eats. It’s tempting to get your order to go, but the noodles are best enjoyed immediately so they don’t bloat.
For a long time, I kept seeing photos of the spicy lamb burger on Instagram, which lead me to mistakenly think that this place isn’t very vegan friendly. Turns out there’s a good selection of meatless options on the menu, and the FAQ page clarifies that all the vegetarian dishes (except for the dumplings) are completely vegan. Hurray!
We ordered two noodle dishes and two sides, while the couple directly to my left shared one noodle dish and one side. Hah, what can I say… we love our noods and foods!
The spicy cucumber salad ($6) isn’t anything to get super excited about, but the combo of black vinegar, garlic, and chili oil is nice. We ordered it for a cool, crunchy break from the other heavier dishes. It does have some chili oil, but is quite mild overall.
I love tofu and chili oil, so the Chang’an spicy tofu ($3) was a must order item. It’s a bowl of soft tofu drizzled in soy sauce, vinegar, and chili oil. Simple, but tasty. I happily slurped up every last little piece of tofu. Is it wrong that I want to drink that chili oil mixture like a soup?
The Xi’an Famous Foods’ website described their Mount Qi vegetable hand-pulled noodle soup as a “ratatouille of vegetarian ingredients.” Sounds about right. Colorful mixture of carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, and even some chunks of seitan. The noodles have an addictive bounciness. Even though it was a hot summer day, I have no regrets ordering it with the spicy and sour veggie broth.
John got the Mount Qi vegetable noodles too, minus the soup ($8.50). The noodles are tossed in chili oil, creating a nice slipperiness. The noodles are a little chewier when they’re not in the soup. You’ve probably seen a bazillion #liftingnoodles photos on Instagram featuring Xi’an Famous Foods’ hand pulled noodles, but here is John’s first noodle lift. Welcome to the club!