Xi'an was the capital of China for more than 1,100 years and was a great center of trade and commerce during medieval times. The blending of cultures and ideas led to the city developing its own unique cuisine, one that never fails to delight visitors new and old. From mutton dumplings to Roujiamo, here are our top 5 dishes served in this wonderful and fascinating city.

Cover photo credits: "Xian Muslim Quarter", from https://www.flickr.com/photos/globetrotteri/2471408822 by Carrie Kellenberger. License: CC BY 2.0

1. Cold Noodles

"LIANG PI", from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LIANG_PI.jpg by Jucember. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Called Liangpi (凉皮) in Chinese, cold noodles are the perfect dish for China's blazing hot summers. With condiments like chili oil and bean sprouts, it's the perfect meal to regain your stamina after a long day exploring the city. They are made from wheat or rice flour, and the starch is rinsed off the dough under water.

2. Mutton Dumplings

"Sour Soup Boiling Dumpings", from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sour_Soup_Boiling_Dumpings.jpeg by Acstar. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the many contributions the Middle East made to Xi'an cuisine, mutton dumplings are a hallmark of the city's flavor fusion, combining the halal meat of lamb with East Asian-style dumplings. These delicacies are served in a sour soup of black vinegar and roasted chili oil. Filled with aromatic spices, they bear little juice and have a distinctive purse shape.

3. Biang Biang Noodles

"Biang Biang Noodles", from https://www.flickr.com/photos/kudumomo/8661289994 by momo. License: CC BY 2.0

While noodles are a common food in China and the world, no one makes them quite like Xi'an, especially the city's specialty: biang biang noodles. Named for the sound made when the dough is slapped against the table to stretch them out, the noodles are wide and perfect for rough slurping. Often topped with eggs, beef, and tomato sauce, nothing quite hits the spot like a big bowl filled to the brim.

4. Yangrou Paomo

"Yangrou Paomo" from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yangrou_Paomo.JPG by Danielinblue. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Paomo is essentially pita bread, crumbled up into chunks and served in mutton stew, like noodles. Bean vermicelli is also often included. Similar to mutton dumplings, its creation was influenced by the influx of Arabian cultures during the time of the Silk Road. Yangrou Paomo now sits comfortably among Xi'an's classic foods, making it a must-try for any visitor.

5. Roujiamo

"Roujiamo x2 (20160103174347)" from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Roujiamo_x2_(20160103174347).jpg by N509FZ. License: CC BY-SA 4.0

We end with the greatest Xi'an dish of all–Roujiamo. Nicknamed "Chinese hamburgers", Roujiamo takes the basic definition of burger–meat surrounded by two buns–and infuses it with all the energy and flavour of Xi'an, resulting in something entirely unique. Roujiamo is made by placing slices of crispy preserved meat between flatbread, an iconic and delicious Xi'an snack. No visit to the city is complete without a try of this, so make sure you grab one on your next trip!