Xining Dining

Plan Xining food culture tour? Xining Dining introduces Xining Food and Restaurants including Xining Cuisine, Restaurants in Xining, Xining Snacks, What to Eat in Xining, Where to Eat in Xining, Xining Food Street.

Aside from the wonderful, picturesque sceneries that you can see in Xining, the dining experience is another reason why you should visit China’s “summer resort.”  As an ancient city on the highland, Xining is a city with a mix of ethnic groups including Tibetan, Hui, and Salar. The food tends to be salty and food preparation is relatively simple compared with those of other cities.  The local flavors include fried flour slices (炒面片), hand-pulled noodles (手拉面), dry-stirred noodles (干拌面), roasted mutton (烤羊肉). In Xijing, you never need to worry about what you should eat since there is so much delicious food for you to choose. 

What to Eat in Xining

Some of the dishes in Xining are still related to the Chinese, as they are made of noodles and they are also fond of soups. However, other cultures, such as those of the Tibetan and the Muslim, have also been infused into the many dishes. You can therefore find Halal food in Xining. Here below are some recommended dishes in Xining.

Recommended Xining Dishes 

Hand-grabbed Mutton  手抓羊肉

Hand-grabbed mutton, also called Hand-picked mutton, is one of the most popular foods for Inner Mongolian people, and derives its name from the habit of eating with the hands. The cooking process is very simple: cut the mutton into handy chunks, boil them in cold water, skim off the fat from the soup, and seasoning to taste and then boil until they are nearly well-done. You can try it in most of the restaurants in Ordos.

Noodles with Mutton Sausage 羊肠面

This definitely ranks first among the most famous local specialties and snacks in Xining. Each bowl of sausage noodles is served with a small bowl of soup, some of which will be added with pepper. Pour the soup into the noodles, stir it up and take a sip, then the thick smell of mutton will permeate your mouth. It can be served cold in summer and hot in winter. The sausages are thin and crisp. The stuffing inside is very soft, with unique flavor and good taste. Recommend food shop for this dish is the Ma Zhong Sausage Noodles (马忠羊肠面) in Mojia Street in Xining.

Boiled Innards Soup/Zasui Tang 杂碎汤

Its unique flavor has made it the traditional breakfast of Hui ethnic group. It is composed of not only the meat of the lamb but also the gut, head, lungs, and other entrails of other animals such as sheep. In order to get rid of the different taste of some of the ingredients, the soup uses a lot of oil. Thus, it’s normal to see it right in your bowl. Nevertheless, it’s cooked deliciously, inner organs of lamb and oxen are shredded and then thoroughly boiled in a soup stock with seasonings such as salt, green onion, ginger, garlic, etc. It’s even served very early in the morning.

Qinghai Hot Pot 青海土火锅

People who have been to Qinghai will definitely recommend the famous Qinghai hotpot for you. The "condiment" of Qinghai hotpot is usually made of mutton soup and a little pickled cabbage. If you like spicy food, it is better. Qinghai hotpot has a spicy taste, but the soup is clear with light taste. 

Stewed Lamb 炖羊肉

Cut the mutton of the lamb, which is only born for about 15 days, into small cubes. When the oil is boiled, pour mutton cubes into the pan and quick-fry them with strong fire. Until the surface of them become yellow, put some soy sauce, chili, ginger powder, pepper, and salt water into the pan. Fry them until the cubes become red. Add a little water. Stew them with slow fire. When the water in the pan nearly disappears, the dish is cooked. The mutton is tender and crisp. It isn’t greasy. 

Ga Mian Pian 尕面片

Ga Mian Pian (noodle slices) are the most common and unique food among Qinghai people. It is easy to prepare a dish of Ga Mian Pian. After cold water and good flour are kneaded and stretched into strips, they are then pulled into a piece as big as a "nail cover" and put into a pan. Pour it with clear mutton soup, add diced mutton, tomatoes and green radish slices; Beef, mutton slices, tofu, vermicelli and vegetables can also be added. In Qinghai, it can be said that every shop has essential noodles.

Snacks in Xining

Niangpi 酿皮

It is also referred to as Niangpizi, and it is another famous snack in Xining, selling at almost every snack store and vendor. The Niangpi made in Xining is similar to the Liangpi in northwest of China regions such as Xi'an, but the Niangpi is thicker and has a strong taste. With the special seasonings in Qinghai, it has a unique flavor. The main ingredient cannot be bought anywhere; instead it should be made from scratch. The base ingredient is actually wheat, which is then subjected to many different processes such as steaming. Then the niangpi is flavored with a lot of chili and vinegar. Because it’s so simple, many vendors have also come up with their own versions. 

Yoghourt 酸奶

Yoghourt is a must-try when you travel in Xining. Different from what we often find in supermarket, Yoghourt of Xining is often in a solid state. However, it is extremely fresh and tender with a layer of cream on the surface. The flavor is fresh and appetite-boosting.

Ao Cha/Boiled Tea 熬茶

Ao Cha is a kind of boiled black tea. Drinking boiled tea is a tea drinking habit in Qinghai. The brick tea produced in Sichuan-Hunan tea area is fully boiled with water, add green salt and pepper, and add ginger peel and Schizonepeta tenuifolia if you like.

Tian Pei/Sweet Barley Wine 甜醅

It is a sweet wine made of barley, with low alcohol content. Sweet Barley Wine is the favourite local snack for Qinghai people to relief the summer hot.

More about Snacks in Xining

Where to Eat in Xining

Food is almost everywhere in Xining, though the people have favored some restaurants and local markets. Here we selected the ones which are mostly favoured by locals, for your reference.

Recommended Restaurants in Xining

  • Yixin Halal Food Restaurant (Huayuan North Str Branch) 清真益鑫羊肉手抓馆(花园北街店)
    Add: No. 5, Baiyu Alley, Hauyuan North Street, Chengdong District 城东区湟光花园北街白玉巷5号
    Tel: 0971-8179336
  • Shalihai Restaurant (沙力海青海特色美食)
    Add: No. 4, North Street, Chengzhong District 城中区北大街4号
    Tel: 0971-8234444
  • Qinghai Hot Pot (Bayi Road Branch) 青海土火锅(八一路店)
    Add: 82, Bayi Road, Chengdong District 城东区八一路82号
    Tel: 0971-8164756
  • Da Ximen Restaurant (大西门餐饮)
    Add: Shulin Xiang
    Tel: /

Recommended Snack Shops in Xining

  • Yongqing Yoghourt (永庆酸奶)
    Add: Mojiajie Street, Chengzhong District 城中区莫家街
  • Maha Maiti Zasui Tang  (马哈买提老字号羊杂碎)
    Add: Mojiajie Street, Chengzhong District  城中区城西区莫家街
  • Musan'er Niangpi (穆仨尔酿皮)
    Add: No. 4, Huayuan South Street, Chengzhong District 城中区花园南街4号
  • Yajukang Lamb Chop (雅居炕羊排)
    Add: No. 20, Jiaotong Beixiang, Chengxi District 城西区交通北巷20号
    Tel: 13099783601

Food Streets in Xining

Food streets are the best place to have the full collection of local snacks. Mojiajie Street is the oldest and most popular gourmet street in Xining.

Mojiajie Street 莫家街

Mojiajie Street, which is very famous in Xining, is considered as the “Dining Paradise” in Xining. Mojiajie Street is the oldest gourmet street in Xining. The most famous restaurant should be Mazhong Restaurant where a great variety of food can be found. It is bustling with booths providing snacks, fruits, and even souvenirs.
Address: Mojie Street, Chengxi District, Xining

Shujingxiang Lane 水井巷

As the busiest food street, Shuijingxiang Lane is also an old Business Street of Xining. Almost all dishes and snacks of Xining can be found on this street. Located in central Xining, it packs all Xining foods such as Roasted Mutton, Bean Jelly, Boiled Mutton, etc.  Shuijingxiang Lane gets a nick name “Small Hong Kong” because of its tasty food. Xining people have a strong love of pasta. 
Address: Business Street, Shuijing Lane, Chengzhong District, Xining

Daxin Food Street 大新美食街

Daxin Food Street is one of the most famous food streets in Xining. It not only has good and inexpensive food of various styles, but also offers the unique flavor of Xining. It is full of stalls, with western flavor, basically featuring halal, beef and mutton dishes. Sea food is also available there.
Address: Chengzhong District

Yinma Street 饮马街

The opposite side of Mojiajie Street is another food street, called Yinma Street. Yinma Street is famous for its hotpot. If you want to have hotpot, you can go there. It is very popular among tourists.
Address: Opposite Mojiajie Street

Xining Dining Tips

  • 1. Pasta, beef and mutton are the main dishes in Qinghai. Usually, there is no rice in the local special restaurants. There are all kinds of pasta instead of rice.
  • 2. Xining's eating style is very different from that of the southern regions. Salt is added to the tea, pepper is mostly in the soup, pasta and vermicelli are popular, and the flavor of spices in the food always gives people a "strange" feeling.
  • 3. Xining snacks have strong ethnic features, which can be summed up as halal. You can't expect high sanitary surroundings if you eat in the small Muslim restaurant in Xining.

Edited by Brittany Tian/田春燕