Xi'an Famous Foods 西安名吃 started in 2005 as another humble stall in the Golden Mall's basement food court in the Asian enclave of Flushing in Queens, New York.
Everything changed when Anthony Bourdain took a fancy for their "Spicy Lamb Burger". Suddenly, Xi'an Famous Foods with it's Middle Eastern influenced West China food was thrust into the American mainstream.
Branches in Manhattan's Chinatown and fancy Saint Marks Place soon followed. Now Xi'an Famous Foods have 8 locations in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn with more planned.
I visited Xi'an Famous Foods' Chinatown branch along Bayard Street, near the foot of Confucius Plaza tower (a NYC public housing project).
New to West China food?
Ordering is easy as ABC and 123 at Xi'an Famous Foods. The menu is on the wall, with photo, name and ordering code of the dishes.
Give the cashier your chosen ordering codes, pay and s/he will give you a slip with your order number.
Proceed to the dining area behind the counter and take your seat.
Inside the short, narrow dining hall, decor is bare bones and furnished with just the essential basics. Service is self help - customers are given a numbered slip after payment and will pick up their orders from the counter when their number is called.
I ordered the Spicy Cumin Lamb Noodles (code N1).
It's a generous heap of hand torn wheat noodles with stir fried lamb slices tossed in a fiery sauce of oil, chili, cumin and other spices.
The broad ribbons were floppy and softer than al dente. The thick noodles were chewy but soft.
The hand torn noodles were served with lots of oil with chili and spices which smothered the noodles. I didn't like the limp ribbons and grease but enjoyed the stinging kick from the chili and spices. The good spicy sting lingered on and my tongue still tingled even when I reached home more than an hour later.
Left over spicy sauce after I polished off the noodles and lamb slices
Coming from Southeast Asia, I am familiar and appreciate this intensity in flavours :-D
There were many thin slices of tender, cumin infused, spicy lamb with that lovely mutton gaminess which I liked.
The intensely spicy noodles and lamb I just had was familiar to the point of being unremarkable, except that this was in New York City. Lots of people flock here for a taste of comfort - to be "home" for a familiar meal.
Xi'an Famous Foods also appeals to other Americans and tourists out for a culinary adventure.
Are you game for something hot?
Restaurant name: Xi'an Famous Foods 西安名吃
Address: 67 Bayard Street, NYC New York, USA
Hours: Sun to Thurs: 11:30 am - 9:00 pm | Fri & Sat: 11:30 am - 9:30 pm
Date visited: 29 Nov 2014
Return to Johor Kaki homepage.