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Tips For Visiting Muslim Street In Xi’an China


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Suzie Negrete



When it comes to exploring the rich cultural heritage and diverse culinary traditions of China, one destination that should not be missed is Muslim Street in Xi’an. Located in the heart of the city, Muslim Street is a vibrant and bustling hub that offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors.


Also known as Huimin Street, Muslim Street is a famous landmark in Xi’an that dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). It is home to the largest and most well-preserved Muslim community in China, comprising of Hui people. The street stretches for over 500 meters and is lined with an array of traditional Chinese-style buildings that showcase a fusion of Islamic and Chinese architectural influences.


What makes Muslim Street truly special is its incredible mix of cultural, historical, and gastronomic offerings. Visitors are not only treated to the sight of beautiful mosques, intricate calligraphy, and traditional attire but also have the opportunity to indulge in a tantalizing range of halal food options.


The vibrant atmosphere of Muslim Street is a testament to the harmonious coexistence of different cultures and religions in Xi’an. Whether you are a history buff, a food lover, or simply someone in search of an immersive cultural experience, Muslim Street is a must-visit destination that should not be missed.


Location and Background of Muslim Street

Muslim Street is located in the heart of Xi’an, the capital city of Shaanxi province in China. It is situated in the city’s bustling Muslim Quarter, which is a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways. The entrance to Muslim Street can be found at the Drum Tower Square, which is adjacent to the Bell Tower, another iconic landmark of Xi’an.


The history of Muslim Street dates back over 1,300 years to the Tang Dynasty, when Islam was introduced to China by Arab traders and merchants along the Silk Road. During this time, Xi’an served as the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, connecting China with the Arab world and beyond. As a result, a thriving Muslim community began to emerge in the city.


Today, Muslim Street is not only a gateway to the Muslim Quarter but also a cultural and culinary treasure trove. It is a place where the vibrant Islamic culture of Xi’an is on full display. The street is lined with traditional Chinese-style buildings adorned with beautiful Islamic motifs, creating a unique blend of architectural influences.


One of the most prominent landmarks of Muslim Street is the Great Mosque of Xi’an, which is situated in the heart of the Muslim Quarter. Built in the Tang Dynasty, the mosque is an architectural marvel, featuring a combination of Chinese and Islamic architectural styles. It is a place of worship for the local Muslim community and also serves as a major tourist attraction.


Aside from its historical and cultural significance, Muslim Street is renowned for its gastronomic offerings. The street is a paradise for food enthusiasts, offering a plethora of halal food options to cater to the diverse palates of visitors.


Whether you are craving traditional Xi’an specialties like biang biang noodles, lamb skewers, or rou jia mo (Chinese hamburger), or looking to indulge in Middle Eastern delights such as falafel and kebabs, Muslim Street has something to satisfy every taste bud.


With its rich history, architectural beauty, and delectable cuisine, Muslim Street is a true gem in Xi’an that offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors from around the world.


Halal Food Options

One of the major draws of visiting Muslim Street in Xi’an is the wide array of halal food options available. The street is a food lover’s paradise, offering a tantalizing range of dishes that cater to the dietary restrictions of the Muslim community. From savory street snacks to hearty meals, here are some must-try halal food options:

  • Yangrou Paomo: This is a signature dish of Xi’an, consisting of shredded flatbread soaked in a rich lamb broth and topped with tender chunks of mutton. It is a hearty and comforting meal that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.
  • Shaanxi Cold Noodles: These tangy and refreshing noodles are a popular street food item in Xi’an. Made with hand-pulled noodles, cucumbers, and a flavorful sauce, they are perfect for beating the heat on a sunny day.
  • Liáng pí: Another beloved Xi’an specialty, Liáng pí is a dish made with cold noodles topped with a variety of ingredients such as bean sprouts, shredded vegetables, and a tangy sauce. It is a refreshing and light option for those looking for a quick bite.
  • Rou Jia Mo: Known as the “Chinese hamburger,” Rou Jia Mo is a delightful street food item that consists of a crispy and fluffy bread bun filled with succulent braised pork or lamb. It is a perfect combination of flavors and textures.
  • Lamb Skewers: A popular street snack in Xi’an, lamb skewers are a must-try for meat lovers. The tender and juicy pieces of lamb are flavored with a variety of spices before being grilled to perfection, resulting in a mouthwatering delicacy.

These are just a few examples of the many halal food options available on Muslim Street. Whether you are in the mood for noodles, dumplings, kebabs, or sweets, there is something to satisfy every craving. Make sure to explore the entire length of the street to discover hidden gems and try out new flavors.


It’s important to note that while Muslim Street is primarily known for its halal food options, there are also non-halal food stalls and restaurants in the area. If you have specific dietary requirements, make sure to inquire about the ingredients and cooking methods to ensure your meal adheres to your preferences.


So, prepare your taste buds for a culinary adventure and immerse yourself in the delicious flavors of Muslim Street in Xi’an.


Must-Try Street Food

One of the highlights of visiting Muslim Street in Xi’an is the incredible variety of street food options available. From savory snacks to sweet treats, the street is a food lover’s paradise. Here are some must-try street food items that you should not miss:

  • Biáng Biáng Noodles: This iconic dish of Xi’an is a must-try when visiting Muslim Street. The thick and chewy noodles are topped with a flavorful sauce, chili oil, and a variety of toppings such as braised pork, mushrooms, and green onions.
  • Liang Pi: This refreshing street food dish consists of cold wheat starch noodles topped with a tangy sauce, shredded vegetables, and a sprinkle of chili oil and sesame seeds. It is a perfect choice for a hot summer day.
  • Stuffed Persimmon Cakes: These delicious treats are made by stuffing a ripe persimmon with a sweet filling, usually made from glutinous rice or red bean paste. The result is a delightful combination of sweetness and fruitiness.
  • Chinese BBQ Skewers: The aroma of grilled meat wafts through the air on Muslim Street, tempting passersby to indulge in these mouthwatering kebabs. From lamb and beef to chicken and seafood, you’ll find a wide range of options to satisfy your carnivorous cravings.
  • Peanut Candy: This crunchy and sweet snack is made by caramelizing peanuts with sugar, resulting in a delightful treat that is perfect for snacking on the go. It’s a popular choice for both locals and tourists alike.

These are just a few examples of the delicious street food offerings on Muslim Street. As you explore the bustling street, keep an eye out for other tempting treats such as dumplings, pancakes, fried noodles, and more. With so many options to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find something that suits your taste buds.


Keep in mind that street food vendors may have limited seating, if any at all, so be prepared to enjoy your food while standing or find a nearby spot to sit and savor your snacks. Don’t be afraid to try new flavors and be adventurous with your food choices. After all, a visit to Muslim Street is not just about the sights, but also about immersing yourself in the vibrant culinary scene.


Shopping and Souvenirs

Aside from its delectable food options, Muslim Street in Xi’an also offers a wide range of shopping opportunities, making it a perfect destination for souvenir hunting. Whether you’re looking for traditional handicrafts, Islamic art, or unique cultural items, Muslim Street has something to suit every taste and budget.


Here are some popular shopping experiences and souvenirs you can find on Muslim Street:

  • Calligraphy and Islamic Art: Muslim Street is home to several calligraphy studios and art shops where you can find beautifully crafted Islamic art pieces. From intricately designed Arabic calligraphy paintings to delicate ceramic tiles, these items make for stunning decorations and meaningful souvenirs.
  • Hui-style Embroidery: Xi’an is famous for its Hui-style embroidery, which is characterized by vibrant colors and intricate stitching. You can find embroidered clothing, bags, accessories, and decorative items, all showcasing the exquisite craftsmanship of the local artisans.
  • Traditional Chinese Handicrafts: Alongside Islamic crafts, you’ll also find a variety of traditional Chinese handicrafts on Muslim Street. These may include paper-cutting, shadow puppets, clay figurines, and silk products. These items make for unique and culturally significant souvenirs.
  • Spices and Tea: Xi’an is known for its rich culinary heritage, and Muslim Street is a great place to stock up on local spices and teas. From fragrant spices like cumin and Sichuan peppercorns to aromatic teas such as jasmine and green tea, these authentic flavors will transport you back to your trip to Xi’an.
  • Traditional Clothing and Accessories: You can also find shops selling traditional Chinese attire, such as Qipao and Tang suits, as well as Islamic clothing like hijabs and prayer caps. These items are not only fashionable but also offer a glimpse into the cultural diversity of Xi’an.

As you explore the shops and stalls on Muslim Street, be prepared to haggle and negotiate prices, as that is part of the shopping experience in China. Bargaining is a common practice, so don’t be afraid to try your hand at it to secure the best deals.


Remember, when purchasing souvenirs, look for authentic and locally made items to support the local artisans and promote sustainable tourism. These unique and culturally significant souvenirs will serve as lasting reminders of your trip to Muslim Street and Xi’an.


Cultural and Historical Significance

Muslim Street in Xi’an holds great cultural and historical significance, showcasing the fusion of Islamic and Chinese traditions. The street serves as a window into the city’s rich past and offers a glimpse into the vibrant Islamic culture that has thrived in Xi’an for centuries.


One of the major attractions on Muslim Street is the Great Mosque of Xi’an, which dates back to the Tang Dynasty. This magnificent mosque is not only a place of worship but also a masterpiece of architectural design. With a blend of Chinese and Islamic architectural elements, the mosque reflects the harmonious coexistence of different cultural influences.


As you stroll along Muslim Street, you’ll notice the beautiful Arabic calligraphy adorning shop fronts and signage, showcasing the importance of the written word in Islamic culture. You’ll also find traditional attire worn by the Hui people, the local Muslim population, adding a vibrant splash of color and cultural authenticity to the street.


Moreover, Muslim Street is a testament to the historical significance of the Silk Road, a network of trade routes that connected China with different parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Xi’an served as a prominent hub along this ancient route, and the Muslim community played a pivotal role in facilitating trade and cultural exchange.


The street itself is lined with traditional Chinese-style buildings that feature intricate carvings, unique roof designs, and vibrant decorations. This architectural charm transports visitors to a bygone era and offers insights into the rich heritage of the city.


The cultural significance of Muslim Street extends beyond its architectural and historical elements. It is also a thriving hub of Islamic traditions, with local craftsmen continuing age-old practices such as calligraphy, embroidery, and ceramic art. Artisans proudly display their crafts throughout the street, providing visitors with the opportunity to witness and appreciate the skill and artistry that goes into their creations.


Exploring Muslim Street not only enriches your understanding of the Islamic culture and history in Xi’an but also gives you a deeper appreciation of the city’s multicultural heritage. It’s an opportunity to learn, connect, and celebrate the diversity that exists within China.


Visiting Muslim Street offers a unique chance to immerse yourself in a vibrant cultural experience that showcases the rich history and heritage of Xi’an’s Muslim community. From the stunning architecture to the traditional crafts and customs, every step along Muslim Street is a reminder of the cultural and historical significance it holds in the tapestry of Xi’an’s heritage.


Etiquette and Respectful Behavior

When visiting Muslim Street in Xi’an, it is important to observe proper etiquette and demonstrate respectful behavior towards the local culture and traditions. Here are some guidelines to ensure a positive and respectful experience:

  • Dress modestly: As Muslim Street is primarily a Muslim community, it is advisable to dress modestly out of respect for the local culture. This means avoiding revealing clothing and opting for more conservative attire.
  • Respect religious practices: Remember that Muslim Street is home to several mosques and places of worship. Be mindful of your surroundings and maintain a quiet and respectful demeanor when passing by these areas.
  • Ask permission before taking photos: If you wish to take photographs of people or establishments on Muslim Street, it is polite to ask for permission first. Not everyone may be comfortable with having their picture taken, so always be respectful of their wishes.
  • Follow food handling and hygiene practices: When enjoying the delectable street food, be sure to follow proper food handling practices. Use utensils provided or disposable chopsticks to pick up food, and avoid touching items with your hands. Also, dispose of any waste in designated bins to keep the street clean.
  • Be mindful of space: Muslim Street can get crowded, especially during peak hours. Be mindful of others around you and avoid blocking pathways. Allow others to pass by and navigate through the street with ease.
  • Avoid excessive bargaining: While bargaining is common in Chinese markets, it is important to exercise restraint and fairness when negotiating prices on Muslim Street. Remember that vendors rely on these sales for their livelihood, so be respectful and reasonable in your negotiations.
  • Learn a few basic phrases: It is always appreciated when visitors make an effort to learn a few basic phrases in the local language. Simple greetings like “hello” (nǐ hǎo) and “thank you” (xiè xiè) can go a long way in showing respect and building rapport with locals.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your visit to Muslim Street is not only enjoyable but also respectful to the local culture and community. Showing appreciation for the customs and traditions of the area enriches your own experience and fosters mutual understanding between cultures.


Best Time to Visit

When planning a trip to Muslim Street in Xi’an, it is important to consider the best time to visit in order to make the most of your experience. While the street is lively and bustling year-round, certain seasons offer distinct advantages and unique opportunities for exploration.


The spring and autumn months, specifically from April to June and September to November, are generally considered the best time to visit Muslim Street. During these seasons, the weather in Xi’an is pleasant, with mild temperatures and less rainfall. This makes it comfortable to explore the street on foot and enjoy the outdoor environment without worrying about extreme heat or cold.


Another advantage of visiting during spring and autumn is that the tourist crowds tend to be relatively smaller compared to the peak summer months. This allows for a more relaxed and enjoyable experience as you wander through the stalls, sample the food, and shop for souvenirs without feeling overwhelmed by large crowds.


However, if you do plan to visit during the summer months, which run from June to August, be prepared for hotter temperatures and higher levels of humidity. It is advisable to dress accordingly, stay hydrated, and take breaks in shaded areas to avoid heat exhaustion.


Winters in Xi’an, from December to February, can be quite cold, with occasional snowfall. While the temperatures may deter some visitors, this season offers its own unique charm. The street is adorned with festive decorations during Chinese New Year, and the local Muslim community celebrates their traditions with vibrant festivities. Exploring the street during this time provides a wonderful opportunity to experience the cultural celebrations and sample special Lunar New Year street food.


It is worth noting that Muslim Street can get busy during national holidays and weekends, regardless of the season. If you prefer a quieter experience, aim to visit on weekdays or during non-peak hours.


Ultimately, the best time to visit Muslim Street depends on your personal preferences and tolerance for different weather conditions. Whether you choose to explore during the pleasant spring and autumn months or embrace the festive atmosphere of winter, a visit to Muslim Street will undoubtedly offer a captivating blend of cultural experiences and gastronomic delights.


Getting There and Transportation Options

Getting to Muslim Street in Xi’an is convenient and straightforward due to its central location in the city. Here are some transportation options to consider:

  • Public Transportation: Xi’an has an extensive public transportation network, including buses and the metro system. You can take a bus or metro to reach the Bell Tower or Drum Tower, which are both located near the entrance of Muslim Street. From there, it is a short walk to the street itself. You can check the local bus or metro schedules and routes for the most convenient option.
  • Taxi or Ride-Hailing Services: Taxis are widely available throughout the city and can be a convenient option for reaching Muslim Street. You can also use ride-hailing services like Didi or Meituan to book a car and specify the destination as Muslim Street. This can be particularly useful if you are traveling with a group or with luggage.
  • Bicycle Rental: Xi’an has a bike-friendly culture, and renting a bicycle can be a fun and efficient way to explore the city. You can find bike rental shops near popular tourist areas, including Muslim Street. Riding a bike allows you to navigate through the narrow streets and alleyways with ease and provides flexibility for exploring other attractions in the surrounding area.
  • Walking: If you are staying in the city center or in close proximity to Muslim Street, walking may be the most convenient option. Xi’an is known for its pedestrian-friendly streets, and the walk to Muslim Street from nearby areas can be enjoyable. Just make sure you have a map or navigation app to guide you along the way.

It is important to note that due to its popularity, Muslim Street can get crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons and weekends. While traffic can be heavy around the area, being patient and allowing extra time for travel will ensure a smoother experience.


Moreover, if you are traveling with a tour group or booking a guided tour, transportation arrangements may already be included. Check with your tour operator for specific details on how you will be transported to and from Muslim Street.


Remember to plan your return transportation as well. Whether you choose to hail a taxi, use a ride-hailing service, or walk back to your accommodation, be mindful of the time and ensure a safe and reliable way to get back after exploring the vibrant streets of Muslim Street.


By considering these transportation options, you can easily reach Muslim Street and enjoy the cultural and culinary delights that it has to offer.


Tips for an Enjoyable Experience

To make the most of your visit to Muslim Street in Xi’an, here are some helpful tips to ensure an enjoyable experience:

  • Arrive early or late: Muslim Street can get crowded, especially during peak hours. To avoid the crowds, consider visiting early in the morning or later in the evening. This allows you to have a more relaxed and immersive experience, with fewer people and shorter wait times at popular food stalls.
  • Sample a variety of foods: With a wide range of delicious street food options, be adventurous and try different dishes. Don’t be afraid to explore and savor the unique flavors of Xi’an’s culinary scene. Be sure to ask for recommendations from locals or follow the queues to popular food stalls.
  • Budget your time: Muslim Street is a vibrant and bustling area with numerous shops, stalls, and attractions. It can be easy to spend hours exploring, sampling food, and shopping. Plan your time wisely and allocate enough time to fully immerse yourself in the experience without feeling rushed.
  • Bring small cash denominations: While some shops and food stalls may accept digital payments, it is advisable to carry small cash denominations for convenience. Many vendors prefer cash transactions, and having small bills makes it easier to pay for individual food items or small purchases.
  • Stay hydrated: Xi’an’s weather can be hot, especially during the summer months. It is important to stay hydrated while exploring Muslim Street. Consider carrying a bottle of water with you or taking breaks at tea houses or cafes along the street.
  • Engage with locals: Interacting with the locals can enhance your experience and provide insights into the local culture. Strike up conversations, ask for recommendations, and show genuine interest in their traditions. This can lead to memorable encounters and make your visit more meaningful.
  • Try your hand at bargaining: Bargaining is a common practice in markets throughout China, including Muslim Street. If you’re interested in purchasing souvenirs or goods, feel free to negotiate the price with the vendor. Be polite, have a friendly attitude, and enjoy the experience of bargaining while respecting the seller’s livelihood.
  • Be mindful of your belongings: Like any bustling tourist area, it is important to keep an eye on your belongings and be cautious of pickpockets. Keep your valuables close to you and be mindful of your surroundings to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

By following these tips, you can enhance your visit to Muslim Street, immerse yourself in the local culture, and create lasting memories of your time in Xi’an.



A visit to Muslim Street in Xi’an is a remarkable journey that combines cultural immersion, culinary exploration, and historical significance. This vibrant and bustling hub offers a unique experience to indulge in traditional Muslim culture and cuisine within the heart of China.


From the architectural beauty of the Great Mosque to the labyrinth of narrow streets filled with tantalizing aromas and bustling market stalls, Muslim Street brings together the best of both Islamic and Chinese traditions. The street’s rich history, spanning over a millennia, reflects the importance of Xi’an as a cultural crossroad along the Silk Road.


Whether you are feasting on savory biang biang noodles, exploring the variety of handicrafts and Islamic art, or simply immersing yourself in the vibrant energy of the street, Muslim Street offers a sensory delight for all visitors.


Remember to approach your visit with respect for the local culture, try your hand at bargaining, and engage with the friendly locals. By embracing the traditions and customs, you can create a deeper connection with the place and its people.


Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, or someone seeking a unique cultural experience, Muslim Street is a destination that should not be missed during your trip to Xi’an. It encapsulates the harmonious coexistence of different cultures, the charm of traditional architecture, and the flavors of authentic halal cuisine.


So prepare your taste buds and curiosity, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the enchanting streets of Muslim Street. Immerse yourself in the rich heritage, savor the mouthwatering flavors, and create memories that will last a lifetime in this cultural gem of Xi’an.