When entering Xi'an, a traveler can take comfort from the fact that Xi'an represents a varied and exemplary fusion of both Muslim and Shaanxi culinary traditions, forming a unique food scene that supports both restaurant-style and hawker-style dishes. If you're in search of great Chinese food, Xi'an is on the same level as other large cities, while the inclusion of Muslim cuisine makes it an excellent summation of Eastern food.
There are a number of popular dishes/snacks that can be found in Xi'an, including plenty of dumpling-based dishes and bun-style snacks. Yang rou pao muo is considered a main staple of local cuisine; it is basically a lamb soup poured over broken-up pieces of bread. Dumplings are often served as multiple courses in restaurants, while jiaozi and xiao long baozi are popular variations. Types of bun that you'll see commonly are guan tang baozi (steamed with sauce inside) and Shi Zi Bing (deep-fried and sweet), both of which can be found nearly everywhere in the Muslim Quarter.
Speaking of the Muslim Quarter, the area mostly around Xiyang Shi and Hui Minority Street is your best bet in the city for great street food of all varieties, although the amount of time that some of the food is out can contribute to stomach unease in travelers unused to it. Ruining our romantic idea of Xi'an is the frequency of Western fast food (McDonald's, KFC, etc.), but you'll find that there are a handful of classic establishments that serve Xi'an's true culinary standouts. De Fa Chang is famous for its “dumpling banquet,” while the mutton soup called yangrou paomo that is synonymous with Xi'an can be found at a number of places, including a chain called Lao Sun Jia. Also, the aforementioned guantang baozi is what made the restaurant Jiasan Guantang Baozi a go-to for the locals.
For more information on where to get the specialties of the region, take a look at our cuisine lisings and see which of them delight you.