Dear Family and Friends,
Muslims in China? Yes, there are an estimated 50,000 Muslims in the Xian area alone. They have been there for over a 1,000 years. It turns out, we learned, that Xian was the end of the silk road. Merchants traveled back and forth on the silk road trading their wares. Obviously, some people chose to stay in Xian.
Xian was the first city in China to be introduced to Islam when Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty officially allowed the practice of Islam in 651 AD.
Our guide took us one evening to see this popular tourist street in the Muslim district on our way to a dumpling dinner.
We strolled from one end to the other with our eyes wide. It was an amazing experience.
In the picture below you can see how popular this street is.
It is mainly a street full of vendors selling snack food, or I guess you would say, street food.
I am not sure what is piled up here, but I will tell you it is not pork.
How about this interesting looking bread?
Here are a couple of fellows pounding taffy-like candy.
An interesting way to cook potato chips.
In the midst of all the crowd were workers keeping the street clean. It reminded me a little of Cuenca.
I think we were in China during pomegranate season. We saw them everywhere being sold on the roadside. This vendor is selling pomegranate and pomegranate juice.
How about some fried squid on a stick?
And this guy is selling hand rolled cigarettes. At least I think they were cigarettes.
I highly encourage you to watch this short Youtube video of a vendor making a cotton candy flower on Muslim street in Xian. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_bnIW4qY74
I saw the vendor making this cotton candy but did not have time to video him as our group was hurrying along. One of the downsides of traveling in a group rather than independently.
When we got to the end of the street we were at the ancient city wall built in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The wall is still strong and solid to this day. The picture below is one of the gates to the city. It is beautiful all lit up at night.
We continued on to have a great Chinese dumpling dinner with over 20 varieties of dumplings.
Tomorrow we travel to Chengdu, home of the Panda Research Center.