Xi'an Eats: Chang'An Bridge within the Grand Hyatt (西安君悦酒店绣桥中餐厅)
For lunch on my second day in Xi’an, we went to the Chang’an Bridge restaurant in the Grand Hyatt skybridge (where the hotel’s breakfast dining room is also located), since it was just upstairs from where we were. Like my previous night at Xi’an Shanzhuang restaurant, it was just me and one other colleague. I think he quite enjoyed being my “minder,” taking me out to eat on company dime! As mentioned in the last post, he told me that when another work colleague came into town just before I arrived, she ate buffet at the Hyatt and twice at the Hyatt's Italian restaurant. He didn’t seem to like those restaurants very much, so I think he was glad that that I preferred Chinese food, and specifically, local Shaanxi and Xi’an food. After all, why come all the way to Xi’an and eat Italian food?
So keep in mind, all of the following food is just for two people!
First, we had sachets of tofu skin with bamboo and mushrooms inside. Chilled, and dramatically plated on a plate with dry ice! They probably would have been tastier at room temperature, rather than chilled, but I really liked the crunchy filling, and the fun two-bite shape.
The next dish I mistook for cucumber originally. Then when I showed the picture to my mother, she suggested it was a vegetable called “ou sun.” I had to check up ou sun (欧笋), or “celtuce” in English, and it does look like this! What’s more, I have seen the vegetable before in the Chinese supermarket here in Spain, but never knew what it was - now I finally know! The root/stem of the vegetable seemed to be sliced, and then twisted, blanched and marinated in a peppercorn sauce. This was so refreshing, crunchy, and flavorful. Now that I know the vegetable it’s made from, this is another one of the (many) dishes I encountered that I would like to learn how to make.
Along with our two cold plates, we were also served pickled roots, and these crunchy sweet-spicy fava beans. The pickled roots are actually tiny “lotus rootlets” - also identified by my mother! - about which I learned more about reading this very interesting article.
Our first hot dish was shrimp, butterflied with the shell still on, then topped with minced shrimp, decorated with slivered almonds, and then fried. So laborious!
And pretty. I would have liked that the shell of the shrimp was more crispy than chewy in this case, but the taste was shrimpy and satisfying.
Then we had another type of meatball soup (we had two meatball soups the night before at Xi’an Shanzhuang!). The broth was quite yellow.
Then there was an individual serving of a different soup, this time with coconut water and pork.
And finally, the zhu shi (主食) staple dish of noodles, biang biang mian today. It was okay - the noodles lacked a bite that I usually look for in pasta.
Hats off to my Xi’an team really knew how to treat me well! Like my other meals at Xi’an Shanzhuang, this meal was a beautiful journey of different tastes, textures, and preparations. My favorite were the cold plates of the tofu sachets and the blanched ou sun - delicate and light!
Chang’an Bridge restaurant, within the Grand Hyatt Hotel