"I keep thinking about that noodle," a friend said to me, days after I first introduced him to Xi’an Famous Foods. "I don’t think a noodle has ever done that to me before."
The menu at Xi’an (pronounced she-ahn) Famous Foods has both range and depth, boasting more than 30 items, including soups, burgers, and salads -- but what you really come here for is the noodles. Made fresh and hand-pulled before your very eyes, the noodles are up to 4ft long, thick as a belt, and covered with Xi’an Famous Foods’ house sauces -- a fragrant mix of soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, and chili oil. Not, in other words, for the dainty eater. Famous Foods serves Western Chinese street food, after all, and opened its first location in a subterranean food court in Flushing, Queens.
When Famous Foods recently opened its 10th location (on Kenmare St in Nolita) within walking distance of the Thrillist office, I was determined to eat single every item on the menu. If you’re like me, you’ve got your regular order -- mine, over the years, has been beef or lamb noodles, lamb dumplings in soup, and cucumber salad -- but I wanted to get to know the rest of the menu, beyond my usual. And after dozens of trips over the course of a couple months, I think I have it sorted out. Here’s everything on the Xi’an Famous Foods menu, ranked. Next time you go, try something new.