How do you express the feeling when you haven’t been home for 5 years, and then you return?
It’s kinda hard to describe, but I found myself smiling more every meter I moved towards my home.
I was born and raised until 11 years old in Xi’an, China. This is a city of history, being the capital for China up until the Qing dynasty. My parents and I emigrated to Canada in 2006, when I had to say goodbye to lots of my friends and my grandparents.
Miraculously, our group of friends managed to keep in touch. However, the last time I had came back was 5 years ago, before university started.
I was excited, and nervous.
I wondered if they had changed, like me.
As usual, I worried too much. The guys hasn’t changed despite the years passed, and everyone clicked just like I never left. We quickly reverted back to who we were 11 years ago, when everyone was 11 years old.
Few days after I had arrived, we had decided to have dinner in Muslim Street (回民街) in Xi’an. As I understand it, the whole place is filled with halal shops and delicious food. My friends warned that it’d be crowded, but I wasn’t prepared for it at all, it really was crowded.
The photos says it all, I was a good head taller than most people, so I had great views of the shops, the vendors, and the products. Whole lamb, skewers, various fresh juices, bread, beef buns.. You name it, they had it (except pork), and my mouth is watering just thinking about this place.
This is the place we chose, it’s Lao Si Fang (老四坊), which literally translates to 4th oldest’s place. It’s what we call a skewer-skewer (串串) shop, or spicy hotpot (麻辣烫) in the more traditional sense. The items to put into the hotpot is all self-serve, and they have a wide array of stuff on skewers, from the more traditional lamb meat, to weirder stuff like quail eggs.
The heart of these hotpot stuff is your little bowl of sauces. My favorite is always sesame oil and sauce (tahini), with some minced garlic and marinated chives. This bowl here also had some fermented tofu in there for that umami. Yum.
I only got 2 good candid shots of the 6 people subgroup, Sebastian and Yun-fei respectively. We’ve always crowned Sebastian as the best looking dude of our little group, shame I didn’t get a chance to do a full photoshoot with him.
I really missed proper Xi’an food, and this meal hit the spot just right.
Couple more street shots before we headed off to a internet cafe to play some more PUBG.
To be continued!