Monday, March 12, 2012
If your taste buds share the same characteristics as mine--and I can only assume that they do--then you have a natural proclivity for sweet tastes and mushy textures. Yes? Good. Because friends, do I have some good news to share: behold the Shi Zi Bing (柿子饼) (fried persimmon cake).
The fried persimmon cake is a specialty in Xi'an and is, by far, one of the most addictive street foods I've eaten in China. The cake is made of a persimmon dough stuffed with a variety of different pastes, including osmanthus, peanut, black sesame, and more. The dough is flattened into a disc (perhaps the diamter of an American silver dollar, except about an inch high) and then fried. They are best eaten shortly after cooking when they are still hot. These things are amazing. They have a very thin crispy layer on the outside from the frying, but the inside is all mush and goo. The dough is soft and glutinous, while the paste on the inside oozes out as soon as you penetrate that inner wall. It's sweet (fruity sweet, not sugary sweet), gooey, and warm. One will cost you about 2 yuan. Something that delicious for such a good price means that I went back for seconds, thirds, and fourths. If I stayed in Xi'an any longer, I am sure I would have had many, many more. The Shi Zi Bing are available in many places in the city, but the best place to look is in the Muslim quarter behind the Drum Tower.