CHINA (SHAANXI PROVINCE)
Instead of updating my review from 2010 with new information, I have decided to throw it out and start fresh with Xi'an, which now is an empire of six locations. As far as I know, the quality at each place has remained surprisingly consistent to the original, which you see below.
My go to dish is sort of their signature, the spicy cumin lamb noodles ($7.25, below). You are pretty much guaranteed happiness with any order containing their wonderful cumin lamb. After a few bites, lips start tingling and smiles start broadening, the flavors within are so deep. The thick heavy homemade noodles are all entangled and make for a challenge with the cheap wooden chopsticks on offer, as it all is ready to splash down in a puddle of spicy oily goodness.
Compared to the cumin lamb, the lamb meat soup ($4.75, below) is for me not as exciting, but I wanted to try something deviating from my normal orders. The glass noodles are not as pleasing to the teeth and tongue either, but a general rule may be to never mix cumin and non-cumin dishes, as the overwhelming tastes of the former will always make the latter less flavorful.
Well-known now by students in the genre of cheap eats is the spicy cumin lamb burger ($3.25, below), which sits besides $1 pizza and Mamoun's Falafel as some of the cheapest way to get your stomach full on a budget. This would certainly be my pick of the three though, blowing both of the others out of the water.
The noodles are all of course made in house, and you can enjoy the spectacle of this at some of their locations (Chinatown below). The thick noodles are always so fresh in anything you order.
For experience alone, the original underground location in Flushing's Golden Shopping Mall food court is still the best, to sit amongst stalls from other delicious food vendors as well. Extra stomachs will become necessary. The three locations I have visited are listed below:
Golden Shopping Mall Food Court
41-28 Main Street
67 Bayard Street
EAST VILLAGE Manhattan
81 St. Marks Place