Xi’an Famous Foods
photo Courtesy Xi'an Famous Foods
Restaurateur–entrepreneur Jason Wang should be exempt from ever buying another Father’s Day gift; he has already made his old man’s vinegar and chile-oil-based sauces famous via celebs Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern, who’ve featured Xi’an Famous Foods’ fast-casual Northern Chinese outposts on their programs. Wang’s genius isn’t just in exploiting the oversize flavors of his ancestral cuisine. Far more impressive is the rapid expansion the brand has undergone without a sacrifice in quality; from its flagship stall in Flushing’s Golden Mall, X’ian now proliferates throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. With so much Cantonese and Shanghainese food represented in Chinatown, Xi’an provides a bold, cumin-spiked alternative, serving up bulbous lamb or spinach dumplings in black vinegar, thick squares of wheat gluten tossed with roughly-chopped “cold skin” noodles, and bone-in nuggets of chilled lamb face served with an herb salad. And Xi’an’s sumptuous chopped pork and lamb “burgers,” with slow-simmered meat stuffed into griddled rice flour buns for $3.50, are cheap eats to rival any in the five boroughs.