Xi’an Sizzling Woks (the restaurant formerly known as Xi’an Famous Food) Now Has a Huge Noodley Menu


In May I noticed that a new restaurant opened in Chinatown serving a very unique style of Chinese cuisine from the Xi’an. I noted that the name of the restaurant “Xi’an Famous Food” made me think they were related to the popular Xi’an Famous Food locations in New York City, however on my visit I was told there was no relation. Soon after, the original Famous Food contacted the Philly restaurant and asked them to change their name to avoid an infringement suit. The change has happened and the new name is Xi’an Sizzling Woks. Since that first visit, the 10 item hand printed menu has expanded to a vast noodley menu that I had to explore.

Wontons in chili oil (hot appetizer section, $4.95) are a very different version that those served at local Szechuan joints like Han Dynasty, these are much larger and thicker, but no less enjoyable; more like the wontons found in wonton soup. Spicy chili oil, scallions, and sesame seeds covered these pork filled packages.

Shanghai bokchoy with green soy beans (cold vegetable appetizer section, $5.50) is a good cooling snack to munch on in between spicy bites of everything else.

The Chef Recommendation section of the menu is a good place to get to know. The new menu includes a good amount of dishes you could find elsewhere. But the Chef’s recs are the best place to order the real Xi’an style plates. This is where to find the signature Xi’an liang pi noodles. No picture, since they were exactly the same as when I tried it on my first visit- spicy, slippery, almost as good as the  NYC Xi’an Famous Foods version.

The spicy sour minced pork noodles ($6.95) was served in a large bowl with spaghetti sized noodles and a “hot and sour” style broth. The menu did not indicate this was a soup and I was expecting something different, though I enjoyed the layered flavors of the soup.

We noticed an intriguing plate of noodles on the table next to us and our waiter explained it was the Sauteed spicy chicken and noodle plate, “good for a group,” he said. The giant plate of noodles is definitely not for one person and was the most expensive thing we ordered at $16.95. The noodles were insanely wide and thick, and were unevenly torn which leads me to believe they were made in house. Under the noodles, a spicy sauce with hints of curry. On top of the noodles, pieces of moist chicken on the bone and potatoes. I loved this; noodles like this are so fun to eat. I doubt you could find anything else like this in Philly.

There still remain a whole slew of dishes that sounds amazing to me, especially under the Chef’s recommendations. Maybe the Biang Biang noodles with garlic sauce next time?  Other notes: they do take out and delivery, are BYO, and finally have a working website with online ordering. There is a lunch special menu with everything under $8 but it did not include any Xi’an style plates so I wouldn’t recommend ordering from it.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • I love spicy noodles
  • Real Xi’an food in Philly

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I hate carbs and spice
  • I don’t like people who steal names

Xi’an Sizzling Woks (fka Xi’an Famous Foods), 902 Arch Street, 215 925 1988 

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5 Comments

  • Other Xi’an knock offs have done much worse with their naming: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/chinger-elmhurst?select=AeuRFy9xNNKEVPz3gC42Ig#9NryldsugNq-X4TOHOXbgg

    Speaking of Elmhurst, a favorite of mine, Uncle Zhou’s has that chicken dish which it calls simply “big tray of chicken.” Worth checking out: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/uncle-zhou-restaurant-elmhurst?select=z8w16TMvSmXWZyn1Ll_hfA#5KTT2mbrkITKS7ZYnxMSVg

  • That looks very similar. I had forgotten about Uncle Zhou’s but remember hearing about it a while back. Bookmarked.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    “The spicy sour minced pork noodles ($6.95) was served in a large bowl with spaghetti sized noodles and a “hot and sour” style broth. The menu did not indicate this was a soup and I was expecting something different, though I enjoyed the layered flavors of the soup.”

    Same thing happened to me a couple months ago, but I was also still pleased with the product. No offense, but now I feel better knowing that you had the very same experience!

    I definitely remember the hand-written menus on ragged scraps of paper.

    I’ve been here about four times since my first visit in May. Xi’an is one of my favorite places in the city. Now that I finally start the best-paying job of my life next week (even though it’s in North Jersey, and I’ll only be home in Philly 2 or 3 days a week), I plan to eat my way through their entire menu soon!

    My daughter (and I!) would love that sauteed spicy chicken and noodle plate…

  • Jay, I love that you are practically a regular there! Any dishes I missed?

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      In a couple of years, after I begin showing up every other Saturday, I’m gonna see if they’ll name a table after me. Heh.

      It looks like we’ve tried most of the same things, and you may have actually eaten more there than I have since I haven’t gotten into the appetizers yet. Though those wontons look great!

      I’m probably going to take my sister and her kids there next month, so that’ll give us an opportunity to try a few more of the dishes and appetizers not noted here. I’ll definitely follow up on the results.

      My oldest niece, at 13, is a rather adventurous eater who will at least try anything I do, which is amazing! Now if only I could get my 16-year old daughter to step out of her comfort zone a bit more…

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