At Bespoke we’ve long been of the opinion that Xi’an is home to one of the most vibrant local food scenes in China. We will concede, though, that getting to the good stuff can take a bit of work: the city is celebrated for delicious but rough-and-ready street food stands and simple eateries that care little for English menus nor attentive service. With that in mind, we’re convinced that arranging a food tour is the best way get the best out of your precious eating time here. If you’re determined to go it alone, however, try these:
1. The Great (Free) Glass Elevator Ride
The glorious old heritage wing of the Okura Garden Hotel – formerly the ‘Cercle Sportif Francais’ – is well worth exploring however, many ignore the modern tower block stuck on the back. It does offer one wonderful gift: a glass elevator on the outside of the building that whizzes from the lobby to the 33rd floor, giving those inside wonderful views right across the rooftops of the former French Concession and across to the skyscrapers of Pudong. Even better, the staff doesn’t seem to mind outside guests bumbling about, as long as you keep it low key. The Okura Garden Hotel is at 58 Maoming Road. The elevator is open from 11 am.
2. Capsule Gallery
Just when we thought there were no cool bars left outside of Sanlitun, ARCH comes along. And happily, it’s the kind of place that could only exist in Beijing’s old town. Why? Because you get to experience the thrill of dodging security guards at the gate of one of Beijing’s most gorgeous old buildings in order to get to it.