Although Xining is in Qinghai and technically a part of old Tibet the city is filled with many of the Hui Minority (Huizu means Hui people in mandarin). One day we went out to walk around town and ended up in front of the cities biggest mosque, we had heard how beautiful it was so we wanted to go inside. Unfortunately it was during one of the prayer times and only muslim men are allowed in them. We talked to the gate guard and said in a few words or less "asalam aleichem and mohammed" and he let us go in. It felt sort of like trespassing and violating the people praying there but soon enough we saw kids playing around and other people walking and not praying so we felt a bit better.
Hui people eat a lot of mutton dishes. It may be strange to think of chinese food with sheep as most dishes back in the states are beef, pork or chicken. Hui food is a very different type of chinese food, but one I love.
Mian pian and blood sausage kebabs. I loved eating in Xining because the food was so tasty and so cheap. Mian pian is made from a shaved noodle boiled and then thrown together with some vegetables and a little meat. The sauce gives it almost a soup like consistency but not fully.
this isn't muslim food but I love it anyways. It's almost like a burrito. you take this flour tortilla like bread and wrap it with various vegetables (or meats) and eat it in a rolled up way. When I lived in DC I used to frequent this small chinese restaurant in georgetown that would make a similar dish to this but with rice. I loved it then and I loved it here.
3am hotpot. After being taken to a bar to meet some people (and then having all are drinks bought for us because we were foreigners) we went to hotpot afterwards. I love the idea of hotpot but I never fully love eating it, something is always sort of missing from the meal. At this hotpot we ordered cowballs. I prefer rocky mountain oysters to the chinese style of cow testes.