Price Point: $3.50 for lamb with cumin powder in flatbread.
Why would anyone in his or her right mind look for a sandwich in Chinatown? What with all the other thousand delicious things in the area, sandwiches would seem like one of the last things to worry about. But there are exceptions to everything, and though I’m stretching the definition a sandwich a bit here, the flatbreads at Xi’an Cuisine (225 W Cermak Rd; 312-326-3171; xiancuisinechicago.com) deserve all the attention they can get.
The restaurant specializes in cuisine from China’s Shaanxi province, which basically means they have a way with dough, pulling it into some of the area’s best noodles, and transforming it into some astonishing flatbreads. Shaped into circles and griddled until slightly crisp on the outside, the innards remain soft and airy, making them, like a well made pita, absolutely perfect for stuffing.
Make sure to get the lamb with cumin filling, a deeply fragrant and appealing spicy mixture of chopped lamb and chiles. If you’re feeling up to it, drizzle on some of the restaurant’s dried red chile oil, a funky and haunting condiment, which I’d like to have around with me at all times. Plus, this delicacy is all yours for only $3.50? Talk about a deal.
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