Last weekend, I treated my parents to lunch at Xi’an Kitchen in the H-mart plaza. This restaurant opened four weeks ago and took over the spot that used to be Classic Guilin Rice Noodles. It is an offshoot branch of a similarly named restaurant in Milpitas that specializes in northern Chinese cuisine with Islamic influences.

Due to our frequent shopping at H-mart, we must have walked past this particular location a hundred times (if not more). We watched as it was slowly remodeled, decorated and filled with customers. My parents were curious enough about the food that they were able to relax their strict COVID-19 restrictions on eating out; at exactly noon on Sunday 9/12, we left the house for our first restaurant outing together since the pandemic began.

Since we were so late, my mom was afraid there would be no tables, but there were still plenty when we arrived at 12:20pm. Service was almost non-existent, but we managed to get by. Food ordering was done using a system where you scanned a QR code for your table and entered what you wanted online. During the course of the meal, we had almost zero interactions with any waiters.

We ordered two dishes: “pita bread soaked in lamb soup” and “braised chicken with potato and green pepper.” The lamb soup was mainly meant for my dad. Since he’s vegetarian, he delegated the lamb bits to my plate and ate the rest. Anyhow, he didn’t seem too pleased; not long after starting, he asked for a cup of hot water to dilute the soup. In the end, half of it was left unfinished. (As for the lamb bits, personally I enjoyed them a lot.)

The braised chicken came on a huge plate. The pieces of chicken were quite bony so I ended up using my hands to eat. It took some effort dissecting them all, but IMO it was worth it. The braised chicken plate also came with some super wide noodles. I had to stay away (due to my keto), but both my mom and dad seemed to like them very much. In fact, it was the only thing on the plate that was completely finished by the end of the meal.

Overall, we had a decent experience. However, we may not go back because parents thought the food was too oily. I liked it enough that I’m considering introducing the place to my friends, but the fact that the place is better suited for family style dining makes me hesitant.

Hi everybody. I like food, Broadway showtunes, Pokemon and LEGOs. Oh, and I also do a bit of programming occasionally.