**Xian Taste has closed as of May 2021. The owner said he might sell his recipes to another local restaurateur. Fingers crossed! We'll update here if so.**
Xian Taste is takeout spot in Honolulu famous for Rou Jia Mo (aka Chinese burgers with beef, pork, or lamb) and traditional Chinese street food snacks.
Welcome to Xi’an Taste! I'm so happy this place opened (it opened in early 2019). It was very hard to find great Xian food in Hawaii before this.
The menu is short and delicious. Order at the counter for takeout. There are a few tables inside if you prefer to devour your order on the spot. The owner is really sweet and helpful with answering any questions if you're not familiar with a dish.
The most famous menu item here? Rou Jia Mo aka Chinese hamburger. Housemade flaky bun stuffed with spiced and braised lamb, just enough chili pepper heat, cilantro all over...it is heavenly! More on that below.
My mom and I started visiting Xi’an Taste right after they opened. Then we started bringing in dad and grandma. And now we often place larger catering orders when we have family dinners or go to potluck parties.
We get a dozen or two dozen Rou Jia Mo that we can assemble at home. Toast the buns, stuff the braised lamb inside and eat! It's like fun DIY dinner, with all the parts prepared...no need to do dishes tonight ^_^
Xi’an Taste is located inside Ohana Hale Marketplace, a big indoor marketplace with individual vendors selling everything from food to clothes and electronics.
In Hawaiian, Ohana means family and Hale means home.
Locals know Ohana Hale Marketplace as the "old Sports Authority" (as this space was home to Sports Authority for over two decades).
There are many vendors here and it can feel overwhelming, but we have a few go-to spots:
- Xi'an Taste - featured in this post!
- Ganesh Dosa - for dosas!
- At Sushi - reservations are a must! This tiny sushi spot is the true definition of a hidden gem. Here's a little view from the counter. Our family loves this spot and we visit often.
What To Order
Pork, Beef, or Lamb Burger
This is the must-get dish! It's called "Rou Jia Mo", but you can just order it as pork, beef, or lamb burger. Which meat to get? Lamb! Lamb is the most popular and still my favorite meat when it comes to Rou Jia Mo.
The lamb is braised with lots of cumin, star anise, soy sauce, and green peppers. It's saucy and so robust. The shredded meat gets tucked into a swirly flaky bun. The bun is layered and crisp, baked golden, and makes the perfect "pocket" for the meal. Devour hot with both hands!
The pork and beef are also very, very delicious, but I love lamb the best ^_^
One is a snack and two is a meal. Also fun to get one lamb and one pork or beef and compared them side by side.
Liangpi / Cold Skin Noodles
Refreshing and ideal for hot Hawaii days. Housemade noodles are super slippery chilled. Tossed with a spicy black vinegar sauce, fresh cucumbers, and wheat gluten (so good!) They put the sauce on the side so you can toss it yourself when you get home (otherwise the noodles get soggy). Sometimes I get this plus one lamb bun for a big lunch.
Another chilled and refreshing dish. Seaweed and peppers and a bit of vinegar tang. A good side dish to go with anything you're ordering.
Zhou Black Duck Series
It's all about the duck! Every part of the duck. Wings, neck, head, paw, and feet. Marinated in soy sauce and five spice, served at room temperature and sold by the pound. Everyone goes crazy for this.
They also have chicken feet if you prefer chicken over duck. Put on plastic gloves and dig in. Can get messy but it is well worth the effort. We often order an extra pound to take home for snack the next day.
There's lots of free parking right in front of the Marketplace.
We often place large orders for family dinners/gatherings. Call in your orders the day before (I always try to give at least 24 hours notice). Everything is made in house and they often sell out.
Less than a two-minute drive away is The Rice Factory, it's our favorite place to buy rice! Also nearby is Hamada General Store for local plate lunch. Ala Moana Center is just a five minute drive away. If you're here on a Saturday, make sure to check out the Kaka'ako Farmers Market - it's close enough to walk ^_^
Xi’an Taste: Info
- Xi’an Taste | Ohana Hale Marketplace, 333 Ward Ave #177, Honolulu, HI 96814 | 808-382-1865
- Price (approximate): Pork/Beef/Lamb Burgers $5.20-8.30, Duck wing, neck, etc is $12-24 per pound
- Hours: Monday-Saturday (10am-6pm), Sunday (Closed)