China's ancient city of peace and spices

Rising some 12m above the ground and stretching 14km round the city, Xi'an’s 600-year-old city wall gives a good view of the older parts of the city below. The top spans more than 10m wide, accommodating cyclists, runners and walkers all at once.
Rising some 12m above the ground and stretching 14km round the city, Xi'an’s 600-year-old city wall gives a good view of the older parts of the city below. The top spans more than 10m wide, accommodating cyclists, runners and walkers all at once. PHOTO: LESLIE KOH
Xi'an is one of the oldest cities in China, and was a capital for no fewer than 13 dynasties - including that of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of a united China.
Xi'an is one of the oldest cities in China, and was a capital for no fewer than 13 dynasties - including that of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of a united China.PHOTO: LESLIE KOH

XI'AN (CHINA) - Just about every other dish in Xi'an, it seems, is packed with chilli. The pao mo (leavened bread torn up and dunked into a meaty broth) swims in a crimson layer of heat.

Peppery flakes dot the lamb kebabs. Even the roujiamo - the Chinese city's equivalent of kong ba pao - is spicy.

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