Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Zhangye city/张掖 is one of the important city marked along Silk Road China. Situated at Gansu Province, Zhangye old name is “Ganzhou” from which name Gansu Province is derived. Zhangye was developed very early due to the superiority of the geographical and favorable environmental location. Zhangye is located geographically at the crossroad of Silk Road, middle of Hexi corridor, leading to the plateau in Qinghai and Xizang to the south, to the Mongol desert in the north, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the west, linking up central Asia and Europe. It is a famous commercial port on the Silk Road and one of the biggest international trade market.

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Marco Polo Statue

When we arrived in Zhangye city, we saw a foreigner statue standing tall at the European style avenue, also known as West Street in Zhangye. The statue was there to mark the few hundred years of anniversary of the arrival of this cultural ambassador for his recognition of his contribution for bringing Chinese culture to the West. Hence the avenue is now named after Marco Polo Avenue. Marco Polo stayed in Ganzhou/Zhangye nearly a year.

A little background of Marco Polo, he was born in Venice in an Italian merchant family. He started his travel at a very young age, early teen.  He was a famous explorer who spend 17 years in China. When he went home to Italy, he wrote a book about his travel abroad, what he saw and encountered.  (To be exact, Marco Polo did not write the book of China, he was in prison for a while and told story about his travel in far east to the guy who were at the same cell with him, the guy happened to be a writer.  The writer actually written down all the interesting thing Marco Polo described to him.  Marco Polo was a very intelligent and observant person, he had strong interest in knowing how local people live, such as what they eat and wear. His book has inspired many other explorers and traveler to find out about China.

Marco Polo and the Pizza Story

Our guide told us the origin of the pizza is coming from China not Italy.  During Marco Polo stay in Zhangye, he tasted “naan”, the bread made by the ethinic Uyghur people. When he left Zhange and gone back home, he missed “naan” very much so he describe to his servant about “naan” and asked them to make for him but the servants put lots of other different topping on top and called it pizza 🙂  This is what people believe in Zhangye!

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Where we stopped for our meal is, very near to Marco Polo Avenue.  The place look like a busy place. It has plenty of shops and restaurants and hotels. I am sure it is an energetic downtown in Zhangye. You will notice the buildings here are unlike anywhere else you see in China, the buildings were built with Venetian Gothic style. I heard people in Zhangye are proud of Marco Polo stayed here for a year 🙂

Wooden Pagoda Temple

Wooden Pagoda Temple in Zhange was built-in early 557-588 AD and was being renovated several times during the different dynasties. This pagoda is nice-storey tall with a unique octagon shaped. The one thing that make Wooden Pagoda Temple so unique from other pagodas because no nails were used in the whole structure. If you go up to the top of the pagoda, you will see the stunning view of the whole Zhangye city which include the Qilian mountain.

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Zhangye Cuisine

You will notice the main food in Zhangye is flour. Most of our meals are served with Chinese white bun and pulled noodles soup.  There are usually 10 dishes for a round table of 10 people.  White bun and rice are also included in the meals, excluding the 10 dishes.

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Before we entered to our private dining room, there is a super big picture with the ancient Chinese words. I could not recognize many of the words in the picture even though I learn Chinese for half of my life.

Mutton with Noodles/靖远羊羔肉

This is an important dish in Zhangye.  The mutton tasted awesome together with the chewy noodles.  A perfect combination as the noodles gotten all the good taste from the mutton.

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Steaming Pot Chicken 汽锅鸡汤 

This dish used a lot of Chinese herb and medicine cook for hours together with chicken. The origin of this dish is coming form Yunnan, China.

Deep Fried Pork Rib

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Fish with Sweet and Sour Sauce

The fish was very appetizing but the little bones are just too many to handle.  The fish was deep friend before pouring with the sweet and sour sauce.  Since this is river fish, the river taste is still very strong after deep-fried but a lot better compared to steam fish.

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Albino leeks with Chicken

Wrap the chicken and albino leeks with the white bun to eat together.

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Fry Mushroom with Pork

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Green Vegetables

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Pumpkin with colorful sprinkles

The pumpkin tasted very sweet but can do without the sprinkles.  I thought it was a dessert when the dish arrived at our table.

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Chinese Cabbage with Tanghoon noodles

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Xiao Bai Cai Vegetables with Mushrooms

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Pulled Small Noodles Soup

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Melon Carving

Melon Carving is a traditional art on the table in Zhangye cuisine, Gansu.

Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine

Final thoughts :

Zhangye City is one of the important route in Silk Road, there are several places you can visit in Zhangye, such as the Dafo Temple which was built thousand years ago and Zhangye Danxia Colorful mountains which was formed million years ago.  Both are just stunning and one should not missed it while you are in Zhangye.

Nearby Attraction along Silk Road :

 

46 Replies to “Silk Road China : Zhangye City and Marco Polo and Zhangye Cuisine”

  1. The authentic food looks delicious, this is always such a cool place to visit, I am glad you enjoyed your time there!

    ~xo Sheree
    poshclassymom.com

  2. Wow! The place is really awesome and the detail of architecture is amazing. Loved the food it looks yummy and very delicious.

    1. Dear Emma,
      Thanks for your comment. Zhangye City look a bit European as the architecture in the downtown are build in Venetian style, quite interesting to be found in China.

    1. Dear Divya,
      Thanks for your comment. One of the thing we look forward when we travel are the food. Through different cuisine, we get to learn more about their life and culture.

    1. The soup from the steaming pot chicken tasted awesome with all the essense & flavor from the herbs and Chinese medicine. I think the origin of the steaming pot chicke is from Yunnan, southern part of China. Glad that the dish served in Gansu, north of China during our visit to Zhangye City.

    1. Dear Nicole,
      Thank you for your comment. Zhangye city is a must stop in Silk Road, please spend some time to explore Danxia colorful mountains and Dafo temple too.

    1. Dear Hill,

      Marco Polo spent about 17 years in China and one year in Zhangye City, the city of international port along Silk Road route. Hence a huge white marble statue was built in the middle of downtown Zhangye to commemorate him.

  3. Wow! The foods really caught my attention, all of them looks so delicious! Totally wanna try the deep fried pork ribs.

  4. Me and my friends had been to this place and I would say foods are truly rich and tasty! The trip was not that easy because of language barrier but overall it was all fun.

    1. Dear Eliza,
      Yes, language barrier would be one of the key issue here. Most people lives in Zhangye could not speak English. We were lucky, we are able to speak Chinese/Mandarin since we also learn Chinese in Singapore. Probably Chinese the most important language after English! Not forgetting Spanish – also most speak language in the world.

  5. I have never actually heard of this place, but you’ve taken me on a trip there, especially via the food! Nice post.

    1. Dear thetripwishlist,
      Thanks for your kind comment. The food offered in Silk Road Gansu are mainly beef and mutton with the roasting, steaming, and braising. Glad I have tasted most of the iconic dish here.

    1. Dear Katie,
      The Chinese Food in China are different in every region. The Chinese food in Gansu or Silk Road region are more oily and used more mutton and beef as compared to the South where pork and chicken or duck are main.

  6. This post is fully loaded with deliciousness. Yum! The pizza story got me thinking though. Was wondering how true that is. To think I have always thought pizza was from Italy.

  7. What fun, K! Thanks for taking us with you. I’ve really enjoyed reading this one!! It is fascinating to learn about Pizza and how they honor Marco Polo. Truly, this traveling tradesman has made a large impact on the people of his day. He continues to be an inspiration today for all. ❤️ xo, Evelyn, PathofPresence

    1. Dear Elizabeth,
      Zhangye city is located along Silk Road, in the middle of Hexi Corridor, it has a great location for ancient Silk Road, also act as an international trade center. You get to see a lot of west influence in the city.

  8. The other day I was reading about the silk road and I thought about the culinary side of it. I think my prayers have been answered and it’s a good sign, I’m been wanting to go to this place for years!

    1. Dear Lyosha,
      Thanks for your comment. Wow, it is so great that your husband is able to cook Chinese food. You are so lucky and can just order whatever you feel like eating!

    1. Dear Preet,

      There are plenty of reasons to visit China, their breathtaking landscape, the two thousands years of culture and many other more. Silk Road is very attractive if you are thinking of doing China tour, also for people who has done few China Trip, this would be an indepth China tour.

  9. what a na amazing and ducational article! I have heard of Marco Polo and the fact that the Italian Spaghetti are a version of chinese noodles but I didn’t know about pizza! Also all the local food looks absolutely delicious.

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