Mazhong Snack Centre

Hawker in Xining

Stalls selling local and regional specialities line this bustling indoor food court. Miànpiàn (面片, flat noodle pieces) and chǎodāo xiāomiàn (炒刀削面, stir-fried spicy noodles) are popular choices, or you can line up a plate of lamb with onion and rice (羊肉洋葱炒米饭; yángròu yángcōng chǎomǐfàn; ¥16). This is an easy option for those with limited Mandarin skills, as pointing is the order of the day.

Before you order, approach the counter in the middle of the hall, hand over some cash and get a refillable card to use at the stalls or use WeChat Pay at each outlet. Return the card for a refund of the leftover money when you leave.