Ningxia is a melting pot for chinese cuisine and drinks. I want to highlight a view of my favorites.
Babao Cha, or Eight Treasure Tea, is a Ningxia specialty. This is a tea that is sweeter than green tea and red tea. Across Ningxia you will find this tea served at most restaurants. You can even purchase Babao Cha from many tea shops. Babao Cha gets its name because it usually contains 8 ingredients. Some shops make their tea differently, but generally, Babao Cha includes: wolfberries, red dates, jasmine tea leaves, dried longan, and sugar.
Across Ningxia you will find many restaurants that specialize in la mian. La mian is made by pulling dough and allowing its weight to stretch the noodles. This dish is served in a bowl with broth. Many locals enjoy these noodles daily. La mien is also very popular during the winter.
Hot Pot is a popular cooking method that is found all across China. Hot Pot is prepared with a boiling pot of soup broth. The ingredients, which range from vegetables to meats, are then dropped in the boiling broth until they cook. This allows the added items to gain the flavor of the broth that they are being boiled in. There are many restaurants in Ningxia that provide this meal. This is also a meal that is commonly cooked in homes.
Jiaozi, or dumplings, is also a staple. Most restaurants have beef, lamb, and pork jiaozi. However, there are some restaurants that make their own stuffing combinations. Making jiaozi is truly an art. The way in which jiaozi is made varies from restaurant to restaurant. Styles for folding jiaozi often vary between families and generations, so you are guaranteed to see many different ways in which jiaozi is folded.
Hand Mutton is lamb ribs that have been boiled. It looks similar to a rack of ribs from your favorite bar-b-que restaurant. The ribs are sliced and served on a plate. The lamb is very tender and usually falls right off of the bone. This meat is best enjoyed by dipping in vinegar. Ningxia is known to have some of the best hand mutton in all of China.