XinJiang Dinner

An expat friend here once told me that his life in China was basically wasting time between big meals. While I wouldn’t say that is descriptive of my life, I can definitely relate. One of our most common recreational activities is eating out. There is just so much good food to be eaten, and at Chinese prices you can’t say no.

Last night I ate at a XinJiang people restaurant. XinJiang is China’s most Westerly province. It is harsh desert land and is populated by people descended from the Turks. They are also called Uyghur people. Uyghurs are Muslim and they are famous throughout China for their barbecue and meat dishes. You will not find pork in a XinJiang restaurant, but you will find amazing kebabs and beef & lamb.

I don’t have any pictures, but try to imagine this. The night air is cool, a welcome relief from the high temperatures we have been experiencing lately. We sit outside, where there are a few tables set up on the sidewalk. There is a speaker next to the table blasting Uyghur music – very reminiscent of Middle Eastern music. We are five people – three of which are known for their hearty appetites. (Two Chinese, One Brit, One Spaniard & One American.) Food is ordered on a very empty stomach – maybe not a good idea. Before long, the entire table is covered in food. (Literally!) A plate of empanada like bread pockets with lamb & onion inside. A plate of raw garlic. A plate of french fries XinJiang style (Fries covered in a popular spice mixture). A plate of lamb kebabs. A plate of stir-fried beef with chilies and vegetables. A plate of stir-fried lamb with vegetables. Another plate of stir-fried lamb with vegetables (but different from the other). A plate of deep fried lambchops. A plate of thinly sliced lamb with croutons (so much better than the description). A plate each of chewy noodles with vegetable topping. A plate of XinJiang bread. Tea and beer all around. Are you getting the idea that there was a lot of food?

What was interesting about eating in a XinJiang restaurant for me was that even though we were in China, with two Han Chinese and altogether three people who speak Chinese, there was still some communication problems. Uyghurs speak a different language entirely and may not be very fluent in Mandarin. It made no difference to me, since I speak neither Chinese nor Uyghur, but it seemed odd that our Chinese friends also had difficulty.

4 Stars for the XinJiang restaurant. Looks even better now that there is some sort of pig disease driving up the cost of pork in China.

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One Response to “XinJiang Dinner”

  1. super k Says:

    Oh man that sounds SO good! Word to my brothers the Uyghurs

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