Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Love XinJiang Food.....

XinJiang has some amazing food. Most restaurants in XinJiang makes handmade noodle, often on the spot. Sometimes the chef would come out and make the noodle in front of you... so the noodles there are simply delicious! No wonder Marco Polo decided to bring XinJiang noodle back to Italy! (beginning of Spaghetti, did you know?)

So I was only there for ten days but I think I've covered a quite a bit of XinJiang food.... here we go.

1. XinJiang Laghman (手拉面)

This is a simple noodle dish but it is amazing! Some lamb meat, chopped vegetables and freshly handmade noodle. I had this noodle three times in Kashgar!!!!!

2. XinJiang Naan (新疆饼)

I wasn't overly excited about this, thinking ah, just another bread.... BUT I am so glad I tried because they are delicious, especially freshly made ones... the smell of sesame oil, and garlic... Mmm... Yum!

By the way, they are huge!! The one in this photo was about 40 cm in diameter - and yes I ate them all (there are two in the bag :-p )

3. XinJiang Da Pan Ji (新疆大盘鸡)

Literally can be translated as Big plate of chicken. It's one of the most famous dishes of XinJiang cuisine so I had to try it. My amazing Airbnb host (while staying with her in Urumqi) invited me for dinner and ordered it... So lucky she did because there is no way one person can finish this... this plate is usually shared with a group of friends!

This one comes with pi dai mian (皮带面) noodle - very yummy.

4. Kawap (烤羊肉串)

Basically Lamb skewers. I am not a big meat eater but I had to try.... They were ok for me but I am sure if you enjoy meat, you'd really enjoy them.

5. Polo (抓饭)

XinJiang pilaf cooked with lamb meat and some vegetables. Available at most restaurants in XinJiang and on the street.

6. XinJiang Samsa (烤包子)

A mixture of mutton, onions and spices encased in a thin, baked crust. Again, if you enjoy meat, these are great. I was looking for non-meaty ones but couldn't fine one... :-(

This is how they are made...

7. Zongza (粽扎)

XinJiang style Zong Zha... Sticky rice wrapped in a leaf. Often found at bazaars. Served with sweet sauce and sour yogurt. I must say this was NOT my favorite.

8. Ma Tang (麻糖)

Uyghur street food - they are made with nuts & honey. If I didn't have so many fillings in my teeth, I'd enjoy them more!

9. XinJiang Meat Pie (肉囊)

This was a treat from the restaurant I went - they were cooking this for the staff and gave me a slice to try. Crusty pie with lamb meat. Pretty good!

10. Uyghur Dumpling (羊肉包子)

Steamed dumplings. I really wanted to try the one with pumpkins but they weren't available - apparently they are only available during end of summer and beginning of autumn (which I thought was now but anyway).... I asked at a few restaurants but none of them seem to have them - so sad!

11. Hand pulled noodle in Soup / Beef Noodle (牛肉面)

So noodles are amazing in XinJiang - at pretty much any restaurants.

To give you an example, I walked into a random shop on the street in Turpan and ordered a beef noodle soup. It was 8 RMB (roughly $1.20) and they made the noodle on the spot as I waited.... The restaurant was very simple and no customer service at all BUT the noodle.... it was unbelievably GREAT!

12. Fruits 

XinJiang is also famous for fruits. I've tried the grapes, apples, pears, water melon, pomegranate, melon, dates and figs.... They were all good but my favorite: the figs!

13.  Noodle with Green peas (绿豆面)

Flat noodle in soup with green peas and other vegetables. 11 RMB for small servings and 58 RMB for a large. I thought small would be appetizer size so I ordered this and another noodle dish (also small size) but I was wrong - they were big.. like a family size noodle in Japan size.

14. Flat Noodle (面片炒面)

So this is the other "small" serving noodle I ordered together with above. 

15. XinJiang Sweets

On my first day in Urumqi, my Airbnb host welcomed me with these amazing looking XinJiang sweets.... Isn't she sweet? 

I only stayed with her for one night so I could't eat them all but I tried them all! 

Amazing how much I ate in just 10 days, isn't it!?

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