Urumqi's culinary culture is rich and unique, a nice break from your typical Chinese fare. Of course, you can still find lots of typical Chinese food including Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine, but the local ethnic food and snacks are very tasty and very hot! Uigur, Mongolian, and Hui minority cuisine will all make your mouth water!
As both the Uigur and Hui minorities are Muslim, pork is rare in Xinjiang. Only Han Chinese eat pork here. It is therefore, important to remember to respect this tradition and remember that most meat served to you will either be mutton, beef, chicken or possibly duck. Xinjiang cuisine really excels at the preparation of mutton and Mutton Kebabs are popular throughout China. Other typical Xinjiang dishes include Lamian noodles, Nan bread, and Uigur rice.
Mutton Kebabs (Kaoyangrouchuan) can be found anywhere on the
streets of any city or small market town throughout Xinjiang.
Migrants from Xinjiang have made these
kebabs famous throughout the rest of China's major cities but
naturally, the best, most authentic kebabs are only available in
Anyone who has traveled throughout China
has seen the kebab vendors with their long metal stands filled with
hot embers and a pile of uncooked meat on sticks. The meat is cooked
over the heat with the vendor fanning the embers to quicken
The kebabs are then seasoned with spice
powder (either spicy or not spicy) and served. One kebab is not more
than a mouthful. Prices can range from between RMB1 to RMB2 per kebab.
Lamian noodles, known in Chinese as Lamian or Lamiantiao are
popular with many ethnic groups both in Xinjiang and the rest of
China. The name 'Lamian' means 'pulled noodles'.
The noodle dough is pulled in a special
way to create thinner and thinner strings of dough, and finally,
noodles! Then the noodles are boiled quickly and various ingredients
are added, including oil, mutton pieces, cooked tomato and chili
Sometimes the noodles are stir-fried
along with these ingredients, which can only be described as a totally
different, yet equally delicious taste.
Nan or Nang in Chinese is the staple bread of Xinjiang cuisine. It
is a crucial part of the Uigur diet. The word 'Nan' originates from
the Persian language, and this type of bread is popular throughout the
Arabic and Middle Eastern World.
While there are different varieties of
Nan in Xinjiang, this bread is basically made by sticking dough to the
inside wall of an extremely hot oven and then after a few minutes,
removing the cooked bread. The shape of the bread is typically round,
flat and golden brown.
Other varieties include Oil Nan (Younang),
Sesame Nan (Zhimanang), and Mutton Nan (Rounang), etc
call this dish 'Uigur Rice', but it's name in Chinese is Zhuafan.
In English, this actually means 'grabbed rice' for the fact that you
can eat it with your hands.
The main ingredients are rice cooked in
mutton broth with spring onion, carrot, and a piece of mutton (or
beef, chicken, duck meat instead) placed on top of the rice.
Sometimes, raisins or almonds are also added for a little extra
This dish is actually quite rich, but
it's richness gives it an undeniably delicious flavor. This rice will
not only fill you up, it'll give you lots of energy and leave a
delicious aftertaste in your mouth.