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Feb 7, 2007 05:06 AM

Uighur/Xinjiang Food

I studied abroad in Beijing in 1993, and my friends and I used to frequent an area that all the foreign students called Uighurville. Stall after stall of Uighur food. I of course remember lots of lamb, a bread similar to Indian naan, and a noodle dish in a tomato-based sauce (not like marinara but lighter) with peppers and probably lamb as well.

I haven't had Uighur food since. I live in DC now, and we of course don't have a Uighur restaurant, but I'm going to be in NY Presidents Day Weekend, and I'm on a mission to find Uighur food as similar as possible to what I used to eat in Uighurville lo those many years ago.

I found these threads about Uighur food on this board:

I'm leaning toward A Fan Ti, but I'm wondering if anyone recognizes the style of food I described above (particularly that noodle dish; I dream of it) and can tell me if I'd find that sort of stuff at A Fan Ti or elsewhere. deetrane in the first thread mentioned that "nothing beats the food they served on the old Ganjiakou street in Beijing years ago, before they bulldozed it" (what?!). Is that Uighurville? I can't remember the name of the street for the life of me. Is there anything in NY that approximates that food?

Thanks in advance for anyone's help....

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  1. There are two Uighur restaurants. I haven't been to Arzu in Rego Park (Queens) and I didn't like Cafe Kashkar in Brooklyn. You might do better with Uzbek/Bukharian food, which has many overlaps in dishes. I recently wrote about Vostok, in Brooklyn, which is quite good, and Taam Tov, in midtown Manhattan is decent, but I believe only open for weekday lunch. Most if not all of the Bukharian places are kosher, so probably closed Friday nights and saturday day.I believe A Fan Ti is Northern Chinese. If you do a search on this board for Uighur you should see discussion of Kashkar & Arzu.

    There is an excellent Uighur restaurant in Montreal's Chinatown if you ever get there.

    "a noodle dish in a tomato-based sauce (not like marinara but lighter) with peppers and probably lamb as well."

    Geiro lagman, or just lagman if it's a soup.

    1. A Fan Ti Menu:

      A Sietsema classic:

      he states that the menu features uigur fare.

      1. I highly recommend A Fan Ti. It's the type of neighborhood place that might make you off-menu dishes, especially if you call ahead and tell them what you're looking for. I haven't seen that noodle dish you refer to there, but I can recommend the parsley with pepper (surprisingly good for something that sounds so simple), the lamb kidneys, the grilled lamb skewers (excellent), and the gizzards. Really everything is good there, though.

        1. there's a guy with a "traditional xinjiang barbecue" cart in flushing, at the big intersection where kissena blvd kind of branches off of main street. he grills lamb kabobs sprinkled with a spice mixture over charcoal for $1/piece, and they're very tasty - really fatty, smoky meat. not a restaurant, obviously, but it's good and the neighborhood itself is well worth a visit. take the lirr to the flushing main street station.

          4 Replies
          1. re: wleatherette

            There's also a kebab guy under the Manhattan Bridge, around Division or Forsyth.

            1. re: Peter Cherches

              is he any good? i tried the chicken once and it wa so kinda ehhh, but maybe i ordered the wrong thing

              1. re: Lau

                I just had one lamb kebab. It was pretty good, but I wouldn't make it a destination.

            2. re: wleatherette

              does anyone know what happened to the other barbecue stand? i have gone to the one on kissena, but i also went to one on sanford, and thought it was better. whenever i'm in the area, i look for it, but it's not there.

            3. Thank you all so much for your responses! I checked back a few times after I posted, and no one responded, so I stopped checking until today.

              I'm trying to decide now between A Fan Ti and Arzu. Thoughts? Does anyone know if Arzu is open Sunday nights?

              Peter, I know about that Uighur restaurant in Montreal's Chinatown and definitely want to try it the next time I'm there!

              4 Replies
              1. re: dracisk

                dracisk, Arzu is open on sundays and I believe they're open pretty late. If the noodle dish you refered to is soup (lagman) variety, they make excellent lagman. They also have excellent manti. It's BYO, if that matters to you.

                1. re: welle

                  Welle, is the Arzu menu in English? I'd like to try their fried pelmeni along with their lagman. Could you provide any necessary translations please ... ? TIA. : ) The weather has been unseasonably cool as of late,
                  and these kind of dishes are still game (for me at least). PLMK if you agree.

                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                    Cheeseboy, noodles is indeed a perfect dish for cold weather. Their menu is both in English and Russian. I have an old take-out menu from 2-3 years ago. On it, Lagman is listed under soups and is called "Uyghur hand-made Lagman (noodle soup with meat and vegetable)" and fried pelmeni are under Side dishes - "Fried pelmenis (ravioli)".

                    1. re: welle

                      Welle, thank you for that info. I can now feel completely comfortable (and prepared) walking through the doors of Arzu.
                      My approach will be this: I will point to the items on the menu that I want,
                      and I will use my charm (and good looks, ha) to lure the waitress over to my table. I assure you, unlike fellow chowhound Polecat, I will not be leaving without food. This is the United States of America, not the Soviet Union. Here, we're a little more civil to one another.

                      Polecat, I admire your determination! Arzu awaits your return. Shame on them!
                      Walk through those doors and give them a chance to redeem themselves.
                      If things don't go well, then, write them off. Your money can be expected elsewhere. Arzu's loss. As for the 'artful' waitress, one less gratuity, and one less "encounter" to be able to learn some English from an American. : )

                      Play it proudly --->