Food, Headline, Josh's Favorites, uyghurs »
Food, Headline, Picture of the Week, uyghurs »
If you ever have the chance to join a Uyghur celebration or be invited to a Uyghur home, chances are you’re going to run into a beautiful pyramid of fried, twisted noodles. Don’t be ashamed…go snap off a piece! It’s not like a wedding cake where you’re only supposed to admire it. It’s there to be eaten and Uyghur hosts are happy to see you enjoy yourself.
A small motor was quietly whirring on top of this small push cart as I approached it. The motor was spinning a deep tub of ice cream ingredients while the woman on the other side used a long wooden spoon to gently scrape the sides. The cart, set on four wheels, is essentially Xinjiang’s version of the Ice Cream Man. They may not make their way through the city neighborhoods beckoning children with the sound of “The Entertainer”, but they have their own unique style.
Back in the day my mom used to keep a box of frozen food known as “Hot Pockets” in the freezer ready to fight my insatiable appetite. It was never quite enough for a full meal, but it would keep me out of the kitchen long enough for her to cook a full-blown dinner. If I remember right there were different flavors like broccoli and cheese, chicken and cheese, beef and onions, and maybe even pepperoni pizza. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I don’t think they ever thought of adding “lamb” as a flavor.
In Spanish, it means “chicken”, but for the Uyghurs in Xinjiang it translates into a tasty plate of rice and lamb. I have no numbers to back this theory up, but I would venture to guess that this dish (which is also called “pollo”, “zhua fan” or even “pilaf”) is the most popular cuisine from the Uyghur culture. I’m sure anyone who has tasted it will agree with me – it’s some good stuff!
Every once in a while there rises from within an ethnic group a particular cultural characteristic that tends to represent the group as a whole. Interestingly it has a tendency to be food: burgers in America; pasta in Italy; rice in China. For the Uyghurs, a small ethnic group situated in this large province of China, it’s their bread…