Uyghur cuisine

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Uyghur polu (پولۇ, полу)

Uyghur cuisine (Uighur: ئۇيغۇر تائاملىرى, Uyghur Taamliri, Уйғур Таамлири; Chinese: 維吾爾菜; pinyin: Wéiwú'ěr Cài) is a cuisine of the Uyghur people, which is also consumed outside of Xinjiang. Signature ingredients include roasted mutton, kebabs, and rice.[1] Because of the Muslim population, the food is predominantly halal.

Xinjiang cuisine is found throughout much of China, as migrants from the region often open Xinjiang restaurants or food stands in other regions. The Herembagh (Uighur: ھەرەمباغ, Һәрәмбағ; Chinese: 海爾巴格; pinyin: Hǎi'ěr bā gé),[2][3] Yershari, Loulan, Tarhar, Ali Jiang, and many other franchises serve Uyghur cuisine.

Ethnic composition[edit]

Ethnic groups in Xinjiang meaning new territory originally Uyghuristan (East Turkistan) generally have traditionally cooking methods rooted by thousand of years from Karahan empire.

The Uyghurs form a large part of the population of (Xinjiang) Uyhguristan (East Turkistan), and so naturally their food dominates the region. Uyghur food is characterized by mutton, beef, chicken, goose, carrots, tomatoes, onions, peppers, eggplant, celery, various dairy foods and fruits. A Uyghur-style breakfast is tea with home-baked bread, smetana, olives, honey, raisins and almonds. Uyghurs like to treat guests with tea, nan and fruit before the main dishes are ready. a custom that was adopted from Han Chinese culture in the 19th century.[4]

Primary dishes[edit]

Kawaplar, lamb kebabs

Many Uyghur dishes are also found among other ethnic groups in Central Asia, and their food also shows Han Chinese influence.[5] In particular, the Han introduced many vegetables to the Xinjiang diet, with , "cucumber") and chäyza (茄子, qiézi, "eggplant").[6] Prestigious meals at urban Uyghur life events, such as wedding banquets, typically feature food cooked using Han techniques like so säy (from 炒菜, chǎocài, "stir-fry").[6] Chinese dining etiquette is also followed in Ürümqi: a meal will start with liang säy (凉菜, liángcài, "cold dishes") and issiq säy (热菜, rècài, "hot dishes") served family style.[6]


A common Uyghur dish is laghman or leghmen (لەڭمەن, ләғмән;[7][8] Shou La Mian, 手拉麵, shǒu lāmiàn, شِوْ لامِيًا), a noodle dish thought to have originated from the Chinese lamian – it has been noted that words that begin with L are not native to Turkic,[9][10][11] therefore "läghmän" is possibly a loanword from Chinese.[12][13][14] However, the flavor of leghmen is distinctively Uyghur. It is a special type of handmade noodle, made from flour, water and salt. The dough is divided into small balls and then stretched by hand. The noodles are boiled until very soft and then served topped with stir-fried meat and vegetables (bell peppers, chili peppers, cabbage, onions and tomatoes) in meat stock.[citation needed]


Another typical Uyghur dish is polu (پولۇ, полу; 抓飯, zhuāfàn, جُوَ فًا), a Xinjiang take on Pilaf, a dish found throughout Central Asia. In a common version of the Uyghur polu, carrots and mutton (or chicken) are first fried in oil with onion, then rice and water are added, and the whole dish is steamed. Raisins and dried apricots may also be added.[5]


Uyghur Samsa.

The bread commonly found in the Central Asia is a baked flatbread known as nan (نان, нан; , náng, نْا), using sesame seeds, butter, milk, vegetable oil, salt and sugar. Girde (Гирде) is also popular; it is a bagel-like bread with a hard and crispy crust. Sangza (ساڭزا, Саңза; 馓子, Sǎnzi, صًا ذِ) are crispy fried wheat flour dough twists, a holiday specialty. Samsa (Uighur: سامسا, Самса; Chinese: 烤包子; pinyin: kǎo bāozi, كَوْ بَوْ ذِ, literally: baked buns) are lamb pies baked using a special brick oven. Yutaza (يۇتازا, Ютаза; 油塔子, yóutiáozi, يِوْتِيَوْ ذِ) is steamed multi-layer bread. Göshnan (گۆشنان, Гөшнан; 饢包肉, náng bāo ròu, نْا بَوْ ژِوْ) are pan-grilled lamb pies. Pamirdin are baked pies with lamb, carrots, and onions stuffed inside.[15][16] Shorpa is lamb soup (شورپا, Шорпа; 羊汤, yáng tāng, يْا تْا). Other dishes include Toghach (a type of tandoor bread) and Tunurkawab (饢坑肉, náng kēng ròu, نْا كعْ ژِوْ).[citation needed]


Other dishes include soups made from lamb or chicken and Kawaplar (Uighur: كاۋاپلار, каваплар) (kebabs) made from lamb or beef. Kawaplar is seasoned with chili powder, salt, black pepper and cumin, and are eaten with the skewer parallel to the mouth, gripping the kebab closest to the end with one's teeth and sliding it off the pointed edge into one's mouth.

A popular dish in Xinjiang but one not of Uyghur origin is dapanji (大盤雞, dàpánjī, دَاپًا کِ, chong texse toxu qorumis, чоң тәхсә тоху қорумиси), which is literally translated as "big plate chicken." It is a spicy hot chicken stew served on a big plate and after the chicken has been eaten, wide flat hand-pulled noodles are added to the gravy. The dish gained popularity in the mid-to-late 1990s, and is said to have been invented in Shawan, northern Xinjiang, by a migrant from Sichuan, who mixed hot chili peppers with chicken and potatoes in an attempt to reproduce a Sichuan taste.[17]


Spices include cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Sultanas (raisins) and meat fat are also used for flavoring dishes.


Kvass served in a restaurant in Ürümqi, Xinjiang.

Beverages include Uyhgur black tea, Milk tea. Another common beverage is the locally produced Xinjiang ( new territory ) Uyghuristan black beer, known to be stronger in flavor than other local Chinese beers. It is shipped throughout China.[citation needed]

Grapes are grown in the Xinjiang region, which are used for wine production and other grape products. In Turfan, wine is an important part of the local economy and was known in the Tang dynasty. The wine, called museles, is commonly made and used by the locals and is also produced commercially for export outside the region.[18][19]


While it is different from Middle Eastern phyllo dough made baklava, the same appellation is used for Uyghur nut cake.[20][21] Dates, raisins, walnuts, and syrup are the ingredients of the nut cake.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Xinjiang Cuisine". All-China Women's Federation. 2006-04-10. Archived from the original on September 1, 2009. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
  2. ^ Byler, Darren (October 31, 2015). "The Uyghur Restaurant Chain Herembağ comes to America". - the art of life in Chinese central Asia.
  3. ^ Beige Wind (November 19, 2015) [10:00 am]. "Dispatches from Xinjiang: Uyghur Restaurant Eden Arrives in America to Mixed Reviews". Beijing Cream: A Dollop of China.
  4. ^ Schlee, Günther (ed.). Imagined Differences: Hatred and the Construction of Identity. LIT.
  5. ^ a b M Cristina Cesàro (2007). "Chapter 10, Polo, läghmän, So Säy: Situating Uyghur Food Between Central Asia and China". Situating the Uyghurs between China and Central Asia. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 190–192. ISBN 978-0-7546-7041-4. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  6. ^ a b c Cesaro, M. Cristina. "Consuming identities: food and resistance among the Uyghur in contemporary Xinjiang." Inner Asia 2.2 (2000): 225-238.
  7. ^ Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China. Artisan. 2008. pp. 135–. ISBN 978-1-57965-301-9.
  8. ^ Rachel Harris (23 December 2004). Singing the Village: Music, Memory and Ritual Among the Sibe of Xinjiang. OUP/British Academy. pp. 45–. ISBN 978-0-19-726297-9.
  9. ^ Martine Robbeets (24 July 2015). Diachrony of Verb Morphology: Japanese and the Transeurasian Languages. De Gruyter. pp. 224–. ISBN 978-3-11-039994-3.
  10. ^ Fuchs Christian; Lars Johanson; Éva Ágnes Csató Johanson (29 April 2015). The Turkic Languages. Routledge. pp. 204–. ISBN 978-1-136-82527-9.
  11. ^ Mark Janse; Sijmen Tol (1 January 2003). Language Death and Language Maintenance: Theoretical, Practical and Descriptive Approaches. John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 93–. ISBN 90-272-4752-8.
  12. ^ Ildikó Bellér-Hann (2007). Situating the Uyghurs Between China and Central Asia. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 192–193. ISBN 978-0-7546-7041-4.
  13. ^ Inner Asia. The White Horse Press for the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit at the University of Cambridge. 2000. p. 235.
  14. ^ Q. Edward Wang (26 January 2015). Chopsticks: A Cultural and Culinary History. Cambridge University Press. pp. 55–. ISBN 978-1-316-19436-2.
  15. ^ Minahan, James B. (2010). The Complete Guide to National Symbols and Emblems [2 volumes]. Vol. 1. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-313-34496-1. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  16. ^ Lin, Eddie (2013-05-15). "This is Food from the Edge of China: Uyghur Cuisine at Silk Road Garden in Rowland Heights". Los Angeles. Archived from the original on 2021-05-17. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  17. ^ M Cristina Cesàro (2007). "Chapter 10, Polo, läghmän, So Säy: Situating Uyghur Food Between Central Asia and China". Situating the Uyghurs between China and Central Asia. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 197–198. ISBN 978-0-7546-7041-4. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  18. ^ Abdurishid Yakup (2005). The Turfan Dialect of Uyghur. Harrassowitz. p. 161. ISBN 978-3447052337.
  19. ^ "Grapes of Wrath: Muslim wine ferments divisions in China". AFP. 4 June 2015.
  20. ^ Zhang, Liping (Nov 22, 2016). "Uyghur Entrepreneur Fights Prejudice One Nut Cake at a Time". SIXTH TONE.
  21. ^ Dou, Eva (Oct 31, 2016). "Alibaba's Flying Pig Travel Service Becomes Ethnic Flashpoint in China". The Wall Street Journal.
  22. ^ "Xinjiang entrepreneur donates 5 tons of nut cakes to quake relief efforts". 2014-08-09. Archived from the original on August 14, 2014.

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