A delightful mosaic of Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and Chinese flavours
One of the most exciting things dining out is trying the regions’ cuisine. One restaurant that particularly stands out is Efendi Uyghur Restaurant located along Kingsway (1345 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5V 3E3).
Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group that occupies the Xianjing region in northwest China, along the Silk Road. The region shares borders with Russia, Mongolia, Pakistan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Tibet.
Uyghur food is a delightful mosaic of Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and Chinese flavours. As the Uyghur people live in a desert environment and is furthest away from the sea, they don’t have seafood on their menu, but instead consists of dishes with lamb, beef, and chicken.
Uyghur food is as simple as it is complex.
The appetizer we started with was the Lampung, a cold noodle salad in a spicy and slightly sour sauce, garnished with cilantro. Refreshing with a great kick to it, this dish was preparing our palates for the following dishes.
Samsa was the next dish to arrive. Samsa is oven baked dumplings with ground lamb and onion. These dumplings were generously stuffed in the thin bread shell with the juicy cumin seasoned lamb.
The next dish was the Polo, lamb served with braised rice pilaf made with carrot, onion, and raisins. This dish was served with a Uyghur carrot salad on the side. The lamb was fall-off-the-bone tender and the pilaf was surprisingly good. It was savoury and sweet and married well with the lamb. The carrot salad was sweet, tangy, and had a bit of heat to it.
Petir Manta is the steamed version the dumplings with the seasoned lamb enveloped in a thin skin.
Each of us was then served a bowl of Legmen. It’s a delicious bowl of stir fried beef and vegetables on handmade long noodles. The noodles had a lovely bounce it them and soaked up the spiced beef and vegetable sauce. There was a a little bit of heat to this dish that wasn’t overpowering.
Chicken Korema came shortly after. This dish was a braised chicken stew with potato and chili sitting atop flat hand pulled noodles. It was hearty and had a gentle heat to the dish.
The final item to arrive was the Uyghur lamb kebabs. It was tender and seasoned well with a touch of smokiness to it.
If you’re looking to try something new at Chopsticks Fest, be sure to check out Efendi Uyghur Restaurant. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported into this wonderful region of China.