Wednesday Wanderings: Uighur Food of the Kashgar Night Market
If you’ve never woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of your own screams after suffering traumatic, reoccurring dreams the revolve around mutton fat, then you haven’t spent too much time in the Xinjiang province of Western China. From the first day of my arrival in Kashgar, I knew something was amiss. I had finally arrived in China, one of the world’s great culinary titans, famed for its robust variety in ingredients and cooking techniques—but all anyone seemed to be eating was lamb kebabs. Twice a day. Every day.
“Where are the woks and steamer baskets?” I asked my local friend, Tao. “I had nothing but kebabs for two months in Pakistan. I want dimsum trolleys.”
“Dimsum is Guangdong province food. Good wok dishes come from Sichuan,” explained Tao. “In Xinjiang, we eat Uighur food.”
I scoffed. “That just means you eat kebabs for breakfast too.”’
“Kebab makes very good breakfast,” frowned Tao. He produced a city map, circled something, and then slid it across the bar. “If you want to try different Uighur food, go here for dinner, just after sunset.”
The place he circled turned out to be a local night market, packed with smoky pushcarts and buzzing locals. At first glance, I was delighted not to see any kebab stands.
Upon closer inspection, however, my delight evaporated to dread.
This video is a quick stroll into the food market. While I can tell you to keep an eye out for such delicacies as fish, chicken, severed goat’s head, boiled sheep skin, and big-pile-of-cow-intestines, I can’t shed much more light than that, as most of the dishes were simply burnt, boiled, or butchered beyond the point of identification.