Xinjiang Savory Brings You A Prairie Flavor

Food in Xinjiang has much more of a Central Asian flavor than elsewhere in China. Many of the dishes use Turkish and Islamic spices and flavorings; Lambs are roasted and served whole; Pancakes are presented in the shape of a tower; and rice is eaten with the hands (though the staple food here is not rice).

Grilled Mutton Kebabs

Xinjiang cuisine excels at the preparation of mutton, plus various kinds of roast meat. Grilled mutton kebabs are the commonest specialty, which can be found in the streets and bazaars throughout Xinjiang, and are usually accompanied by a large, flat oven baked bread, resembling Indian Nang and going under the same name.

Chunks of mutton are strung on a skewer and roasted over charcoal. The kebabs are turned continually, and when they are almost done, salt, pepper and other seasonings are sprinkled on them. Kebabs are crispy outside and tender inside, slightly salty and hot. They are not greasy and have no unpleasant smell.

Grilled Whole Lamb

Grilled Whole Lamb is another dish that must be sampled. It is as famous as Peking duck in Beijing cuisine as well as roast suckling pig in Cantonese cuisine. It is usually the most expensive course on the menu. A two-year-old sheep is slaughtered and skinned, daubed with salt inside and outside, and then coated with a mixture of eggs, chopped ginger and scallions, and pepper. The sheep is put into a stove to roast for about an hour until it turns golden brown.

Rice Eaten with the Hands

The meal consists of fresh mutton, carrots, onions, vegetable oil, melted sheep's fat and rice. There are more than 10 kinds of this rice dish, mainly mutton, chicken and vegetarian, but the most common is the one using mutton. This food is soft, delicious and nutritious. It is a feature of festivals, funerals and weddings.


Nang is a staple food for Xinjiang people, just like steamed buns in northern China, rice in southern China and bread in Western counties. Making a nang is similar to making a pancake. The materials include wheat flour, corn flour or sorghum flour, with such seasoning as sesame seeds, onions, eggs, vegetable oil, butter, milk, salt and sugar. This flat bread comes in various sizes and has a disk-like shape with rolled edges and a flattened center. With a golden yellow surface, nang is crispy and delicious. You need pretty strong jaw to bite and chew the bread; the Uighurs usually dip it in mutton soup or milk tea to soften it.

Lamian Noodle

Lamian Noodles or Hand-pulled Noodles are a very popular dish throughout Northwest China, especially in the Hui ethnic community. Chefs stretch and double a single lump of noodle dough several times in succession to create very thin strings noodles. Lamian Noodles can be served with beef or mutton either in soup or stir-fried. Caraway is the most common herb when Lamian Noodle is served in soup and is regarded as indispensable.