During the last leg of our trip to China, we ended up back in Beijing. The son of a former coworker of my MIL, whom we really hit it off with during a previous dinner, offered to take us to dinner. We knew this wasn't going to be an ordinary dinner. You see, even though MrD was born and raised in Beijing, he and his wife are truly food lovers......they don't know the names of any streets or even addresses. Navigation around Beijing is done via their own internal GPS, it's based off restaurant locations! This was to be illustrated in a pretty funny way a bit later on during our stay in Beijing.
Once the car was parked we walked through a set of doors.....
And then through another set of doors.......
We could quickly tell what type of restaurant this was by the decor.
And by the photos in the menu....since I couldn't read it! This was obviously a Xinjiang cuisine restaurant, which got me kind of excited, I've had lots of Islamic Chinese food, but at that point in time, I really hadn't had very much honest to goodness Uyghur style dishes. There is a difference. From what I understand, most Islamic Chinese that we have here is based off of Beijing and Shandong style Halal cuisine, whereas true Xinjiang cuisine is based on what is eaten in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region.
This photo really got me hungry......it's called Kao Quan Yang (烤全羊) in case you feel like ordering it!
Things started off with some Suan Nai, less sweet than most of the Suan Nai we'd had to date in Beijing.
The name of the flat breads might sound familiar, it's called Kao Nang (烤馕), as in "naan".
One of the most popular dishes of Xinjiang Cuisine is Rice to be Eaten with the Hands (Xinjiang Shou Zhua Fan 新疆手抓饭). The problem for me was to remember to eat with my right hand as I'm left handed, and you know why that's a problem in Islam, right?
The rice was much richer than I thought it would be. It was very "mutton-ny".
Next up was the Xinjiang style Stewed Mutton (Xinjiang Shou Zhua Yang Rou 新疆手抓羊肉)
Which was very simple and basic in flavor.
Up next, was a variety of Chuanr......
Your basic "meat on a stick". I'm not a big fan of kidney, but I gotta say that it was my favorite along with the meat that was grilled on the reused and highly "seasoned" wooden skewers..... nothing like layers of flavors from kebabs of the past I guess.
Man, this was a load of food! But of course, this was just our first stop!