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"So we all met for a Xinjiang meal last night for a relaxed evening of mingling and eating and other such things.
Xinjiang food is one of my favourite type of foods here in China. Itâ€™s easy to forget that although it calls itself one country, China is in fact huge and more like a continent. Just like Europe, the different regions have their own unique cultures and with that of course, their own style of cuisine. To provide extreme examples, the traditional food from Tibet would be quite different to that of Beijing and BeijingHong Kong. In Shanghai, all of these dishes are available, so to say you like/donâ€™t like â€˜Chinese foodâ€™ is quite a big statement. quite different to that of
Xinjiang is one such an extreme example of how different Chinese culture and with it the food can be. Located in the far West of the country it is situated above Tibet and is named as an Uyghur Autonomous Region. The Uyghurs are Muslims of Turkish decent who speak a Turkish language and make up about 45% of the population. Although Han Chinese and Uyghurs dominate the stats, there are many other interesting minorities including Kazakhs, Hui, Kyrgzs, Mongols, Tajiks and Russians. Xinjiang is sparsely populated and covers vast distances.
The way of life here is quite different. The restaurant we ate in reflected the unique Xinjiang aesthetic by being completely decorated in the traditional style attached to the culture of this region. On top of this, there are regular performances offered right in the middle of the restaurant by Belly dancers who swivel and shake along to Arabic music (see photos).
So the restaurant has a real buzz to it. People chat loudly whilst chomping on the lamb skewers, eating naan bread and enjoying the Xinjiang black beers. It attracts quite a mixed crowd including Xinjiangese people, Han Chinese and is particularly popular with foreigners for its meaty and hearty servings.
Itâ€™s hard not to enjoy this place and get caught up in the atmosphere. One of volunteers was even pulled into a dance with the belly dancing lady! As always we all mixed and chatted, shared experiences and generally contributed to the lively atmosphere."