An Uyghur lunch is...Burp!
Managed to stumble across few ancient scriptures which dealt with Mongolians migrating into the Northwest Chinese region of Xinjiang after the collapse of Uyghur Khaganate. Now, the Xinjiang province has the most number of Uyghurs residing, with 45% of the population comprising of them. Well, isn't this supposed to be about food?
Yeah, yeah I am coming there. As the prominence of Uyghurs ascended in the province, the religion has also been on the rise with Islam taking sway throughout the region. The same had its effects on the cuisine up there as well. A Chinese-Muslim fusion of mouth watering delicacies, simply put as Uyghur cuisine.
One such place which has a strong relevance to the original Uyghur cuisine happened to open in Houston and I am sure not going to miss it for the world.
It is Uyghur Bistro. Located in the heart of Chinatown, this place has gained a lot of traction for its mouth watering delicacies showcasing the Xinjiang region. I happened to visit for lunch around 11AM and the place has just opened for me to have a good look at the interiors.
The restaurant was understaffed with only two waitresses and the owner himself taking care of the customers. Fine with me, but it's told that this place has a huge wait list as the day passes by.
Without any further adieu, I started my meal with a cup of tea, of course!
The cup was too kingly for black tea but I cherished sipping from it. Now, I had to get my appetite started on a good note and hence started with their best sellers. (Of course, why not?)
Firstly, their appetizers.
These are Samsa. I was in awe of these beautifully golden crusted puff pastries which were topped with roasted sesame seeds. This appetizer is considered to be a Uyghur specialty and it comes with a filling of minced lamb, onions and pepper wrapped in a soft doughy mixture.
I was starving and couldn't wait but take a bite of this marvel of an appetizer.
"CRUNCHHHH!!" a sound echoed in the room. The crisp pastry with a wholesome filling inside just made this appetizer even more alluring to the palate. The meat was well seasoned and the combination of grilled onions along with pepper enhanced the flavor of the former even more.
The famous Uyghur Lamb Kebabs. This is barbeque in traditional Uyghur style. They give you two skewers with the minced lamb meat which is well seasoned with herbs and spices and topped with sesame seeds and a mix of cumin and chili powder. The meat has absorbed the fat and was quite juicy when I took a gnarly bite of the iron skewer. That being said, I am just in love with their authentic preparation of Uyghur cuisine which is so full in flavor that I got an extra order to fulfill my appetite.
Now to the main entrees,
The Cumin Lamb. I could understand the agony of my readers as I literally ate the dish with my eyes when it was placed in front of me. Such a beautiful and aromatic plate laid in front of me with all the inviting ingredients teasing my senses. Its an overdose of lamb but I dont regret to the slightest as I could eat these everyday.
Fresh green onions which were juicy and vibrant, paired with slightly grilled onions along with the best grilled meat I have ever tasted and seasoned with chili and cumin powder just made the dish utterly exquisite. It came along with white rice and I fell in love with this dish as the lamb was perfectly cooked and it was not chewy and had this charred texture which added to the whole taste. A must try by all means!
Moving on to their specialty entree,
The Uyghur Lamb Shank Polo. Need I say more?
Such an alluring presentation which made me famished even after having all the marvelous dishes earlier. This is a proven best seller of the restaurant and I can sure see it why. Sinfully appealing lamb shank which is steam cooked, is layered over a bed of rice mixed with carrots and onions which are cooked in the same way as well.
I couldn't wait but dive into this and needless to say, I just used a spoon to scoop the meat. Yes, you heard it right! I had to just scoop the meat off the bone. Such was the texture of the meat which melted in my mouth. Juicy and packed with flavor, this lamb shank had to be one of the best I have tasted. Period!
The steam cooked rice along with carrots and onions complemented the meat by adding a refreshing flavor to the heaviness it produced. I had then moved onto taste the bone marrow and it was so creamy and filled with all the juices from the fat and the spices. It just made my day.
I had an overdose of lamb I would say but by all good means, this is an overdose of which I would repeatedly commit.
Finally, their dessert to lighten it up they say.
A plain ol' Yogurt. A creamy yogurt made in house and topped with sesame seeds and raisins. And, mixed with honey. This yogurt was perfectly refreshing as an after-meal dessert, considering the calorie rich meal we downed earlier.
This has been a faultless and a dainty spread for me to cherish for the days to come.
9888 Bellaire Blvd Ste 168 Houston, TX 77036
Value For Money: 8.5/10