I think now would be the time to tackle one of the best parts of my trip: the food.
One of the things I love about food in China is it is fresh. Every dish has lots and lots of veggies and every spare patch of ground houses a small vegetable garden. But the far west is a desert region, and as a result the food has evolved differently here.
Meat, meat, meat, meat (and bread). Being a Muslim region pork isn’t common, but neither is beef. It’s all about the lamb.
Warning: Vegetarians (and the squeamish) might want to skip the rest of this post.
You would think that after a day or two of eating a mutton diet I would get sick of it. But somehow I didn’t. In fact, I started craving it. Mutton is a common meat all over China, but it’s a million times better in Xinjiang. The meat skewers have big pieces just chewy, high-quality meat, not all stringy with fat. But to add flavor, they put a big piece of fat in the middle and cook it up crispy so it drips with fatty goodness.
And if you’re feeling a bit peckish while out and about, finding these meat sellers is quite easy. Just follow the billowing clouds of smoke coming off the outdoor grills. In the past Beijing had banned outdoor barbecues in an attempt to cut down on pollution. Of course everyone laughed at the stupidity of it, but I finally understood why someone thought of it in the first place. If you walk down a street with a few of these places, you can’t see from the smoke and have to breath cautiously. But the food is all worth it, and if the BBQ’s really contribute to the pollution, it’s a sacrifice I would be willing to make.
And don’t forget the samsas (called kaobaozi in Chinese). Like a Xinjiang meat pie, cooked in big metal cauldrons.
There are other foods available in Xinjiang or course. Though mutton is a staple in most of them.
This is about half of the pics of food I took (yes, I’m one of those people) but I think I’ve bored you enough with these. While I missed fresh veggies in Xinjiang, I will forever dream of the amazing mutton, and bread I had while there.