Xinjiang has rich and unique food culture. Xinjiang is a multi-ethnic region where people of a certain group live in compact communities. The vast land and diverse ethnic cultures of Xinjiang naturally "cook" a great variety of delicious ethnic foods. Tasting the Xinjiang food is not only to satisfy your stomach but a way to know the ethnic cultures in Xinjiang. As a land with the tradition of animal husbandry production, Xinjiang is rich in sheep and cattle. The staple food of Islamic people is that of mutton and beef. Shish kebab is a popular snack nationwide--found in the streets and markets throughout China.
Famous Food in Xinjiang
Nang, kebabs and Zhua Fan are the must-try dishes when traveling to Xinjiang for their unique features and flavors. Other specialties worth mentioning are Milk Tea, Yoghourt Made of Mare's Milk, Rice-Filled Sausages, and Stewed Mutton Eaten by Hands, etc.
Nang (naan)is the most essential food in Uighur people's daily life, and also a unique Uighur food. Nang is baked in Nang Keng (Tu Nur), It usually looks round. It is one of the main pasta in Xinjiang, it has two thousand years history. There are more than 50 kinds of Nang in Xinjiang. From common ones: meat Nang, oil Nang, Wowo Nang, sesame Nang, piece Nang, Hillman Nang, and so on.According to the research, "Nang" word comes from Persian, popular in the Arabian Peninsula, Turkey, Central Asia countries. Uighurs originally called the Nang "imaik" until Islam was introduced into Xinjiang it was then called "Nang."
Roasted Stuffed Buns is another Uygurs' food very popular at festivals or wedding. The stuffing of the buns is a combination of chopped mutton, beef and sheep's-tail fat. Then add chopped onions, salt and cumin. Seal the stuffing in dough square, and put in an oven to roast for 10 - 20 minutes. The buns are thin-skinned, with tender meat stuffing and very delicious.
Xinjiang Kebabs are chunks of mutton thread on skewers and roasted over charcoal. The kebabs are turned continually and basted frequently, and when they are almost done, salt, pepper paprika and cumin are sprinkled on them. Kebabs are crispy outside and tender inside, slightly salty and hot. They are not greasy and have no unpleasant smell. They are sold in the streets and bazaars throughout Xinjiang.
Zhua Fan (Rice Eaten with Hands)is cooked with ingredients from fresh mutton, carrot, vegetable oil and rice. This food is soft, delicious and nutritious. It is consumed at the festivals, funerals and weddings of Uygurs and Uzbeks. People habitually pick the food from the tray by hand hence the name 'Rice Eaten with Hands'. Nowadays, people use chopsticks and spoons instead of fingers.
The major nationality in Xinjiang is Uygur who believes in Islamism, so the regular foods have mutton, beef, chicken, eggs and fish, especially mutton. The daily drinks mainly are cow milk, ewe milk, yogurt, and milk cream; the vegetables are yellow radish, onion, garlic, pumpkin, radish, tomato, eggplant, chili, coriander, ageratum, green bean and potato, etc.. The breakfast will have melons and fruits’ jams, milk tea and so on; the lunch will serve the main courses flour-made food with beef and mutton; the dinner will be Nang (a Uygur bread), tea or noodles and so forth...More: Snacks in Xinjiang
Besides delicious food, Xinjiang is also known as the 'Home of Fruits and Melons' Changes in temperature from morning to evening, long hours of sunshine and careful irrigation all work together to give the fruits of Xingjian bright color and sweet pulp. There are hundreds of species of grapes, muskmelons, watermelons, apples, pears, apricots, peaches, pomegranates, cherries, figs, and walnuts, and large quantities of fruits and melons are transported to other parts of the country and abroad.