Uighur Cuisine
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It Pays to Be Spontaneous
Our visit to Australia was coming to a close, so we thought we'd wander over to the harbor for some fresh fish. On the way there, we just happened to glance down a side street and saw a sign proclaiming "Uighur Cuisine." The Uighur people of China had just recently been in the news, due to some riots and ethnic violence in the Xinjiang Province. We sure weren't planning a trip there any time soon, so why not try it in Sydney? I was really craving seafood but decided I'd be able to get it back in the States. What a great decision! We were the only non-Asians in the place. The whole restaurant was decorated with wall murals depicting some sort of concert. The ancestors of the Uighurs were Turkic nomads, so the people are a beautiful mix of Turkic and Asian features, and so is their food. We asked our server to recommend her favorite typical dishes. There was warm, pita-like bread. The highlights were the lamb and the beans, which showcased the blend of regional styles. The lamb came as a plateful of thin skewers, tender and bursting with cumin goodness, but not spicy. It was served with a salad reminiscent of tabouleh, without the grain. The green beans were flash-fried with a red chili-garlic paste, definitely more Chinese in nature than Turkic. This ended up being not only one of the best meals of our vacation but one of our most memorable travel meals ever. Had we not glanced down Dixon Street, or been unwilling to veer from the plan, we would have missed it entirely.
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