adventures in the people's republic of china and beyond

Thursday, November 08, 2007


I <3 Urumqi

Coming back from Tian Chi, we walked around in uptown Urumqi for a while. This area of Urumqi is quite new, and other than the Uyghur and Russian signs and Mt. Bogeda in the distance, looks just like any other large Chinese city.

We headed downtown to check out the night market, but were a bit early, so we stopped in an internet cafe for a while. Coming out, the previously empty street was covered in crowds and food vendors. The vendors were selling some pretty interesting stuff, like whole lambs, barbecued fish on a stick, and stuffed lamb intestine stew, but the prices were pretty outrageous at every stand - 5 kuai for a bowl of yogurt??!

Feel up to eating an entire roasted animal today?

We walked off in search of a better place to eat, and walked by some pretty charming neighborhoods. Traditional mud-brick architecture they were not, but amidst the housing complexes you could find shiny mosques and smoky neighborhood kebab grills. It's really hard to describe, but Urumqi's Uyghur neighborhoods have an almost European atmosphere for some reason. It must be all the kebab places with people sitting outside in lawn chairs.

Kebabs just don't taste right unless you get bathed in smoke while eating them.

After a bit of walking around, we noticed a nice-looking Uyghur place. Stepping inside, we were treated to our first ever experience of the high-class Uyghur restaurant.

Uyghurs are experts at making cozy restaurants. Eating at one of these places honestly makes you feel like you're in a restaurant in the US or Europe - I don't know exactly what it is, but it's something in the layout and decor. I think Chinese restaurants are typically large ballroom-type places with lots of tables, whereas Western/Uyghur restaurants will try to build the place around booths and aisles.

We had polo(rice pilaf), barbecued meat, a nan bread stuffed with meat (gosh nan) , and of course, yoghurt. Also, I noticed for the first time that Uyghurs eat with chopsticks, even their traditional foods.

Xinjiang STAR!

We headed back to our hotel and enjoyed the Uyghur channel XJTV-5, which was about 80% funny commercials and 20% poorly dubbed American movies - watching The Nutty Professor in Uyghur dubbing is pretty hilarious.

Next: Charming Urumqi neighborhoods and our departure for Kucha.

Hey, you might check out, a site for bloggers built on a GoogleMaps interface. You can add your blog to the global mosaic, drive traffic, and add a widget to your blog. Cheers! -VerveEarth Team


Post a Comment

<< Home