Ever heard the word Uygur? Me neither. So I guess I’m as ignorant as people who don’t know where is my country. I’ll skip the history/geography class because I’m pretty sure you know how to use Google, let’s just say Uygur cuisine exists, and you must try it at least once in your life. In brief, it’s a melting pot of different cuisines, including Chinese and Uzbek. Turns out that I know someone from Uzbekistan and that’s how we ended up celebrating his birthday eating Uygur cuisine.
Having lived most of my life in a city where Cantonese is one of the top 2 restaurant categories (according to my calculations), I’m not particularly interested in Chinatown. Obviously I have been missing out of many interesting things happening there. On Dixon St, for example, there are two Uygur restaurants side by side. The most popular one is at the right-hand side and on the ground floor, but we went to Kiroran Silk Road instead because the experts agreed it is much better.
After climbing a flight of stairs you can see most of the customers are Chinese. Good sign. You can also see rugs and musical instruments hanging from the walls, which according to my sources are very typical as restaurant decorations.
Having had a big dinner the day before, I was planning to go light that night. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work when you’re eating with a bunch of weightlifters. The experts ordered a wonderful assortment of dishes to share.
First came the salads. They looked unimpressive in the menu but I’m glad we ordered them. The cucumber salad in Uygur-style garlic dressing was probably my favourite of the lot. Big chunks of crunchy cucumber and a very tasty dressing. The Russian salad was not the stereotypical potato/carrot/mayo concoction, but a fresh mix of sliced tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum and onion, again with a very tasty dressing. The Uygur salad was visually identical, but the dressing was mildly spicy. The lamb tongue salad was rather plain compared to the other ones, which was a shame because I do like tongue.
Cucumber salad ($8)
Russian salad ($10)
Lamb tongue salad ($12)
We also ordered 3 portions of lamb skewers and 1 portion of chicken skewers, with 4 skewers per portion. These were my favourite items of the night, they were incredibly flavourful. Tender lamb, juicy chicken. As some reviewers have noted, they are on the salty side, but I didn’t find them inedible. Quite the opposite.
Lamb skewers ($10)
The big-plate chicken dish, with stir-fried chicken and potatoes in chilli and garlic sauce, and served on hand-made flat noodles was a favourite in the table. Luckily, it comes literally served on top of the noodles, so I could pick up and enjoy the flavourful morsels of chicken, as well as the potatoes and chillies. Great hearty and simple stew.
Big-plate chicken dish ($40)
The other big plate we ordered was the famous polo, a super simple dish of braised rice with lamb, carrot and onion. Essentially, an oilier version of pilaf. Surprisingly tasty for a very simple dish.
Polo ($25 for large)
We washed the food down with lots of tea (the bagged kind, served in a niceish pot) and then… we ordered the whole thing again (minus a couple of salads). Yeah, it was a lot of food and we ended up paying only $35 per head. And, to be honest, I could (should?) have done a 24-hour fast the day after. Good stuff.
Kiroran Silk Road
Shop 3, 6 Dixon St
Haymarket NSW 2000
02 9283 0998