Spirit of Kashgar, right here in Beijing

A little taste of the silk road: Kashgar always in my heart
A little taste of the silk road: Kashgar always in my heart

My appreciation for all things Xinjiang and especially the cuisine is quite well documented on this blog as well as other places in the wild wild web and I never turn down an opportunity to stuff my face with sizzling roasted chuan’r or hand pulled noodles. And there are plenty of places to do that in Beijing with 3 of them being official restaurants from the province: The Xinjiang Islam Restaurant 新疆伊斯兰饭庄 (map), the Urumqi Representative Office Restaurant 新疆饭庄 (map) and finally the Kashgar Representative Office Restaurant 喀什饭庄 (map)!

I managed to try the first two a few times in the past but the Kashgar (map) one had evaded me repeatedly.. alas, with a little determination and a few willing friends, Saturday evening provided a perfect opportunity to trek over to Niu Jie and give it a shot!

Location and condition:

The restaurant is a bit far off, much like the two other official ones, for those in chaoyang or CBD. It took a few folks over 40 mn by taxi to get there but the staff seems used to giving directions to cab drivers. Keep the number handy and do not hesitate to call if lost.
The building could easily pass for a non-descript neighborhood restaurant if you don’t pay attention but it’s clean, well lit and has hints of Xinjiang all over it. Baked pastries and fresh fruit were lined up in bazaar fashion along the wall and huge paintings along with lots of hanging fake greens brought in the Uighur feel.
The staff was not dressed in ethnic garbs, probably due to recent well document events but were polite and smiling, much more pleasant than their counterpart from the Urumqi one.
It’s also the least known of the Xinjiang provincial restaurants as some of the beijing directories do not even list it.

Menu:

The menu was simple and clean! a dozen pages of printed text in Chinese and English. No pictures to help guide the folks that are menu-challenged but still, it’s easy to find one’s way around it. The choices were fairly well categorized and translated except for the liquor part where it was all in Chinese. Prices compared favorably to those at the other provincial restaurants and was slightly cheaper than my other favorite Xinjiang place in town: Crescent Moon

The Dishes:

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– Chuan’r: Good old kebabs. Very nicely done, roasted and spiced to perfections without too much fat. The size was also respectable

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– Kao Baozi: the local equivalent of hot pockets. pastry stuffed with roast mutton and onions with hints of cumin. best ones I’ve had in Beijing so far! A friend that went to Kashgar with me last year commented that they were better than the ones in Kashgar

very very very tasty.... juicy mutton that melts in your mouth
very very very tasty.... juicy mutton that melts in your mouth

– Kashgar Roast mutton leg: Juicy and tasty… again, roasted to perfection. Impressive even to a South African who prides himself on knowing meat

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– Da Pan Ji: quite different from the others. Theirs used different chilies and numbing spices but rocked. I liked how it came on a bed of noodles and we didn’t have to ask for them

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– Yoghurt: old reliable. On par with that of the Urumqi Provincial restaurant which was my favorite. Pictured here next to fresh baked Nan

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– Noodles: we had 2 double portion plates of Chao Mian Pian’r and La Tiao Zi ! The portions were huge and left nothing to be desired!

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– Veggies: peanuts, eggplant and mixed greens! Fresh Ingredients but nothing to write home about but then again, that could be my carnivore-related bias talking

In Conclusion:

I’m not quite ready to give it the gold medal for Uighur cuisine in Beijing but it’s pretty darn close! I second everything Eileen Wen Mooney said about the place as one of the best restaurants in Beijing and will be back for more. The meal for 7 persons including a few beers came at 450RMB. We could have had 3 more people eat out of that!!
At the moment it’s tied with Crescent Moon for first spot and the Urumqi one comes in second

My biggest complaint was service-related: As with all provincial restaurants, everything shuts down at 9:30 and in this particular occasion, as soon as the food was brought out, we were presented with the bill! There was also issues getting simple boiled water later on in the evening as they had shut down the boiler for the night. Both things would not have happened had we been there earlier but then again, I’ve tried quite a few provincial restaurant around that time and never had bill/service issues. They tend to just say “Kitchen Closed” but all services are a go!

No need to undo the damage we've done!!!! sign of one heck of a good meal
No need to undo the damage we've done!!!! sign of one heck of a good meal

Kashgar Restaurant 喀什饭庄
Niu Jie (Inner SW 2nd Ring Rd) 60 Pen’er Hutong 牛街西南二环内宣武区盆儿胡同60号.
Off of Baizhifang E. St; off the east end of Wanshou Park 白纸坊东街的北方;万寿公园东门对面
Tel: (10) 63582243

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