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Traditional Uyghur Food From East Asia

Updated on October 21, 2015
elayne001 profile image

Ruth Kongaika was born in the Rocky Mountains and has lived most of her life in the South Pacific. She travels, gardens and writes.

Sangza - fixed for holidays (crispy wheat flour dough twists)
Sangza - fixed for holidays (crispy wheat flour dough twists)

One particular joy of my life is my unofficially adopted daughter, Nina along with her husband and two children. She came from China to complete her schooling in Hawaii.

I have been intrigued by the stories of her people, the Uyghurs (wee-gers). She has opened a whole new world to me through her food, dancing, and lifestyle.

It has been a delight to watch Nina grow from a studious student and exuberant professional dancer into a beautiful and dutiful wife and mother. Whenever we visit, she is not hesitant to share what she learned about making delicious Uyghur food.

Probably the most impressive thing I have watched Nina learn is the art of making pulled noodles by hand. Her mother lovingly taught her this fine craft on a visit one year. These secrets are handed down from generation to generation.

Nina can now make delicious noodles served with broth, polos which are rice platters or "pillows" topped with lamb, beef or chicken (Uyghurs do not eat pork), shish kebabs, and spiced flatbreads. She spices her meats and breads with cumin, garlic, and onions.

Shou La Mian is a special type of handmade noodle that is made from flour, water and salt. The dough is divided into small balls. Then it is and stretched by hand. You can watch the video below to see what a fine art it is.

The noodles Nina makes are a bit thicker than those we are used to in America, but they are soft and tender and delicious. She often fries vegetables and serves it with the noodles together with a broth of lamb soup "sauce".

Another dish is samsa (lamb pies) and they are incredible. She also serves fruits, nuts, and cheese.

Nina also makes boiled dumplings (ququ) filled with meat and sometimes vegetables. She often adds coriander to spice it.

She always serves her entrees on beautifully decorated plates and bowls which she has carefully chosen. She often mixes raisins in with the meat which was odd to me at first, but I soon found it to be delightful.

Uyghurs make many different kinds of nang (bread) including flatbread, bagels, flaky bread, and sourdough bread amongst others. They often mix in meat, onions, sesame seeds and hot spices.

Did I say that I just love Uyghur food? I wish you could all experience it for yourselves. It is sooo goooood!

It has been a taste festival for me the last few years since knowing Nina and her family. They truly love life and eating. I also found out that Uyghurs live long - about 25 percent live to be 100 years of age. Could it be because of their food and lifestyle? I do not doubt it.

Here is Nina and her dance students copyright Ruth Elayne Kongaika
Here is Nina and her dance students copyright Ruth Elayne Kongaika


Submit a Comment

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thank you fordie for adding your personal experience to my hub. We just ate at Nina's house last nite and it was a real treat. Regards.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I always enjoy visits to Xinjiang and especially for the food. The street food is exceptional for variety and taste. Thank you for capturing something of that in this hub and promoting an over-looked cuisine

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    It took me a while to get used to it, but I really love the Uyghur food now. Thanks for commenting pmccray.

  • pmccray profile image


    8 years ago from Utah

    This food not only sounds delicious, but is so different. Fantastic hub

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Yes, I am so lucky to have great people in my life creativelycc. Hubpages is full of great ones too just like yourself. Thanks for always being so positive.

  • creativelycc profile image

    Carrie L Cronkite 

    8 years ago from Maine

    So happy to learn about the Uyghur culture and food from your hub. The food truly does sound delicious. Your blessed to have this wonderful person in your life!

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks billyaustindillon - so much to learn, so little time. I know how you feel.

  • billyaustindillon profile image


    8 years ago

    Well I have to admit this is all very new to me - more great history, culture and food.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    I don't mind you coming over cashmere. Just let me know when and we'll get some ready.

  • cashmere profile image


    8 years ago from India

    I am now seriously craving this food...I wish I could invite myself over!!!

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks Galaxy 59 for your comments. I was not aware of the Uyghur people and culture until I met Nina. There are so many cultures wwe could learn about too.

  • GALAXY 59 profile image

    Galaxy Harvey 

    8 years ago from United Kingdom

    Very interesting, I'd never heard of the Uyghur people their food and culture sounds fascinating. I love the sound of some of those dishes and pulling noodles looks fun, if hard work.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    sorry for that Laluinho. Looks like there are a couple in New York:

    Arzu Restaurant

    101-05 Queens Blvd (between 102 St & 67 RD)

    Queens, New York


    Isik Kol Restraint

    Queens Blvd & 63rd Road

    Queens, New York


    Not sure if they are still there, but you can let me know. Otherwise you will have to come to Hawai. Aloha!

  • Lalulinho profile image


    8 years ago

    One suggestion--could you point us to Uyghur restaurants to visit or add such a list to this Hub? You can't post about such delicious food and leave us hanging like this (unless you're offering to have Nina make food for us...)!!! A close friend of mine lived in China about 15 years ago and raved about Uyghur food, and ever since I've been curious. I'd love to know where to go. If you tell me that I must visit Hawaii to try it, well, I could live with that. :) But something a bit closer to the other end of the US would be nice too. Thanks for a great Hub.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    I think you said it perfectly Nancy - the Uyghur people are very charming! They are so hospitable and love to share their customs. Thanks for your comments.

    BKCreative - Glad you enjoyed learning about Uyghur food and especially their noodles. Aloha!

  • BkCreative profile image


    8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

    Those noodles look amazing. What a great hub. I was not at all familiar with Uyghur foods.

    Thanks a million!

  • LianaK profile image


    8 years ago

    Yummy! Amazing skills. I'll have to see if she will teach me next time I come visit Hawaii :). Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    8 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for introducing me to Nina her wonderful food and lifestyle. I love learning about other people's lifestyle and food and therefore found it interesting.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Glad you enjoyed it Twenty One Days! Thanks for your comment.

  • profile image

    Twenty One Days 

    8 years ago



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