As the fiery sun sets over Urumqi(just before 8pm), it was time to go out to cari makan. The destination tonite is the night food bazaar located on five one street (NOT 51st street) which was just a stone throw from our hotel in downtown Urumqi. Just side track a bit here……FYI, Urumqi a land locked city, has a population of 3 million which is larger than Klang Valley’s population so it’s really quite a big city. One will not notice that in the day time but come night time, everybody comes out to the streets and it can be damn crowded. Reason being that in the daytime it’s bloody hot and gets cooler towards the evening…..well, at least that was the scenerio when I was there.
five one street.
As we reach our destination (8pm sharp), the whole place was a flurry of activities and people running and pushing their food stalls and total chaos………the first thing that X our mind …..Aiyahhh, Macam Chow Kit road, Dewan Bandaraya raiding the place!!! Lets get out of here……. typical Malaysian reaction under the circumstances!!
But offcourse that was not to be……
Yes, the vendors are just setting up their stores and I was beginning to worry as to what time we were going to get fed.
Stalls were being ushered and pushed into allocated spaces.
Ready electrical points were plugged in and.......
Wallah!! Let there be light.....and then there was light.
Floor mates were rolled out from the side of buildings (yes, you read right…..floor mates). This was to ensure the sidewalks don’t get dirty.
Note the floor mate
Last and not least the chairs and tables were set up and by then aroma of roast meat filled the evening air and busy vendors going about their daily activities provides the perfect setting for a bazaar like environment.
There must be at least 100+ food stalls and all the setting up took exactly 10 mins cos by 2010hrs we were ready to place our orders. Talk about efficiency!!
Typical stall with a generous variety of "kebab type" like menu.
Lamb intestine and lungs, inarts!!
on the right is sheep's feet.
They even have ikan panggang.
and the famous roast whole lamb with crispy crunchy skin!
a typical bronze Kebab stall.
and they also have tai chow(home cooked style) type stalls.
and roti naan offcourse!
noodle stores are popular.
some kind of pan mien.
a noodles slicer in action. steady hands required here......smooth and swift........
Here is the proof......thinly sliced and very uniform. The broth is very aniseed in flavor and most probably made from 5 spice powder. The bits of meat on top is lamb.
Yakitori like chicken skewers. Got knuckles embedded in the meat and marinated with cumin, tumeric, ground dry chilly, etc.
chicken wings on the skewer and marinated with middle eastern and indian spices.
even got fish on the skewer!
lamb Kebab and again with a marinade of cumin and notes of the unmistakable middle eastern spices. Note the rustic plate!!
yes, lamb ribs kebab. This one was excellent cos the meat near the bones always the sweetest.
all eat till can't move......and gave the thumbs up offcourse.
then we stopped at this fruit juice stall and had pomegranate juice. It was sweet, sour and very tannic(probably from the seeds and skin) and full of vit C and anti oxidants.
a whole street of raisins, sultanas and nuts.
then we stumble across this fruit stall. Note the delicious grapes...........and suddenly i noticed also got durian. WTF!!
The prices are inexpensive and as you walk down this street, on the left are the halal stalls and on the right the non halal ones. Even though it is non halal, they don't serve pork.
A small mention about the beer sold here. It's Wusu beer and made locally in the province itself. Dry and lite so it goes well with all the BBQ stuff.
This food bazaar is a "must not miss" destination in Urumqi. The food served here is quite basic, rustic and full of flavors and definitely have it's origin in central Asia and to a certain extent i sense an identity crisis..... neither east or west or middle eastern or chinese......but then again when it comes to "serious food talk", really food and cuisine should not be categorize under political boundaries....... To me good food, is truly a realistic reflection of the people and the culture of the land and indeed for the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region this is true.