xi’an in flushing

posted in: food, new york 1

the best food I’ve had in NYC was in a Flushing food court.

actually, the term ‘food court’ is misleading. it’s more like a collection of half a dozen Chinese food stalls in the basement of a place called Golden Mall (also a misnomer because the ‘mall’ appears to consist entirely of this basement).


after hmm-ing and haw-ing awhile between the different Read More

facelifting kashgar

posted in: china 0

Chinese officials are demolishing Kashgar’s Old City to prevent calamity in case of earthquake in this tremor-prone region of Xinjiang.

To give some perspective on this project, many of the 13,000 families who live in the city belong to the Uighur ethnic minority, a people who–like the Tibetans to the South–have in the past been targets of clampdowns by the Chinese government, fearing their separation from the country. (Kashgar lies on the western border of Xinjiang province, which is technically an Autonomous Region of the PRC.)

Similar to the face-lift done for Beijing’s old neighbourhoods, a new “Old City” for Kashgar will be rebuilt, with modern buildings and plazas, but also reproductions of ancient Islamic architecture (“to preserve the Uighur culture”). Needless to say, the destruction of old family homes is not popular and requires, shall we say… some media persuasion.

On Kashgar television, a nightly 15-minute infomercial hawks the project like ginsu knives, mixing dire statistics on seismic activity with scenes of happy Uighurs dancing in front of their new concrete apartments.


uyghur resto hotpot

posted in: food, montreal 2
spicy hotpot
spicy hotpot

back at that xinjiang restaurant on st-laurent in chinatown. the hotpot was pretty good as far as what I’ve had in montreal. interesting because it was spicy with a reminder of that flavouring they use on 羊肉串 (lamb kebabs)–probably just cumin, but still makes it taste vaguely exotic. or addictive. or whatever.

[did I ever mention the urban legend of how in sichuan they would put opium in their hotpot to keep their customers coming back? sadly illegal now.] 😉

but, as you could probably tell from the picture, the food wasn’t enough. and a bit pricey. but cannot complain, since there are no longer any alternative uyghur restaurants in town–the one on côte-des-neiges seems to have disappeared. must be the fierce, fierce competition. of the always empty gigantic restaurant on st-laurent.

I’m still dying to find a real sichuan restaurant in montreal. maybe I’ll just have to suck it up and go to toronto to gorge myself one weekend…

separatist restos in montreal

posted in: food, montreal 6
Lamb dumplings on naan at a xinjiang restaurant in chinatown.
Lamb dumplings on naan at a xinjiang restaurant in chinatown.

I really miss this kind of food–there are muslim restaurants all over beijing, whose specialty is lamb, lamb, and lots of lamb. After I came back I tried an older xinjiang restaurant on côte-des-neiges, and was refreshed by the waitress and her distinctive accent when she greeted us in chinese: the xinjiang people are both beautiful and multilingual (as most minorities are)…not bad for the most landlocked desertous area in the world.

the food in both places is fine, but not quite the same (I probably prefer the one on côte-des-neiges though). oh what I’d do for some 羊肉串…