50 Best Restaurants 2018: Eerkin’s Uyghur Cuisine

An Uyghur restaurant in Fairfax

Photo by Rey Lopez

Newbies to the under-represented dishes of western China’s Xinjiang province are in for a treat when Chinese cuisine embraces influences from border countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Mongolia. The meat is halal, and menu items include herbal kebabs and flaky, pancake-like khatlama naan. Yogurt is kept on hand for those who like a dollop on their piles of handmade noodles sauced with lamb and veggies. The noodles themselves are excellent, long and chewy, and flooded with rich lamb or beef gravy. Perhaps the best way to kick off a meal at this sparse yet cozy dining room is with the eggplant salad: a plate of cool, melty eggplant with chewy skin, all bathed in garlic, oyster sauce, cilantro and tomato. Entrees include a plate of whole pomfret fish swimming in ginger, garlic, oyster sauce and soy sauce, and the dapanchi, a spicy curry-like sauce of boneless chicken, potatoes and vegetables over wide, flat hand-pulled noodles. For dessert, a simple wedge of honey cake made with layers of puff pastry and buttercream washed down with a soothing special blend of black and green teas, saffron, cardamom, rose and a homemade spice blend end the feast.

Eerkin’s Uyghur Cuisine
Uyghur | $$
4008 University Drive, Fairfax

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