Xinjiang Food and Fruits
The barbecued (or roasted) whole lamb is the "king" of Xinjiang cuisine and the highlight of a dinner. It is a match for Beijing's roast duck. The extremely delicious and fragrant barbecued whole lamb, with crisp skin and soft meat, is golden and bright in color. Before dinner, it is placed on a table, and the lamb's head is tied with red-colored silk with flower knots, while its mouth is stuffed with coriander or celery. Small knives are supplied on table. The attendant pushes the diners around the table and the guests can conveniently cut the meat with the small knife. The tourists can have the toasted lamb everywhere in Xinjiang, but the best one is served at bazaars.
Polo, a special Xinjiang cuisine--rice cooked with fresh mutton, carrots, onions, vegetable oil, melted sheep's fat, and raisins and stewed mutton are the favorite food in their daily table. Polo is not only a kind of well-nourishing cuisine, but also a feature of festivals, weddings and funerals. Crispy and tasty roasted nans, samsa, pulled noodles (lamian), oily pyramid (You Ta Zi), Sanzi (deep-fried dough twists) and thin-wrapper steamed stuffed bun (pitimantuo in Uygur) are traditional snacks of ethnic peoples while flour-filled lungs, rice-filled sausages and Kurtaxi are special snacks. Ethnic peoples living in the pasture can produce many kinds of dairy products with milk, sheep milk. Kazaks like smoked horse sausages and horse meat, which are very delicious.
Nan and milk tea are the most popular and staple food. Nan is a daily food for the Uygurs, Kazaks and Tajiks. It is invariable round in shape, but there are about fifty different kinds of nans. The materials mainly include flour and seasonings. Milk tea is a favorite drink for many ethnic minority peoples, especially Kazaks and Mongolians. If you visit to Xinjiang, the hospitable hosts will show their welcome by offering you savory milk tea upon receiving you. Milk tea is such an essential drink that the local peoples would prefer having no food to having no milk tea. Other snacks include roast fish, meat of sheep head, starch-lamb soup (Fentang), Ququ (boiled dumplings), presenting the flavor of Xinjiang food culture.
Xinjiang is reputed as the home of the melons and fruit. It is a local saying for praising the fruits and melons that Xinjiang produces that Turpan's grapes, Shanshan's melons, Korla's fragrant pears, Kucha's apricots, Yecheng's pomegranates, Atushi's figs, Hotan's walnuts, Yining's apples and Hami's dates, have enjoyed high reputation far and wide.．
Xinjiang is blessed with plentiful sunshine, a long frost-free season and significant differences between daytime and nighttime temperatures and a favorite condition to grow fruit and melon. Xinjiang abounds in numerous species of fruits and is especially famous for its water melons and Hami melons. Xinjiang water melons are large in size, tasty and sweet. In summer and autumn, the sweet and juicy water melons are supplied almost every where. There are summer melon and winter melon in Xinjiang. Owing to its thick rind, the winter melon is likely to be enjoyed in the freezing winter, for it can be preserved through winter time. Both south Xinjiang and North Xinjiang produce muskmelons with high quality, such as Jiashi, Meget, Pis han, Yutian in south Xinjiang and Xiayedi,Jinghe, Wujiaqu in north Xinjiang, of which Shanshan's muskinelons are praised the "king of nations". In ancient times, they were sent to the emperors as tributes. It is said that the Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) praised the fruit greatly for its incomparable honey aroma, and the melon was named "Hami melon" because it was the King Hami who sent it. Now its reputation has been spread abroad and Hami melon has gained its fame far and wide.
Except for melons, grapes are admired by people both at home and abroad, of which Turpan grapes are most famous. Turpan seedless raisings of white grapes are as natural green as fresh grapes, They are crystal-clear, crisp, and juicy, with thin skin, so they are the best present to friends and relatives.
Every Year, the Turpan Grape Festival offers a chance to enjoy the delicious grapes and the ethnic customs as well. Mainly produced in Kolar, there are more than 60 varieties of fragrant pears, of which Dangshan Pear (intro-duced from Dangshan. Anhui Province) and Qipan Pear (Yecheng County) have the better quality. However, Korla fragrant pears, reputed as "China's honey pears" and "prince of fruits," are famous since the ancient times. The fragrant pears, soft, tasy, and refreshing, have a honey aroma, a thin skin, tender flesh and beautiful color. They are not only loved by people in Xinjiang but also by people both in other provinces and abroad. Almonds are one of the most treasured dried fruit of the Uygur people. It contains rich fat, protein, and vitamins. Therefore, it has high medicinal value and is used in 60% of traditional Uygar medicines. It is offered to treat visitors and the flowers and leaves of the trees are embroidered on the hats, clothes and buildings. Moreover, Xinjiang is one of China's earliest walnut producing areas. Both southernand northern Xinjiang produce walnuts, especially the oases around the Tarim Basin. Hotan is the largest producing area. Big sized and thin skinned, Xinjiang walnuts contain high oil content, which are good for people's health. Apart form those mentioned above, Hami dates, Yecheng pomegranates, Kashgar figs, Kucha flat peaches and mulberries are well-known special products in Xinjiang. With the development of advanced technology, people can enjoy the delicious melons and fruit all year round. The raisins, dried apricots and dried figs are best in quality. They are sold not only in Xinjiang but other regions and countries. Therefore, Xinjiang deserves its fame as" a home of melons and fruit".