China: Northwest China Food Recap

Northwestern China is a relatively sparsely populated mountainous and desert region, hence the food is rather different from the more eastern traditional Chinese fare. It’s really a mix of dishes that are brought by Chinese from the east moving westward and more local dishes that are mostly Muslim. The variety in the cuisine is not big here, there is absolutely no pork, and lamb and mutton takes over. At times, especially in Zhangye and Jiayunguan, it felt like the food was more Mongolian or Central Asia – like boiled mutton that you eat with your hands and dip into salt and spices while having cloves of garlic on the side. Grilled and barbecued meats are also omnipresent – especially fatty pieces of mutton on rose sticks. Another truly local thing is the Chinese burger – a round flat bun stuffed with fermented mutton and spices. Oh, and the mutton hooves, at just 50 cents each, are a true local delicacy – not much meat there though.