What is it?
Tiger Salad, better known as laohu cai, originated amongst the Uighurs of Xinjiang, in the far west of China. The dish is also popular in Mongolia.
Typically, it consists of spring onions, green pepper, red chilli and coriander, cut into very fine julienne strips and mixed with a fierce sauce of garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar and a lot of chilli.
The outcome is a refreshingly crisp salad, served as a side dish or appetizer. Good as an accompaniment to a beer, or when waiting for the rest of your meal to arrive.
What is Xinjiang cuisine?
Less popular than other cuisines like Cantonese or Sichuanese, the food in Xinjiang province incorporates Central Asian and Turkic fare.
Most Uighurs are Muslim, so pork is off the menu, and is normally replaced by roast mutton and kebab dishes, most of which are eaten by hand.
Another signature Uighur dish is la mian, a type of handmade or hand-stretched noodle, usually served with stir-fry meat like lamb, beef, or alternatively with vegetables.
Literally, la is to pull or stretch, while mian means noodle.
Where to eat it?
If you are in Beijing, Urumqi’s Beijing Office Xinjiang Restaurant, 1 Chegongzhuang Beidajie, Xicheng District. West of Guanyuanqiao on West Second Ring Road (Tel: 8610 6836-2795).
If you are in Hong Kong Manchu Bistro is another good option. It is located at 33 Elgin Street, Soho, (Tel: 852 2536-9218).
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