What is it?
Dapanji translates as “big plate chicken” and is a popular dish from Xinjiang province.
The chicken is first cut into bite size pieces, sautéed with spices (plenty of chilli and peppercorn) and coarsely chopped vegetables, and then slowly cooked in beer.
As the name implies, the dish is a large one and usually serves more than eight people.
Dapanji is often served with latiaozi, Xinjiang’s famous hand stretched noodle. The plain noodle balances the spiciness of the sauce and soaks up the juice of the chicken. And don’t forget to wash it all down with some Xinjiang black beer.
And the name…
According to folklore, the dish was invented by cooks along the highway as a quick fix for hungry travellers.
Its rich flavour and heartiness have made it a favourite in the region.
Where to eat it?
Who does Xinjiang food better than the people from the province? Check out the Xinjiang Islamic Restaurant in the Xinjiang provincial government office in Beijing, 7 Sanlihe Lu (inside the courtyard of the Xinjiang Provincial Government Office; Tel: 86-10-6833-2266)
An alternative is Crescent Moon Restaurant near Wangfujing, 16 Dongsi Liutiao, west of Chaonei Beixiaojie, Beijing (Tel: 86-10-6400-5281).
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