Cow trotter. Photos by Pauline D. Loh / China Daily
There is more than just lamb skewers, roast mutton and naan breads. You can actually get fish and even excellent beef. Pauline D. Loh examines the lesser-known delicacies from Northwest China.
A recent surfeit from visits to the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Turkey and Ningxia Hui autonomous region had left me a little reluctant to try any more lamb, but a new Xinjiang restaurant in Beijing beckoned, and by all accounts, it promised to be different. "You can eat beef," the spouse quipped. "Who would eat beef at a Xinjiang restaurant?" I shot back.
First, I ate my words, and then we feasted on a tender, succulent cow trotter that was braised to spicy perfection. There was none of the usual "ox glue" aftertaste that characterizes many lesser hooves.
The "bovine palm", according to the menu, is a signature dish of Ruxian Guli, which translates to "Brilliant Blossom", a newly opened, opulently decorated Xinjiang eatery located in Beijing's city center, off the Second Ring Road.
Access is easy, and parking is even easier, with a large courtyard space by the side reserved for guests. The third-floor restaurant has a dedicated lift that goes straight up to the reception. In the evenings, a song and dance troupe from Xinjiang delivers entertainment in the spacious main hall, but you can choose quiet and privacy in its many private rooms.
But, back to the food.