Monday, February 29, 2016

Uyghur Bistro: Not Your Typical Chinese Place

Restaurant: Uyghur Bistro
Address: 9888 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, Texas
Buffet or a-la-carte: a-la-carte
Date of visit: 2/13/16



Background:
Salam/hey guys! Welcome to my latest review. Today I will be reviewing a restaurant that has a new style of Chinese cuisine. The place is called Uyghur (wee-grr)Bistro. So what is the new style of Chinese cuisine? Well, it is called Uyghur cuisine! Uyghur cuisine is the food that is commonly eaten by the Uyghur people. The Uyghur people are a Turkic ethnic group, and they mainly live in the Autonomous Region of Xinjiang in Northwest China. A lot of their food is influenced by Central Asian cuisines. Majoirty of Uyghurs are Muslim, and the majority of Uyghur dishes are predominately halal. This is extremely different than normal Chinese cuisine. Normally, Chinese cuisine has a lot of pork along with chicken, beef, and duck. Uyghur cuisine mainly has lamb and mutton, which is not normally used in traditional Chinese cuisine. And there is no alcohol in the cooking, as opposed to normal Chinese cuisine where in many instances alcohol is used in the sauces used to cook or in the food itself. Many specialites include the laghman noodles, polo (Uyghur pulao) , Uyghur kebab, and big plate chicken (also called dapanji). I actually found out about this place when I saw another Houston foodie go and check out the restaurant. I called them up and they said that they were actually halal. My incentive to go greatly increased when many foodies from Houston had encouraged me to go and try after they enjoyed the food themselves. I had to wait for a while before I could actually go because I was busy with school. Finally, I got to go there before meeting up with a few friends. After getting the housework done, I went to the restaurant.



Let The Experience Begin!
Uyghur Bistro is located at the intersection of Bellaire and Corporate Drive in the new Chinatown (also referred as Asiatown). This is in fact the only halal restaurant in the new Chinatown today (new Chinatown is the area bordered by the Sam Houston Tollway, Gessner Road, Beechnut Street, and the Westpark Tollway. Old Chinatown is near downtown). A few years ago, there used to be a place called Chinese Halal Cuisine, but it closed down. I went in, and the ambiance was nice. The restaurant was full of many people from different backgrounds, including Chinese people. There was music playing, and there were traditional ceramics and textures in the restaurant as well. I said salam to the waiter, then got to the table. Then I had started looking at the menu.



Let's Eat!
I have to admit. It was kinda difficult thinking about what to order, since I was new to Uyghur cuisine. I eventually decided to try the classic laghman. It was laghman noodles with vegetables and lamb. I paid a total of $12.45 (tax included). The waiting time was 11 minutes and 32 seconds.



Menu:
This is definitely an authentic Uyghur place. It has items that are popular with the Uyghur people. There are some terms you may have never heard of, so I'll describe them in the captions of my food pics.

The specialty dishes


Main Dishes. Daoxiao, Ding Ding, and Gan Bian = a different types of noodles


Kebabs and special dishes


Soup, salad, and drinks

Classic Laghman


The Verdict:
Now let me tell you something. The noodles are INSANELY LONG. Tastewise, the food was good. The noodles were fresh, and so were the vegetables. The food was washed down with a glass of water.
The service was great. The people were really nice. I was observing one waiter interact with a couple of first time diners who were actually trying Uyghur food for the first time



Conclusion:
The food was good enough for me to plan my next trip. I hope one day that we will be able to see the hand-pulling of noodles being done because it is literally art. I told the waiter that and they would one day think about it. I hope it would come one day!



Grading:
Service: 9/10
Food: 8/10
Total: 17/20 = 85% (B)
Pricing: $$ out of $$$$



Restaurant Information:
Uyghur Bistro
9888 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, Texas
Phone: (832) 795-9259 or (281) 888-6227
Timings: Tue-Sun: 11 AM - 3 PM & 5 PM - 9:30 PM; Mondays closed
Caters: unknown

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Cheers
Zain Mohammed

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