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New series: Food on the Silk Road

( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-01-22 07:13:10

Editor's note: Few places have the romance of Kashgar, celebrated long ago by Rudyard Kipling and recently by food writer Jen Lin-Liu, author of On the Noodle Road, who ate her way along the ancient Silk Road - a former key link between Asia and Europe.

"We turned a corner," Lin-Liu writes from China's westernmost city in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, "and ran into the biggest wok I'd ever seen. It was larger than a kiddie pool and filled with bubbling rice pilaf. Even so often, the chef circled the perimeter of the wok, pouring in broth from a kettle. The pilaf glistened with carrots and lamb, and the scent of cumin and onions wafted in the air."

Food is as important to Uygur identity as Islam, writes David Eimer in his new book on the region, noting that street side bakeries making naan (bread) dominate every neighborhood. "The bakers knead the dough and sprinkle it with water, before sticking it on the sides of the tonur, the bread oven. When ready, it is removed with two skewers with their ends bent into the approximation of a fish hook."

New series: Food on the Silk Road

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