Western Star

By Mike Peters ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-01-05 08:07:58
Western Star

Xixia roasted lamb spare ribs.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Ningxia is one of the country's agricultural heartlands, and the only five-star hotel in the region's capital takes full advantage of the bountiful produce and the delicious local lamb. Mike Peters reports from Yinchuan.

It's no surprise that lamb steals the show at the Kempinski Yinchuan's Chinese restaurant, Zhong. Chef K.K. Wong, after all, is running a kitchen in the heart of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, famous for lamb prepared in a style reflecting the traditions of the Western Xia culture and the Muslim community that has thrived in the area for centuries.

While the Western Xia empire (1038-1227) is shrouded in mystery-the nomadic people are believed to have had an advanced military and writing system, but were famously annihilated by the armies of Genghis Khan-the imprint of the Hui people pervades even the elegantly European Kempinski. Those familiar with the brand may be surprised to find the famous German hotel to be a pork-free zone, even in the Paulaner Brauhaus, an oom-pah pub that in other cities is awash not only in traditionally crafted beer but in roasted pig knuckles and German sausages. At this Silk Road crossroads in Northwest China, however, the entire hotel is strictly halal, in accordance with local culinary custom.

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