ADELAIDE | I chanced across Tangritah Uyghur Restaurant while walking around Adelaide’s CBD during my first week there, and without even doing any research on it, knew that I had to pop in before I left town.
I’d not tried Uyghur food before and didn’t really know anything about the food, culture, and people, beyond the Xinjiang re-education camps and associated ethnocide.
There’s quite a story behind Tangriah. Bahar, Yakub, and Marhaba Salay immigrated to Adelaide from Ghulja, China, between 2007 and 2011 (it was impossible for them to all flee at the same time) and are serving up delicious Uyghur food at their restaurant, while trying to save their daughter/sister Mahira, who was put into a “re-education” camp last year for her involvement in terrorist activities.
The so called terrorist activities? Sending money to her family in Australia. Through their food, clothing, and Yakub’s beard, the Salays can express their culture in Australia. If they did it in China they’d all be thrown into camps.
…and there are those who don’t think that food is political.
As for the food itself, delicious. I wanted to eat all of the things, but alas, solo dining and big servings meant I stuck to the recommendations (wish I’d gotten those lamb’s feet though).
Qurghak Laghman Qorimisi are a highlight. Bouncy hand pulled noodles, stir fried with lamb, vegetable, fresh chilli, and Laghman sauce. Really tasty, with that unique blend of spices common to central Asian food that’s a real fusion of East Asian and Middle Eastern flavours. I was told that if there’s a dish that epitomises Uyghur food, this is it.
Also delicious are the lamb and onion samsa. Baked parcels of flaky pastry filled with spiced lamb and onion. A popular street snack wherever Uyghurs are found. And of course, the signature chargrilled diced lamb skewers. Tender spiced lamb with a nice charcoal flavour. On weekends you can pick up a skewer or two grilled at the front of the restaurant until well into the night.
Here’s hoping the work that the Salay family are doing with the help of Amnesty Australia and the Australian Government, gets Mahira here soon.
Tangritah Uyghur Restaurant
100 Grote Street
South Australia 5000
Telephone: (08) 8212 8681
Mon – Sat: 11:00pm to 9:00pm