257 Glenferrie Rd, Malvern
Phone: 9500 8828
I’m not sure exactly how the conversation started, but I managed to self-invite myself along to a Uighur tweetup a couple of weeks ago. Along with @eatnik, I set out East to meet @alexlobov, @jillianjtl and @bui for a feast at Tarim Uighur Restaurant in Malvern.
Tarim is presumably named after the Tarim basin, which covers a large part of the Xinjiang region of North-Western China. The restaurant is run by a husband and wife team, who are both wonderfully friendly. It’s one of those places with a functional, sparse decor, where you get your own tea, and the chopsticks are disposable. Be aware that service may be a little slow if they’re busy, but the food’s worth the wait.
We started off with the beef tongue. It was wonderfully tender, and had good flavour.
The close proximity of the Tarim basin to the steppes of the ‘istans (Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan) and the Turkic ethnic roots of the Uighur people meant that there’s a bit of a Russian/Turkish style to this food, as opposed to your typical Chinese, or even Tibetan, restaurant. Don’t expect to have rice with your meal – the breads and noodles are more interesting anyway.
Alex commented that the grilled meat skewers we ordered were pretty much like the ones his Russian father makes. He claims his father’s are better, in which case they’d be pretty amazing, because these lamb skewers were well spiced, and perfectly cooked. I’d tried this sort of skewer as street food in Yunnan years ago, but the meat was never this tender and juicy. It could have something to do with the quality of our meat produce here, as opposed to rural China?