Food and the love of it is a part of…
The spelling varies, and along with it the origins, but lengmen or laghman noodles are in the culinary canon of Uyghur cooking.
The Uyghur people of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region are one of many ethnic minority groups living in northwestern China. While their food is similar to some Chinese cuisines, and obviously shares some common roots, it has its own particular ingredients and characteristics.
In addition to delicious polu (steamed mutton and carrots) and dapanji (chicken “stew”), one other such defining Uyghur dish is the aforementioned hand-pulled wheat flour noodles which are boiled and often served with mutton or other meat and a variety of stir-fried vegetables such as tomatoes, onions and green peppers.
The laghman noodle is a cousin to the Chinese lamian noodle of northern Chinese cookery. This is a family of noodles made — with no little wizardry — by pulling and folding over and over a length of the elastic dough until, after only eight or so folds, you have over 250 noodles. It is a technique recorded in China as early as 1504 and remains a process that is easier said than done requiring a good degree of skill.
Recognizing all of that arcane culinary history, Bogda Uyghur Restaurant is located in central Waterloo tucked into a residential apartment complex on Balsam Street between Wilfrid Laurier University’s new business school on University Avenue and Waterloo Collegiate Institute. The restaurant serves delicious Uyghur dishes that are unique offerings to Waterloo Region. (You can read my previous encounter with Bogda’s Uyghur’s noodles here.)
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