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A plastic container of chicken and potatoes flecked with red bell peppers, with white broad noodles on the side.
Dapan ji, known as “big tray chicken,” as served at Tengri Tagh.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

A Guide to NYC’s Uyghur Restaurant Scene

Lamb-stuffed pastries, hand-pulled noodles, and more

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Dapan ji, known as “big tray chicken,” as served at Tengri Tagh.
| Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The human rights atrocities committed against China’s mainly Muslim Uyghur minority, numbering around 12 million, have long been condemned by the United States — yet few refugees have been admitted into the country, despite the passage of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020. There are currently an estimated 5,000 Uyghur refugees living in New York City, and I know of only seven restaurants that specialize in Uyghur fare — though another serves the food of the related Dungan people, and the menus of Central Asian restaurant often overlap.

Nevertheless, the cuisine, with its lamb pastries, kebabs, flatbreads, enormous bulging dumplings, pilafs, and handmade noodles have become popular in other parts of China, which is why we see the fabled “big tray chicken” (aka dapan ji) at Spicy Village and other Chinese restaurants. Yet, the menus of these seven establishments are unique for their simple combinations of lamb, chicken, root vegetables, noodles, and Chinese-influenced dishes of cloud ear mushrooms and cabbage laced with chile oil.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Tarim Uyghur Cuisine

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136-20 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11354
(347) 732-4420

Prominently located in the New World Mall’s basement food court, Tarim offers a very full Uyghur menu despite occupying only a small counter. Triangular, lamb-stuffed samsas, round flatbreads, and other pastries that change by the day are displayed on that counter, while an illuminated sign above offers lamb kebabs, chicken and lamb versions of dapan ji, the hand-pulled noodles known as lagman, and Uyghur pilaf, which is similar to Uzbek plov, though usually with a greater range of vegetables besides carrots and chiles.

A customer stands before a counter behind which two men in blue skullcaps fill his order.
Tarim Uyghur Cuisine is a counter in the New World Mall.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

2. Tengri Tagh Uyghur Cuisine

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144 W 37th St
New York, NY 10018
(646) 964-5418

The latest of the city’s Uyghur restaurants is unusually located just north of Macy’s at Herald Square, bringing the cuisine to a whole new audience of office workers and shoppers. Specialties at Tengri Tagh include dapan ji (called “chicken mixed with spices braised in potatoes”), lagman (styled “handmade noodle with Uyghur stir-fried lamb”), and manti dumplings served with soy sauce and fiery chile paste. The name means “Mountains of Heaven,” referring to a range that separates Xinjiang from Central Asia, and the fast-casual service takes place in a sparely decorated dining room.

Restaurant interior looking toward the front windows the diners seated on either side.
New York’s latest Uyghur restaurant is Tengri Tagh near Herald Square.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

3. Nurlan Uyghur Restaurant

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43-39 Main St
Queens, NY 11355
(347) 542-3324

This lively spot on lower Main Street not far from the Queens Botanical Garden is furnished with tiny Uyghur musical instruments and Silk Road market scenes, and features a handful of pastas not usually seen in Xinjiang restaurants here. One is pearl noodles, dressed with minced beef, slivers of carrot, and lots and lots of chile oil that produces a surprisingly mellow burn. The eclectic grilled-kebab list, which runs from eggplant to hot dogs, is another plus.

Rounds noodle nuggets in a chile sauce.
Pearl noodles at Nurlan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

4. Jiang's Kitchen

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65 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003
(646) 398-7722
Visit Website

Like its predecessor Jiang Diner, this restaurant imagines itself as the Uyghur equivalent of an American diner, with main courses drawn from the cuisine’s canon of noodles, kebabs, and rice casseroles, plus Chinese-leaning side dishes such as wood-ear mushrooms and hot-and-sour cucumbers. Lamb ribs are a good choice for the former, and tofu and scallion for the latter.

A white plate with lamb ribs, dusted with a cumin and hot pepper mix, atop some shredded lettuce. small triangles of bread and more cumin and hot pepper mix are also on the plate.
Barbecued lamb ribs at Jiang’s Kitchen.
Erika Adams/Eater NY

5. Young Xinjiang BBQ Cart

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246 Grand St
New York, NY 10002

For the last year or more, this cart specializing in Uyghur-style kebabs cooked over charcoal has been parked over the D train’s Grand Street stop. It usually appears at around 5 p.m. and stays as long as there are customers, sometimes till 1 a.m. The usual snacking order is three or four sticks, which average about $2 each. Chicken and lamb are the most popular, but you can also get squid, beef tendon, gluten, and chicken gizzard — and for those so inclined, you can even purchase a hot dog on a stick, sans bun.

A man stands before a metallic cart grilling kebabs over charcoal.
Young Xinjiang cart is open late into the nights.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

6. Caravan Uyghur Cuisine

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253 Pearl St
New York, NY 10038
(917) 261-7445
Visit Website

Located near the South Street Seaport, Caravan offers a well-furnished dining room a shade more formal than the other Uyghur restaurants in town. The menu is bigger, too, though all the dishes on it are not always available. You can watch the lagman being stretched and smashed through a window that looks into the kitchen, and other recommended dishes include lamb samsa pastries, lamb rib kebabs, and side dishes of cloud-ear mushrooms and cabbage with chiles.

Peppers, lamb, onions, noodles, celery, and red broth on a plate.
Lagman at Caravan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

7. Kashkar Cafe

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1141 Brighton Beach Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11235
(718) 743-3832
Visit Website

This Uyghur and Uzbek cafe named after a Xinjiang Silk Road city surprised Brighton Beach when it appeared around 2003, vending fist-sized lamb dumplings that made the neighborhood’s usual Russian pelmeni, and even the local Uzbek manti, look delicate by comparison. The place referred to its plov as “fried rice,” and also offered things like Russian pickled vegetables to appeal to neighborhood customers. This is a fusion restaurant par excellence in a post-Soviet world, and a delightful place to sit and drink a pot of tea.

Lamb and peppers sit in a pool of sauce next to steamed dough on a white plate over a patterned tablecloth.
Lamb and peppers with steamed dough.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

1. Tarim Uyghur Cuisine

136-20 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11354
A customer stands before a counter behind which two men in blue skullcaps fill his order.
Tarim Uyghur Cuisine is a counter in the New World Mall.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Prominently located in the New World Mall’s basement food court, Tarim offers a very full Uyghur menu despite occupying only a small counter. Triangular, lamb-stuffed samsas, round flatbreads, and other pastries that change by the day are displayed on that counter, while an illuminated sign above offers lamb kebabs, chicken and lamb versions of dapan ji, the hand-pulled noodles known as lagman, and Uyghur pilaf, which is similar to Uzbek plov, though usually with a greater range of vegetables besides carrots and chiles.

136-20 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11354

2. Tengri Tagh Uyghur Cuisine

144 W 37th St, New York, NY 10018
Restaurant interior looking toward the front windows the diners seated on either side.
New York’s latest Uyghur restaurant is Tengri Tagh near Herald Square.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The latest of the city’s Uyghur restaurants is unusually located just north of Macy’s at Herald Square, bringing the cuisine to a whole new audience of office workers and shoppers. Specialties at Tengri Tagh include dapan ji (called “chicken mixed with spices braised in potatoes”), lagman (styled “handmade noodle with Uyghur stir-fried lamb”), and manti dumplings served with soy sauce and fiery chile paste. The name means “Mountains of Heaven,” referring to a range that separates Xinjiang from Central Asia, and the fast-casual service takes place in a sparely decorated dining room.

144 W 37th St
New York, NY 10018

3. Nurlan Uyghur Restaurant

43-39 Main St, Queens, NY 11355
Rounds noodle nuggets in a chile sauce.
Pearl noodles at Nurlan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This lively spot on lower Main Street not far from the Queens Botanical Garden is furnished with tiny Uyghur musical instruments and Silk Road market scenes, and features a handful of pastas not usually seen in Xinjiang restaurants here. One is pearl noodles, dressed with minced beef, slivers of carrot, and lots and lots of chile oil that produces a surprisingly mellow burn. The eclectic grilled-kebab list, which runs from eggplant to hot dogs, is another plus.

43-39 Main St
Queens, NY 11355

4. Jiang's Kitchen

65 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003
A white plate with lamb ribs, dusted with a cumin and hot pepper mix, atop some shredded lettuce. small triangles of bread and more cumin and hot pepper mix are also on the plate.
Barbecued lamb ribs at Jiang’s Kitchen.
Erika Adams/Eater NY

Like its predecessor Jiang Diner, this restaurant imagines itself as the Uyghur equivalent of an American diner, with main courses drawn from the cuisine’s canon of noodles, kebabs, and rice casseroles, plus Chinese-leaning side dishes such as wood-ear mushrooms and hot-and-sour cucumbers. Lamb ribs are a good choice for the former, and tofu and scallion for the latter.

65 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003

5. Young Xinjiang BBQ Cart

246 Grand St, New York, NY 10002
A man stands before a metallic cart grilling kebabs over charcoal.
Young Xinjiang cart is open late into the nights.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

For the last year or more, this cart specializing in Uyghur-style kebabs cooked over charcoal has been parked over the D train’s Grand Street stop. It usually appears at around 5 p.m. and stays as long as there are customers, sometimes till 1 a.m. The usual snacking order is three or four sticks, which average about $2 each. Chicken and lamb are the most popular, but you can also get squid, beef tendon, gluten, and chicken gizzard — and for those so inclined, you can even purchase a hot dog on a stick, sans bun.

246 Grand St
New York, NY 10002

6. Caravan Uyghur Cuisine

253 Pearl St, New York, NY 10038
Peppers, lamb, onions, noodles, celery, and red broth on a plate.
Lagman at Caravan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Located near the South Street Seaport, Caravan offers a well-furnished dining room a shade more formal than the other Uyghur restaurants in town. The menu is bigger, too, though all the dishes on it are not always available. You can watch the lagman being stretched and smashed through a window that looks into the kitchen, and other recommended dishes include lamb samsa pastries, lamb rib kebabs, and side dishes of cloud-ear mushrooms and cabbage with chiles.

253 Pearl St
New York, NY 10038

7. Kashkar Cafe

1141 Brighton Beach Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235
Lamb and peppers sit in a pool of sauce next to steamed dough on a white plate over a patterned tablecloth.
Lamb and peppers with steamed dough.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

This Uyghur and Uzbek cafe named after a Xinjiang Silk Road city surprised Brighton Beach when it appeared around 2003, vending fist-sized lamb dumplings that made the neighborhood’s usual Russian pelmeni, and even the local Uzbek manti, look delicate by comparison. The place referred to its plov as “fried rice,” and also offered things like Russian pickled vegetables to appeal to neighborhood customers. This is a fusion restaurant par excellence in a post-Soviet world, and a delightful place to sit and drink a pot of tea.

1141 Brighton Beach Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11235

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