Kashkar Cafe

Instagram Post 5/29/2019

While fine tuning my ethnojunket through Little Odessa, I visited Kashkar Café, 1141 Brighton Beach Avenue in Brooklyn. Kashkar serves the food of the Uyghur people, a primarily Muslim ethnic group who live in the Xinjiang region of northwest China near Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan; as you’d expect, the fare is a comingling of Chinese and Central Asian cuisines and definitely worth getting to know.

(Click on any image to view it in high resolution.)

Ashlangfu (ашлангфу) salad, aka lang-foo noodles. If you’ve enjoyed Chinese mung bean jelly noodle, you’ll recognize these slippery slices as their cognate, liangfen. The dish included bits of lamb and chopped vegetables in a light, tangy sauce, but lurking unexpectedly beneath the pile was lagman, Uyghur’s claim to noodle fame (Chinese cognate: lo mein).

Kazi (you might see qazı) was described as “pickled sausage from the beef meat in home styles”; in Central Asia, kazi is made from horsemeat, so the annotation was reassuring. This isn’t a ground meat type of sausage, rather it’s dry cured rib meat in a natural casing, served cold. Not particularly pickled in flavor, it was dense and earthy and the vegetables plus a squeeze of lemon were a welcome accompaniment. A little goes a long way with these slices, but it’s worth doing once.

This was a winner. Tsomyan (цомян), cognate with chow mein, was described as sliced fried dough and lamb meat with vegetables. When you see “dough” on the menu, it refers to a thick doughy noodle that’s a little reminiscent of Xi’an hand pulled noodles if a bit drier; the term distinguishes it from lagman noodles. Splendid char on those chewy noodles; really excellent.

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AND speaking of Little Odessa, there are some slots open for Tuesday, June 4th’s ethnojunket along Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach Avenue! Simply click here to find out how to join in the fun!
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