November 5, 2009

Crabulous trip to Shanghai day 1: Sapar, Sapar

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I'm back in Shanghai for a few days to inspect the renovation work on the house.  It is, of course, the season for hairy crab (大閘蟹), so the other (perhaps more important) reason to be in Shanghai is to sample them...

I arrived just around dinner time, and wanted something simple as I'm flying solo tonight.  I stopped by Sapar (新疆伊寧遠征餐廳), the Uygur restaurant a few minutes from the house.  I was pretty curious about the food here and thought I'd get me some lamb...  Incidentally, sapar means "long march", and was the name of the hotel we stayed at in Shimkent, Kazakhstan.

I asked for plov (抓飯), forgetting that this is a dish served only during lunch.  The restaurant owner suggested that if I wanted something simple, I should just order a plate of stir-fried lamb with cumin (孜然羊肉) and a nang (囊).

The lamb was just what I needed.  In typical fashion, it was a bit overcooked and slightly on the chewy and dry side, but I didn't mind.  The mix of red onions, Chinese parsley, chili powder and cumin was wonderful, with the flavors dancing around in my mouth along with that of the lamb.  A simple yet yummy dish.

The nang was perfect with the lamb.  It had just enough flavor from the salt and the spring onions inside, and came warm to the table.  I washed everything down with some pomegranate juice.  My appetite satiated, I called it an early night and strolled home.  The next few days would be filled with culinary feasts...

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