By Stefanie Gans and Rina Rapuano
Fairfax | Uyghur | $$
Maybe the predictions from 2017 that Uyghur food is the next big thing—when three local restaurants opened in less than two years—didn’t come to fruition. Maybe we still need a pronunciation guide: WEE-gur. Maybe we still need help understanding this cross between Chinese, Middle Eastern and Central Asian food, a Silk Road-fueled journey of the Uyghur people. And, maybe we still need a nudge to try this food.
Head to Eerkin’s in downtown Fairfax, a small restaurant with the full range of Uyghur delights: kathlama naan, four golden triangles that are buttery, crispy and flaky, like a flattened croissant; lamb kabobs, the quintessential meat-on-a-stick with the spices so heavily applied you can taste the texture; and manta, dumplings that are all about a salty, savory sauce freshened with cilantro. The true joys are the various noodle dishes—be it the housemade laghman, thick and chewy, almost reminiscent of Japanese udon, or dapanchi, a giant plate with chicken and potatoes, plus silky, flat, jagged-cut noodles, more like a shaggy Italian tagliatelle—no maybe about it. // 4008 University Drive, Fairfax