Uyghur cuisine is grand

45 Comments

Karlaylisi Restaurant, 4/203 Ballarat Road, Footscray. Phone: 0413 955 515

Don’t let the Ballarat Road address mislead – Karlaylisi is situated on Gordon Street.

In fact, it occupies the exact same premises as the sadly short-lived Spice Klub and its Indonesian offerings.

Karlaylisi delivers Uyghur cuisine – the food of the Uughurs, who live mostly in China’s Xinjiang province.

Check out this SBS story for background on the people and their food.

There’s oodles to like about Karlaylisi.

Indeed, it could be tossed up as the perfect template for the perfect CTS eating house.

The menu is long, stuffed with dumplings, hand-made noodles, soups, cold dishes and kebabs.

And lots and lots of lamb dishes.

Some items are certainly for larger and planned groups – the roasted whole lamb ($350, $180), for instance.

Or even the lamb casserole with steamed wrap bread ($60).

Yet despite the ambitions inherent in the menu and that this appears to be a one-man show, we found our food to be fresh, hot and delivered to our table with admirable speed and wide smiles.

An early highlight – actually, THE highlight – are the lamb skewers ($2 each, minimum of five).

These feature bigger chunks of meat than we’ve had elsewhere.

They’re more tender, too, and a little less seasoned with salt and cumin.

There’s some fat, but it all tastes way more than good.

Siyi qanalgan lagman ($14.50) is a homely and nicely plain mix of lamb and vegetables on a mound of noodles.

You could pitch this to picky kids as a spag bol variant, no problems.

From the dumpling/pastry list come tugra ($13), lamb dumplings.

Once again rather plain, they nevertheless go fine.

Aqqik korulgan chop ($14.50) is a much sexier (i.e. oilier and with some chilli heat) noodle dish with lamb, garlic chives and sesame oil.

Kala til kormisi ($14) is stir-fried beef tongue.

I expected to this to have a more pronounced chargrill or wok hei aspect.

Instead, the meat is quite silky and very tender.

The overtly meaty vibe of our menu choices is ameliorated by the complementary salad presented to us.

Laohusai ($13) is a delight, zingy and fresh with loud voices of garlic and vinegar coming through.

We will return to Karlaylisi – there’s so much to explore!

45 thoughts on “Uyghur cuisine is grand

  1. like to see this place prosper,the cummunity may be small but i suspect name of restaurant may get attention from turkish community .finger crossed!

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  2. We had the good fortune of visiting a Xinjiang restaurant while were in Beijing earlier this year. Our table of vegan food certainly looked different to the lamb-dominated ones around us…!

    I’ll be keen to check out the menu here next time I’m in Footscray.

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  3. Went here last night, the restaurant was packed! Lots of groups having dinner & many ordering takeaway. The food is sensational! We ordered so much & enjoyed every morsel! They are wonderful hosts that are humble & hospitable. I’ll be spreading the word, this restaurant cannot close down 🙂

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  4. this community is small but they are scattered and less concentrated in melbourne which is not helpful.wonderful to see the extra support from locals to safe it.

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    • it can be saved,can be done.time wil tell.there are many sub african or asian groups like them,so they are not alone. eg the ethnic oromo in african community also finds tough

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    • yes food //people relation play big role restaurant business, tamaz there is unmarked restaurant of malaysian food in melbourne which you may know ,full every minute with malaysians,i don’t think it could stay open a day if people knew as somalian restaurant ,area has zero somali population.

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      • that yemeni restaurant in flemington does have huge mandi seekers but some of their menu do have somali name,but it does’t matter ofcourse,image more impprtant,just mention i though.good feed it does to mandi seekers

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      • i would’t say marked,house of mandi is yemeni restaurant to non somalis.consider the sauce did reviews many west eats and many somali cafes and journalist who knows somali cuisine,but to general public its yemeni restaurant,hard to believe any non somali who say lets go african cafe and have african food in house of mandi.its over stated as keny said if customers treated house of mandi just another new somali kitchen ot somalieats but that is not the case if you look at customers.racecourse is famous for malaysian,somali but lately also become place to get arabian mandi.i have seen good food guide review,there is no mention somali restaurant or somali food,only said somali owns,that is general public and 99% of non somalis who want eat somalian food they go to surrounding african cafe.

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  5. there are italian restaurants that serve somali pasta but how food and restaurant decorated means its italians,customere are mix,some they notice and others with less knowledge italian cuisine they don’t notice.so taste of food is not cared,if you serve them somali goat dish in italian restaurant,they will think italian restaurant with exotic food. identity is what attracts people not taste of food.customers of cafe is influenced by “who is the owner and what kind of cafe is it,these two is most important.

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