Turkish Chinese? Lauren Wambach does some culture jamming in Springvale
What is it?
Chinese kebabs! A dish from the Xinjiang region in northwestern China, you're looking at halal lamb, marinated in aromatic cumin and chilli and threaded onto metal skewers of sword-swallower proportions. $12 gets you five smoky kebabs, grilled over charcoal for a little campfire-style Silk Road action.
Where do I get it?
Dolan Uyghur Restaurant in Springvale. Where chopsticks on the tables contrast with carpets on the walls. Uyghur people are an often-Muslim, Turkic Chinese ethnic group, so lamb and potatoes meets wheat noodles and stir-fry. Owner Elham, a dentist unable to practice in Australia, honed the recipes through months of frantic phone calls back to China. Thusly nailed, he now manages front of house while a pro-chef works the grills.
What else should I order?
Forgo rice for Uyghur bread. Baked in-house daily it’s pillowy soft, made with cream and sprinkled with sesame. Thick yoghurt is perfect as a fire blanket for tingling tongues, and hand-pulled noodles have chewy snap and are impossibly long, topped with a trifecta of onion and colourful red and green capsicum. Up your veggie quotient further with shredded, stir-fried potato.
Try the traditional yoghurt drink that’s tangy and intensely sweet with hints of lemon. If that sounds a bit too cultured, there are all the usual softie suspects. It’s a dry house, so BYO if you fancy a tipple.
When should I go?
Drop in on the weekend for a long lunch before touring Springvale for real Thai massage and hard-to-find Asian goodies like pots of sawtooth coriander and rice paddy herb.
10 Queens Ave, Springvale. (03 9546 0698). Mon-Fri 5-10pm; Sat-Sun noon-10pm.