Sometimes when a new piece of information intrigues me, I become obsessed with it. My friend Jango who is full of interesting facts and recommendations told me if I was ever to go to Coney Island, I should eat at its Uighur restaurant. I’d never heard of Uighur food, I didn’t even know about Uighur people.
That was it. I was hell-bent on visiting Coney Island before I left New York and I gave my friends Madhuri and Vik no choice but to come with me. After a boardwalk stroll and dipping our feet in the water, we headed to Brighton beach where we found a glimmering neon sign indicating kitschy Kashkar Cafe.
Uighurs are from Xingiang, a Chinese province and Kashkar Cafe gets its name from Kashgar, a Silk Route city. Uighurs are predominantly Muslim Turkic people and their cuisine has a melange of Chinese, Kazakh, Russian, Uzbek, and Turkish influences AKA it is delicious.
The menu is extensive enough that you could order something different on each visit. You could start with doughy dumplings like manti or samsa (which is baked), move onto hearty lagman noodles or the fragrant and homely polov or pilaf and order some protein to share, the skewers of kebabs and grilled salmon were both exceptional. Service is kind and quick, it’s definitely value for money and it’s BYOB so come with the ingredients for a beach-worthy cocktail.