Your introduction to Uyghur cuisine is right around the corner on Wickenden Street. After a few initial setbacks and closings, Jahunger is back in business. Co-owners Nadia Parhat and husband Dilmarat Subat first opened in 2017. Not long after, a fire in the building forced them to close for repairs. No sooner had they recovered from that, then the quarantine shut them back down. (So get over there now.)
The menu certainly has familiar Asian elements but there is quite a bit of novelty in both ingredients and preparation (tripe anyone?). That alone is a treat these days. (The service was efficient and friendly. We were asked if we liked “spicy.” We said yes . . . and it was.)
For an excellent review and history of the restaurant I recommend this recent item from The Brown Daily Herald. Senior staff writer Victoria Lin clearly knows what she is talking about. (She employs a different spelling of Uyghur. I am sticking with the restaurant’s version just because.)
The restaurant’s menu includes classic Uighur and northwestern Chinese fare, including spiced chicken stew, kavaap lamb skewers, hand-pulled laghman noodles and polo, a slow-cooked carrot, lamb, raisin and rice dish. Parhat emphasized the importance of authenticity and an accessible menu, and said that she flew in a head chef from Xinjiang, China to train her kitchen staff on the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of cooking Uighur food.
Most of her staff was unfamiliar with Uighur food when they were first hired. “It’s a lot of work, it’s not like typical Chinese food,” Parhat said. “Everything is made from scratch.”
Beverages like soda, coconut milk, and tea are for sale. BYOB is allowed but there is a $5 fee. The caps pictured here being used as wall decor might also look good on top of your head; they are for sale for $22.
Hours: Closed Monday; Tuesday thru Thursday, 4pm to 8:30pm; Friday thru Sunday, noon to 8:30pm.
Jahunger, 333 Wickenden Street, 401.454.6866, (directions)
These meat-filled beef dumplings were delicious, but careful when you bite in, they are filled with tasty broth. The dipping sauce is extraordinary.
The Jahunger noodles are chewy, almost gummy, in a most satisfying way. (Is it the hand-pulling?) I suppose some people would consider this dish spicy; it is seasoned with what they call a “tongue-numbing secret sauce.” The staff kept my water glass filled. Bring a kleenex.
Attention eggplant lovers: Get the Spicy Tiger, “smoky wok-tossed Asian chili with eggplant in garlic sauce.”