Thankfully there was a map on my table at Cafe Kashkar, indicating where the Uyghur people live. It’s the western-most end of China, where China borders several Central Asian countries, just south of Russia. That explains, in part, why Cafe Kashkar (which serves Uyghur food) is located in Brighton Beach among so many Russian and Ukrainian restaurants. It also explains the interesting mix of flavors on the menu (though not, perhaps, the “Korean style” cabbage salad). My Salad Langsai, which was a blend of crisp vegetables pickled in vinegar, was chock full of thin noodles. I’m not sure of the origin of the Khonoom, pictured above, one of the few vegetarian options on the menu (it’s listed under the “hot appetizers” section of the menu). These were open-ended dumplings filled with shredded potato, topped with a sweet tomato sauce and raw onions. If they had been tightly wrapped I might have thought they were cousins of vareniki, but the khonoom were simply dough rolled around potato and steamed. If not for my newly discovered knowledge of the Uyghur people I might have said they had more in common with canneloni than pierogi.
Cafe Kashkar — 1141 Brighton Beach Ave