Dunhuang food includes wheat flour noodles as the main staple of the local diet. These noodles are actually made from pea flour and are clear, white, cool and slippery. Noodles are served with lamb, chicken, or beef. On the other hand, Dunhuang Rang Pizi has long been one of the most popular dishes in the city. The noodles are seasoned with hot peppers for a cool, yet spicy feel that is just perfect for desert weather.
Shazhou Night Market is one of the best places in Dunhuang to try authentic Dunhuang specialties. you will also have opportunity to sample Huanghe sweet melons, grapes and Hami melons. Virtually all of the very best of Dunhuang's northwestern cuisine can be found here: Saozi Noodle, stuffed bread and even mutton kebabs.
Since ancient times, camels have been the most efficient and cost-effective mode of transportation on the Silk Road. Their strong hooves make it possible to trudge through the Gobi desert and are highly prized for tendon (thought to be highly nutritious by Chinese).
However, since camels generally live long lives and are most valuable as modes of transportation, camel hooves (tuozhang) for use in cooking are quite hard to find. In fact, camel hooves are almost as hard to find as another Chinese rare gourmet dish, Bear claws (Xiongzhang), which is actually illegal in recent times (the bears are nearly extinct).
To prepare camel hooves, the hoof is first soaked in water and softened. After that, it is stewed for as long as eight hours. By that time, the tendon can be detached from the bone. After steaming for another two or three hours, the tendon is then cut into small pieces and placed on a serving platter with other ingredients for decoration. Generally, egg whites are added to the tendon at some point, so the hooves not only have a unique, hearty flavor, but also make a great presentation as well.
Dunhuang Rangpi (Rangpi) is a famous local snack food made of flour. Some varieties are yellowish while others are white. This noodle-like dish is typically served cold. With special seasonings, this dish tastes slightly spicy.
Unlike Dunhuang yellow noodles, Rangpi is fairly easy to make. First boil some flour in water and stir until the starch and protein separate. Then remove the starch and boil it again. After all the water evaporates, cut the solidified starch into thin strips and add seasoning. While it may sound strange, it's not really. In fact, it is quite tasty.
Handmade Saozi noodles (Saozimian) are known far and wide in China. Saozi noodles are generally thin and have an accompanying soup that is made with meat and/or vegetables.
Since camel is an extremely important mode of transportation in Dunhuang and nearby desert regions, camel is fairly rare and it may be difficult to find a restaurant that serves this dish. If you happen to see it on a menu, give it a try!
Deep-fried camel hump (Youbaotuofeng) has been a cherished delicacy in the northwest for over 1500 years. Local chefs cut the hump into uniformly slices or shreds and deep-fry them. The finished dish is both tender and crispy and has a purplish color.
Dunhuang Yellow Noodle
On certain murals and frescoes in the Mogao Grottoes, there are vivid portrayals of people make yellow noodles. Convincing proof of the long history and popularity of Dunhuang Yellow Noodles.
Some say that from a distance, Dunhuang yellow noodles (Huangmian) resemble threads of gold. While this is somewhat of an exaggeration, these noodles are by no means simple to make. Only the expert chef can properly pull the heavy dough into noodles.
The fine thread-like noodles are then boiled in water until they float, however the noodles are typically eaten cold or at room temperature. Yellow noodles are often eaten with other dishes as a staple (like rice in other parts of China).