Karlaylisi is a tiny shopfront selling some of the most authentic Uyghur food in Melbourne.

Here you’ll be able to find läghmän, stir-fried hand-pulled noodles, which are ubiquitous in the Uyghur region of Xinjiang. Chef and owner Dawut Sidik makes a batch of dough every day, turning that dough into thick, round, uniform noodles.

Läghmän can be served dry or wet. The classic dry version, oy läghmän, is Karlaylisi’s bestseller: long noodles tossed with lamb and vegetables and a little spice. But the version Sidik recommends is aqqik korulgan läghmän. Shorter noodles are tossed with chilli, garlic, ginger and soy before lean lamb, onions, garlic chives and chunks of bird’s eye chillies are thrown in.

Unlike many cuisines in Asia, whose foundations are rice, Uyghurs use wheat. In Xinjiang there are many types of boiled dumplings, steamed buns and baked and fried breads, the most common being gosh nan (pan-fried thin, flaky pastry filled with lamb and cumin) and samsa (baked parcels filled with lamb mince, onion and black pepper).

The menu is written in Uyghur, English and Mandarin. Sidik speaks the latter fluently, which has helped him assimilate into life in Australia while he works on his English.

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Updated: September 6th, 2023

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