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Cuisine: Xinjiang

Area: Dongsi

Price per person: 40-50 RMB

Crescent Moon’s been written about plenty; I think it always wins “Best Xinjiang” in whatever English-language restaurant surveys are around. I’m very fond of it myself. Crescent Moon may not be the cheapest, or even really the best Xinjiang around. But at a certain level of goodness, does “the best” really matter? Crescent Moon is delicious.

I have found Xinjiang food wonderful since my first encounter with it, at a little place in Dazhalan. This place could be spotted and smelled from down the street thanks to the nan guy out front grilling flatbreads, then brushing them with oil and spice. Tasting cumin and salt together can still make me remember being nineteen years old and feeling, hearing the waiters speak a language I hadn’t known existed the day before, that my world was getting wider quickly.

That place is gone now, like a lot of the places I ate at way back in 2008.

Now I’ve got Crescent Moon and their delicious Xinjiang liangcai (新疆凉菜), julienned pepper, onion, and cucumber. It’s dressed with vinegar and, in an inspired touch, a hint of sugar.

Nan baorou 馕包肉 is pure comfort food to me, likely because I ate a lot of lamb growing up. This dish, lamb in a tomato stew, sitting on top of a toasted flatbread, is rich, complex, and very filling. If you love lamb, be sure to order this one.

If you can handle it, do get the lamb skewers (羊肉串)…the waitress will always ask if you want any. Today, she looked a little miffed when we said no – we weren’t hungry enough, but they are delicious.

Crescent Moon/弯月
16 Dongsi Liu Tiao.
东城区东四六条16号

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