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Xinjiang dishes at Darda [Milpitas]

Robert Lauriston | Mar 24, 200404:39 PM

I discovered that Darda has three Xinjiang dishes on its menu, without English translations. On the takeout menu, they're listed at the top, between the live clams and the appetizers; on the regular menu, they're at the bottom of the live seafood page. The first is chicken ($12.95), second beef, third lamb (both $8.95).

I tried the lamb because a waitress at the Milpitas branch highly recommended it, calling it "lamb with cumin." It's wonderful--marinated with *lots* of chiles, cumin, maybe lemon juice, then stir-fried with onions, bell peppers, and cilantro. If I tasted it blind I'd think it was Mexican. Very good with the thin sesame bread with green onion.

I had an errand to run in San Jose yesterday, so on the way back I stopped at the Fremont branch to get some to go. Much to my surprise, they'd never heard of lamb with cumin, and it wasn't on the menu. So I described cumin, she goes in the back and brings out a pinch, then points out the no-translation items and explains that they're Xinjiang dishes. Haven't tried the chicken or beef yet. She said the beef was good but warned me away from the chicken, saying it was "dark chicken" and chopped in small pieces with bones.

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