Xinjiang cuisine is a surprise. The food style barely holds that thread of "Chineseness" familiar in every other province and satellite of China. It has a most definite Middle Eastern style in the cooking ingredients and presentation. The answer to the riddle of course is in her history. The north western province of China was the significant gateway for Sino European and Sino-Arabic trade and as time went on some of the traders established themselves in permanent societies along the routes of trade. These people were obviously of middle-eastern culture and along with their business skills they brought their foods and recipes, wives and established their own families in these places.
The use of the vertical oven is noticeable everywhere and cooks the well known roast mutton dishes and the delectable and extensive breads.Combinations of bread and meats are seen here and nowhere else in China. It's a decided movement from the separation of grain and meat of the rest of China. Xinjiang cuisine is highly regarded by the Chinese and in fact her most popular street food, Yang Rou Chuan is an import from Xinjiang. Islam has an effect on the cuisine of Xinjiang both in allowable foods and the style of preparation, the festive foods specific for Ramadan and her interpretation of other Chinese foods and ingredients.