To know Chinese food is to love it, but, man is there a lot of it to love.
I’m not talking about the spread during an epic dim sum feast, or what’s being dished out seemingly non-stop at a banquet, or even what you might encounter roaming the Night Market stalls in the summer months. To be fair, though, any of those occasions might put you face to face with a lot of ways to stuff your face.
Instead, I mean just how vast and varied the regional cuisines of China are, from the bold and spicy chili peppers of Sichuan (or Szechuan) fare, to the lighter flavours, condiments, and accent on sweetness found in Shanghaiese eats.
What may get less of our palate’s attention is the food that the Chinese Muslim population eats. These halal dishes chiefly come from the northwestern tip of China, in Xinjiang province, and showcase proteins from the land that follow the edicts of a Muslim diet.
You’ll find Xinjiang-style dishes, and more, at Richmond’s Silkway Halal. The all-halal menu may cross the provincial barriers, as many Chinese restaurants in the west tend to do, but you won’t find any pork on the menu. Look for hearty dishes made with lamb, chicken, and beef, as well as those that come with thick hand-pulled noodles for some serious slurping.
Northern Chinese food tends to be the kind of filling fare you’d want to turn to for warming up during a long, cold winter, and when it comes to the main “tastes” represented in the cuisine, food from this corner of the country veers towards salty. Silkway’s food represents a blend of the two–halal and Northern Chinese.
Look for dishes like their braised chicken with noodles, and you’ll get a soulful bowl of tender chicken with impossibly wide noodles to tuck into.
Be sure to try their game meats, like lamb; two great options are the lamb dumplings,which are bursting with big meaty flavour, and the cumin lamb, which packs a nice punch of heat.
You can get your hands into the game with a dish like the beef with sesame pita; it’s DIY stuffing the meat and veggies into that perfectly portable vessel.
Silkway Halal is open Thursday through Tuesday 11 am to 3 pm for lunch and 5 to 10 pm for dinner.
Address: 110-8188 Saba Road, Richmond