Crescent Moon Muslim Restaurant

Xinjiang in Forbidden City & Dōngchéng Central

You can find a Chinese Muslim restaurant on almost every street in Běijīng. Most are run by Huí Muslims, who are Han Chinese, rather than ethnic-minority Uyghurs from the remote western province of Xīnjiāng. Crescent Moon is the real deal – owned and staffed by Uyghurs, it attracts many Běijīng-based Uyghurs and people from Central Asia, as well as a lot of Western expats.

While it's slightly pricier than run-of-the-mill Xīnjiāng restaurants in Běijīng, the food is consistently excellent, and it has an English menu. The speciality is the barbecued foreleg of lamb (¥128), while the chili and cumin-dusted lamb skewers (¥6) are also delicious. There's naan bread, homemade yoghurt and plenty of chewy noodle options too. You can also get Xīnjiāng tea, beer and wine. If dining in a group, be sure to try the kǎo bāozi (烤包), baked, lamb-filled pastry pockets known as samsa in Xīnjiāng, available to order only by the jīn (500g).