Jason Allen 23/02/24

Silk Road

China’s Xinjiang province is huge.

It borders eight other countries. It takes up one sixth of all the land area in China. If it were its own country, it would be the 17th largest on earth.

But it gets barely a look in when it comes to the nation’s regional cuisines. Despite the fact that the region was (spoiler!) at the nexus of the Silk Road trading routes back in the day, its unique, flavourful cuisine can be hard to track down in London.

Which is something that Silk Road is here to try and correct.

It’s a family run joint down in Camberwell, where you can find it a few doors down from the Green, on the main stretch of Camberwell Church Street. The family that run the joint are ethnically Han Chinese, who make up almost half the people of the area along with the slightly more populous Uyghurs, and the mix is reflected in the region’s unique culinary styles. The main crop is wheat rather than rice, the spices go heavy on cumin, and pork is considerably less commonplace. But it’s all delicious.

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The space itself is pretty functional: the furnishings are simple, the lighting’s bright, and everything’s wrapped up in pale peach walls, with traditional vases tucked into little nooks. But you’re not here for the decor. You’re here for the food.

The menu at Silk Road is a tightly curated line-up of regional specialities: chicken gizzards are stir-fried with cumin and chilli; ox tripe, kidneys and lamb fat shish are grilled over charcoal; and Xinjiang’s signature dish is perfectly executed, with on-the-bone chicken floating in a broth singing with green chilli. Order a bowl of noodles – the fat, glossy, ribboney noodles that are particular to the region – to pour into the left-over liquor, and settle in for the evening. Oh, and don’t be brave, and think that you can take it on by yourself.

And the best bit? On the entire menu, only three things cost more than £8.

So the bill will be miniscule.


NOTE: Silk Road is open for dinner seven days a week (open from 2pm on weekends). Please note that it has recently moved next door to its previous spot. You can make a booking right HERE.

Silk Road | 47 Camberwell Church St, SE5 8TR

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Silk Road

47 Camberwell Church Street, Camberwell, SE5 8TR

7.7 | Good