A restaurant specializing in traditional foods of a northwestern Chinese ethnic group has opened in Cherrydale.
“If one [new] Uyghur restaurant opens… everybody knows,” said Tahir Imin, of D.C., who ate at Bostan last week with friends from New York.
Owner Abudushalamu Mirezhati was hard at work in the kitchen when ARLnow stopped by, but another kitchen worker tells us this is the first restaurant Mirezhati has opened. Bostan replaces Bistro 29, a casual Mediterranean spot that closed in January 2020.
In the dining room, Imin endorsed the lagman, a $13.95 dish featuring stir-fried meat and vegetables with “hand pulled noodles,” according to the restaurant’s menu.
Also on the menu are a range of kababs — filled with beef, lamb, chicken, salmon and grilled shrimp — as well as eggplant and Turkish shepherd salads, soups, dumplings, and a Uyghur flatbread called nan.
Like some other early patrons, Imin says he is Uyghur, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group connected to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), a diverse area that grows most of China’s cotton. The U.S. government, news outlets and others have accused China of genocide and human rights abuses against Uyghurs, though a four-year crackdown against the ethnic group is waning, according to some reports.
The close-knit community of Uyghurs in the U.S. remain connected to their homeland and culture, in part, through restaurants like Bostan.
“Its culture and food… music, everything is very special,” Imin said of the region, noting that Uyghurs consider themselves to “be an independent nation occupied by China.”
Bostan is the second restaurant to refresh business to the low-slung commercial building on Langston Blvd, which includes a 7-Eleven. The former Billy’s Cheesesteaks — which also closed in January 2020 — reopened as Billy’s Deli/Cafe in June under the ownership of Bill Hamrock, who stepped away from Billy’s Cheesesteaks five years ago.
Bostan opens at 11 a.m. daily, closing at 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
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