In the illuminated night market of Kashgar, one scent in particular is so sweet and alluring that I can't resist. It's the smell of creamy Uyghur ice cream, made fresh by Uyghur Muslim street vendors. Watch them churn up delicious homestyle ice cream using a cool roadside cart in this video.
Using a cart fully equipped with a loud motor-powered ice cream maker, vendors churn home-style soft serve ice-cream right before your eyes. The milky, creamy treat is then served in a cup with a small wooden spoon, but some vendors also have cones.
Every night in Kashgar, across the street from the iconic Id Kha Mosque, is a dazzling night market that illuminates the surrounding neighborhood. Although I'm technically in China, the soul of this town is anything but Chinese. I feel as though I've stepped into a faraway town somewhere in central Asia.
It's incredibly hot in Kashgar, even at night. When I filmed this video I was sweating profusely under my shirt. The only thing that could ease the intense sweat was this freezing cold soft serve ice cream. It has a very unique homemade, milky taste that might seem odd at first to a western palette, but I immediately liked it. It definitely doesn't taste like Braum's, but I guess that's to be expected from a street-side vendor in western China.
The Chinese name for this creamy homestyle ice cream is 维吾尔冰淇淋 (wéiwúĕr bīngqílín), but the Uyghur people who make it call it simply ‘Maruxna.' It costs 5 RMB ($0.81), so if you venture to Kashgar—or anywhere in XinJiang—do yourself a favor and buy a cup.