This is a village on the northern edges of the Taklamakan Desert.
The Luobu people live here.
Most of the men here are experts in barbecue.
A resident named Wusiman gathers salt cedar branches.
Salt cedar barbecue has become popular nationwide, but only freshly cut salt cedar braches carry the unique fragrance.
All the materials needed for barbecue are sourced locally, including firewood.
Authentic and also somewhat primitive outdoor barbecue. No George Foreman needed.
The most common barbecued meat is mutton, from sheep raised in the county of Yuli.
Sprinkle some salt.
And it’s done.
罗布红柳烤羊肉串 Luobu mutton barbecue
Similar style of barbecue is also popular here.
A barbecue store is located right next to a busy highway. Many of the customers here are truck drivers.
They order part of the roasted whole lamb.
Their expression is the best testimony on the taste of the lamb.
The owner of the store keeps over a thousand Luobu sheep in the countryside.
The lambs chosen are mostly six months to one year old.
They have a special technique when slaughtering the lamb: tie up three of its legs, but keep the fourth one free. The struggling movements of the dying lamb will ensure that all blood is emptied out, reducing the gamy and slightly foul smell of lamb.
The skin of the lamb is removed.
When business is good, this restaurant can sell a few dozens of lambs.
Grilling a whole lamb is a lot more complex than grilling a small piece of mutton.
The bigger bones have to be broken, and the parts where the lamb meat is thick have to be cut.
Then come the spices.
A total of 13 spices are used. No MSG.
The lamb is thoroughly rubbed with the sauce.
Sprinkle some white sesame seeds.
A stove is set up on a raised platform.
Six lambs can be cooked in one dugout stove simultaneously.
Salt water is poured into the stove to extinguish flames.
The lambs are placed against the inner wall of the stove, and cooked by the high-temperature steam.
The stove is sealed completely to maintain the temperature and humidity inside.
After an hour, the chef checks on the progress of the lamb without unsealing the stove.
All he has to do is to touch the wetted blanket, and smell it.
The lambs are ready.
烤全羊 whole roasted lamb
Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province
Almost all the barbecue stores feature seafood.
One half of the shell is removed, while the other half is kept as a container.
Add a scoop of minced garlic.
烤生蚝 grilled oyster with minced garlic
The locals of Zhanjiang have another way of eating oyster.
The shells are kept intact.
No spices are used.
They are eaten with a dipping sauce made with soy sauce and mustard.
Experienced eaters also tell you that you shouldn’t waste the juice once the shells are opened.
The best oysters come from the estuary of the Guandu River.
These are oyster spats (oyster larvae attached to shells), to be released into the water.
Experienced oyster farmers say that the spats should be released where salt water and fresh water mix. Pure seawater contains too much salt.
Guandu oysters take three years to mature.
Oyster barbecue stands are everywhere.
官渡蚝 grilled Guandu oyster
Some customers can eat three dozens of the oyster.
Some claim that oysters are an aphrodisiac. That’s why a local barber has been visiting the oyster barbecue stand every day, and each time, he eats a big plateful.
I’m driving to the nearest barbecue stand. Anyone else coming?