Sama Uyghur Cuisine, Union City

There is an article about this Uyghur restaurant in today’s Chronicle food section. It sounds good. Has anyone been? This site is from the Chronicle article. This site is from Yelp.


I’ve had two meals here, one as a scout for the Chronicle’s Many Chinas, many tables project. I was enthusiastic about my visits, and feel Melissa Hung, in the article you cited, did a great job providing insights into the restaurant owners.

I’d love to visit there with a group to try their whole lamb ($338). Until then, some food notes that didn’t make it into either Chronicle piece:

My jaw dropped when the owners told me their technique and ingredients for the Laghmen & flat-fried noodles—- Costco wheat flour, water, and salt. That’s it! They use neither an alkaline substance nor egg. These are pulled noodles, as in both arms pulling outward, not the more locally common technique of tugging noodles from a oiled, coiled cylinder. The result is a teeth sticking chewy, not bouncy textured, noodle that may be my favorite in the Bay Area— epic good as laghmen or as flat fried noodles.

Their big plate chicken is good, and different than versions at non-Halal restaurants, which use rice wine or beer, and doubanjiang. You can request it to get it spicier, which I’d recommend doing.

The spicy lamb hoofs were great. Subtle lamb flavor in gravy, firm gelatinous texture up there with pig hoof, leagues above chicken feet, better gnawing than beef tendon.

The chili pepper chicken is made with a green Sichuan peppercorn oil. The dish comes from a particular city in Xinjiang I forgot to write down. Chicken appears to be pulled apart by hand, and wicks up cold sauce like crazy. Yum, numbing delight, up there with Sichuan mouth watering chicken. Raw onions are a match made in heaven with the potent sauce.

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In this episode of the series, Simeon is visiting Sama Uyghur Cuisine in Union City, an Uyghur restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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I got their whole Lamb Kebab ($438) this weekend. We reserved it a month ago, but apparently they’ll do it with at least 24 hours notice, which gives them time to boil it for 5 hours and roast for 3 hours.

After bringing the 20 lb. lamb to the table for pictures, they took it into the kitchen for a final seasoning of coarse Korean chile flakes and cumin, I think the same stuff they put on their skewers, and arranged it into four giant platters.

Salt, fat, meat. Yum. The main advantage of getting the whole lamb is you get to try different cuts cooked the same way, each with their own fattiness and texture. My two favorite cuts were the ribs and god knows what the other cut was :slight_smile:

I’d consider coming back for the whole lamb again, but I’ll note the milder and delicious Stewed Mutton With Soup is another way to eat different lamb parts in one dish, and doesn’t require a big group.

Lest this be meat overload, we paired the lamb with a number of cold vegetable and noodle dishes. The din ding chow mein, chopped noodle segments more easily eaten with a fork or spoon than chopsticks, are also easier to split among a group than the lagmen,which has a similar sauce anyway. One order of the spicy lamb hoof was perfect for our party of 15 adults.

FYI, it’s walking distance to Union City Bart.



I am curious, what’s that layer of breading looking thing on top of the lamb meat?

I forgot to ask what it is or what specifically its function it is. Cold leftovers had that crumbly lamb fat texture, but it seemed like some kind of starch on the outside too.

Writer Eddie Kim interviewed the owners for an article on Uyghur restauranteurs