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01st Jun 2023

O’Connell Street has welcomed Ireland’s first Uyghur restaurant

Katy Thornton

ireland's uyghur restaurant

It’s been a year of firsts for Dublin hospitality.

2023 has been a year of firsts for Dublin and the Irish hospitality scene. In March Rathmines welcomed the first fully kosher deli in the country, and last month O’Connell Street became home to Ireland’s first Uyghur restaurant.

Uyghurs are Turkic-speaking people of interior Asia, according to Britannica; mostly, they live in northwestern China, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Uyghur cuisine typically centres around roasted mutton and beef, as well as kebab and rice dishes, and you can find all of these at Afanti. Their Instagram page displays kawap (skewered meat), laghmen (a dish of meat, vegetables and pulled noodles), manti (dumplings), and much more.

According to BBC News, Uyghurs are the largest minority ethnic group in China’s north-western province of Xinjiang. Both Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have accused China of crimes against humanity, believing they have detained over a million Uyghurs in the last few years in what China has called “re-education camps”.

Uyghur activists say they fear that the group’s culture is under threat of erasure which only makes it all the more critical for the ethnic group to have outlets for their food and ways of life.

You can find Afanti on Cavendish Row on O’Connell Street Upper and it opens Tuesday through to Sunday between 4pm and 10pm.

Header images via Instagram / Afanti Dublin


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