Central Asian Delicacies & Meals

Introduction to Central Asian Delicacies

Meals’s an necessary a part of any journey.  We each fear and get enthusiastic about all of the scrumptious issues we would style throughout our travels.  We’ve put collectively a meals information in order that for those who’re about to embark on a journey via Central Asia, you’ll know what to anticipate.  We’ll unravel the thriller of Central Asian Delicacies and such names as lagman, plov, manty, beshbarmak you’ll encounter on a typical restaurant or café menu.  We’ll additionally offer you a little bit of background in regards to the cultural and historic peculiarities of the area’s meals habits.  You’ll perceive the fundamentals of a Central Asian nomad’s eating regimen primarily based on meat and dairy, see how that differs from the settled folks of the area with their love of greens, rice and noodles in addition to the Russians who influenced the area when it was a part of the Soviet Union. You’ll be able to obtain our Central Asian Delicacies with photos and a brief description of meals to take in your journey.Table full of dishes in Central Asia


Though Central Asia has quite a lot of spices, its meals and delicacies isn’t too spicy. It’s often gentle and makes use of contemporary produce from the close by area.Uzbekistan capital, market in Tashkent

Bread – Lepyoshka, Tandyr Nan, Patyr Nan –  Лепешка /Нан

In Central Asia, a meal with out bread is taken into account incomplete.  It’s nearly sacred right here!  You’ll discover quite a lot of bread in shops and cafes, however the most typical and fashionable one is a spherical formed flat white bread.  Sometimes, it’s baked in a hearth oven referred to as a tandyr (tandoori).  As you journey, you’ll uncover that the style and form of this bread will range barely from place to put.

Lepeshka or Round Bread sold in bazaars of Central Asia

Boorsok / Baursak / Pishme (TM) – Боорсок/Баурсак

In Central Asia, little fried items of dough are made for particular occasions or revered visitors.  They’re additionally served as appetizers in eating places.  They’re a bit like doughnuts, however not candy.  Nonetheless, we do wish to eat them with selfmade jam or dip them in honey.  Most eating places, resorts, and guesthouses will serve them like this.

Fried Bread pieces in Central Asia

Contemporary Salads – Свежий салат [SVEZHIY SALAT] Central Asian food on table

The salad that’s commonest in Central Asia is a tomato, cucumber and onion salad.  The dressing might be mayonnaise or oil, however most frequently it’s simply sprinkled with salt, pepper, and contemporary herbs.  Many of the salads are made with produce that’s grown regionally.  You may also get carrot, beet or cabbage salad.  Nonetheless, for those who journey in summer time, your seasonal salad will likely be tomato and cucumber.


Nonetheless, for those who’re in a bigger metropolis, or a restaurant with a extra in depth menu, you’ll discover a a lot wider number of salads from which to decide on.  You’ll discover the whole lot from Caesar to Greek.  Many native salads, soups, and meals embody a beneficiant portion of further herbs like dill, parsley, chives or cilantro.  Different herbs like basil, oregano, and rosemary are used much less usually in Central Asia.  It’s finest to check out the salad with herbs first, however bear in mind if that makes the flavour too sturdy, you’ll be able to at all times ask the chef to organize a salad for you with out them.herbs in Salad served in Central Asia

Soup – Суп

Soups are highly regarded in Central Asia, even on the most popular of summer time days. Shorpo or Shurpa is a meat broth soup with large items of meat, fairly often fatty mutton. Its different substances comprise items of carrot and potato and naturally a sprinkling of contemporary herbs.  Variations of this soup additionally embody noodles or beans cooked within the meat broth.  They’re highly regarded in mountainous areas of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Soup in large casserole in Central Asia

Borsch – Борщ 

As you would possibly anticipate from the affect of Soviet occasions, borsc can also be fashionable.  This pink beet soup originates from Jap Europe and Russia and is now extensively present in Central Asia too.  It comprises meat, often beef, in addition to potatoes, cabbage, pink beets and a little bit of carrot and onion to spherical out the flavour.  It’ll be served with a swirl of bitter cream and a sprinkling of dill, however you’ll be able to ask for it to be delivered to the desk with out this garnish.

Lentil soup – Чечевичный суп [Chechevichniy Sup]

You’ll discover lentil soup on provide in lots of eating places, particularly in massive cities.  One of the best cream of lentil soup is served within the area’s Turkish eating places.  Lentil soup can also be usually served with a spoonful of bitter cream – bear in mind you’ll be able to decide out of this if you want – and a slice of lemon.  The lemon might be squeezed into the soup to style.lentil soup

Plov |Pilaf |Paloo |Osh |Ash – Плов | Пилав | Палоо | Ош| Аш

There are round 200 styles of plov.  It’s so necessary that it’s featured on Tajikistan and Uzbekistan’s Consultant Record of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as listed by UNESCO.  Nationwide competitions are held to see who could make one of the best plov.  It’s of nice social and cultural significance to the native inhabitants and as a consequence, served in any respect large occasions and ceremonies.Plov in Tashkent

Its principal substances are lamb or beef fried in a big kazan (cauldron) with onions and yellow or orange carrots.  It’s cooked for round an hour.  It may be served moreover with kazy (native sausage), eggs and, often, with lemons.  One of the best locations to attempt plov in Central Asia are Samarkand, Penjikent, Shymkent and Osh, though each metropolis and even household has its personal particular plov recipe.

Plov in Central Asian cuisine

Besh Barmak (KG) | Naryn (UZ) |- Беш Бармак

Besh Barmak actually means 5 fingers, as folks used to eat it with their fingers in earlier occasions.  It’s the nationwide dish of Kyrgyzstan however might be discovered additionally in neighboring nations.  First, the meat is boiled for a few hours and in its broth, noodles are cooked.  Afterwards, small items of meat are combined with the noodles and onion broth sauce is poured excessive. Besh Barmak national dish and cuisine of Kyrgyzstan

Kazakh Besh Barmak has massive selfmade pasta and enormous items of meat over it.

Kazakh food national cuisine besh barmak

Kuurdak – куурдак, куырдак, говурдак

Kuurdak is a one-pot meal consisting of fried meat, potatoes and onions.  Historically it’s constructed from mutton or beef with a beneficiant portion of fats.  First, the meat is fried with onions after which stewed.  When a sheep is freshly slaughtered, the liver, kidney and coronary heart could be used on this dish. That is extra frequent in homestays or guesthouses.  In cafes, it’s often served simply with meat and with out such inside organs.Kuurdak-Central Asian Dish

Chuchuk (Kyrgyzstan) | Sujuk/ Kazy (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan) – Казы

This conventional delicacy is served as an appetizer or along with nationwide dishes equivalent to plov and beshbarmak.  It’s a sort of meat sausage, generously spiced with black pepper.  It’s principally horse meat with fats stuffed into totally washed and salted intestines.  There may be additionally a smoked selection in addition to the extra generally served contemporary one; each are often served chilly.Central Asian food

Meat Skewer – Shashlyk  – Шашлык

Shashlyk is a highly regarded meal in a area stretching from Central Asia to Jap Europe and the Mediterranean.  It’s often constructed from mutton or beef; alternating items of meat and fats are nicely spiced and marinated.  It’s served with pickled onions.  It may be ordered as an add on to the principle nationwide dishes or individually as a aspect dish.  In lots of cafes you can too get hen, hen wings or assorted shashlyks, ready similar to at barbecues over sizzling coals.Shashlyk-meat scew food in Central Asia

Laghman – Лагман

Lagman is principally handmade pulled noodles in a meat or vegetable sauce.  The meat is often beef, whereas the greens embody bell peppers, garlic, onion and contemporary herbs.  Relying on the situation, further greens are added.  It has quite a few variations from soups to principal course dishes.  Plain Lagman is a soup,  Gyuro Lagman is the one on the photograph.  Boso Lagman has fried quick noodles.  If you happen to discover the identical sauce served with white rice the dish will likely be known as Gan Fan.  Its origins might be traced to China, to the Uighur and Dungan minorities of Western China.Lagman food & cuisine Central Asia

Manty – Манты

Manty is a dumpling filled with minced meat, fats and onions.  It’s cooked over steam and served with ketchup, vinegar or bitter cream.  There are additionally variations with pumpkin or potatoes with out meat, although you gained’t discover these in each restaurant.  One portion often contains 5 dumplings.  Small items of dough with a meat filling trying like ravioli are known as Pelmeni, items crammed with mashed potatoes are known as vareniki. Manty central Asian food, dumplings

Meat dishes  – мясные блюда [Myasnye Blyuda]Central Asia food

Meat dishes are highly regarded in Central Asia.  Meat is often cooked proper via, although a handful of locations within the large cities will accommodate a style for uncommon or medium steak, often in worldwide eating places.  In all places else, you may be served your meat nicely performed. You may also check out an area menu in one of many renown eating places of Bishkek – Supara with quite a lot of nationwide and worldwide dishes. Central Asian Cuisine

Samsy  – Самсы

Samsy is one other sort of native quick meals, offered nearly all over the place in cafes in quick meals chains or made at dwelling.Indian samosas, triangle-shaped dough filled with meat or greens, had been launched to India by Central Asian merchants within the thirteenth and 14th centuries.  In Central Asia, they’re at all times filled with meat and onions,  and in contrast to samosas, baked within the oven and by no means fried.  Sometimes, you’ll discover samsy with a cheese or potato filling.Samsa is an integral part of Uzbek cuisine

Tandyr Samsy  – Тандыр самсы

Tandyr samsy is sort of completely different from common samsy as it’s baked in a particular tandyr (tandoori).  These are hearth clay pot ovens.   The dough is crammed with meat, fats and onion stuffing, nevertheless, it has extra sauce in it.  It’s often served with a pot of tea or perhaps a meat broth.  You should lower the onerous backside aspect, eat the within filling with a spoon after which soften the dough within the broth or tea earlier than you eat it.Tandyr samsa in Central Asia

Quick Meals: Pizza/ Burgers/ Wraps – Pizza / Gamburger / Shaurma – Фаст Фуд /Пицца/ Бургер/ Шаурма

Quick meals is widespread in Central Asia, though it’s solely in Kazakhstan that you just’ll discover the worldwide quick meals giants like McDonalds or Burger King.  Within the different Central Asian nations, you’ll must be content material with native variations of burgers and pizza.  You’ll be able to even discover pizza with conventional sausage.  Exterior the cities, there’s virtually no quick meals.  In rural areas particularly, you’ll be served a eating regimen of native delicacies as a substitute.Pizza in Central Asia


Consuming in Cafes & Eating places of Central Asia

In Central Asia, when folks go to a restaurant or invite visitors they set the desk with completely different appetizers, numerous salads, fruits, greens, jams, honey, and sweets.  The objective is to have a desk filled with scrumptious issues with loads of selection.  If you happen to order a salad, soup, principal course and dessert, it’d all come directly.  You aren’t anticipated to complete all of the meals on the desk.Table full of dishes in Central Asia

Consuming in guesthouses

Many guesthouses and homestays within the countryside serve dinner on the ground.  The ground is roofed with a tablecloth surrounded by particular selfmade cushions to take a seat on.  It’s usually performed for visitors as an honor in a particular eating room.  Stepping on the tablecloth or stretching your ft in direction of the tablecloth is unacceptable – you could tuck your ft in.

Tourists eating at dastarkhan in Central Asia

One other variant of sitting on the ground is to eat at a low desk with quick legs. You continue to want to take a seat on the ground, however the meal stays on the desk. You would possibly fear about ending the whole lot that involves the desk, however that’s not anticipated.  It’s well mannered to depart one thing, symbolizing you had sufficient and your hosts supplied sufficient meals.
Table for breakfast in the mountains central Asia

Desert and low – Desert i Kofe [Десерт и кофе]

Central Asia is a tea-drinking and meat-eating vacation spot.  If you happen to want your espresso repair after a meal, you’ll want to move off to a restaurant the place you’ll additionally discover a selection of cake and desserts.  Nonetheless, you’ll discover such locations aren’t low-cost – a cup of espresso can value nearly as a lot as a meal, costly by native requirements.  In homestays and native eating places, espresso is often of the moment selection.  Pack a small digital Italian espresso machine for those who’re a fan of the brewed stuff and you intend to go outdoors large cities.Coffe and dessert in Central Asia

Tea – Chai – Чай

Locals drink tea lots, and even on sizzling days, sizzling tea may be very fashionable.  In most locations, inexperienced tea is quite common and in cities, you’ll be able to select between inexperienced and black tea. Central Asia tea tradition

It’s served in small half-filled bowls.  Serving a full bowl of tea is taken into account rude, whereas a full Western-style cup of tea is OK. In some mountainous areas, you’ll additionally discover black tea served with milk, salt and butter.Uzbekistan tea, tradition, cotton pattern

Particular drinks and refreshments

Kyrgyz and Kazakh folks drink fermented horse milk, known as Kymys, Kumys or Кымыз.  It has a singular, bitter style. In Kazakhstan, you can too style camel milk, Shubat Шубат.  It’s a as soon as in a lifetime expertise to attempt, however bear in mind that you just won’t agree together with your abdomen for those who’re not used to it! In Kyrgyzstan, particularly in Bishkek, you will notice nationwide drinks all over the place: jarma, shoro and chalap.  Jarma or Shoro is a brown drink constructed from a combined grain brew and chalap is a white milky drink.national drinks in Central Asia

Fruit and veggies – Овощи и фрукты [Ovoshi i frukty]

One of the best time to style Central Asian native produce is summer time and the start of Autumn. Most typical fruits grown regionally are apples, pears and apricots. In hotter areas, you’ll be able to eat grapes, peaches, watermelons, melons, and pomegranates. In reality, apples come initially from Kazakhstan, Central Asia and peaches of Samarkand had been well-known as a luxurious good in the course of the golden age of the Silk Highway.Kyrgyzstan fruits in bazaar

There are additionally imported fruits like lemons, kiwi, pineapples, bananas and many others. Earlier than consuming fruits don’t forget to peel them. Fruits in Central Asian market

Most typical greens are tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, and bell peppers. Central Asian vegatables in market, tomatoes

Dried fruits and nuts – Sukhofrukty i Orekhi – Сухофрукты и орехи

Central Asians love dried apricots, raisins and all method of nuts.  Nearly each desk may have a plate crammed with numerous dried fruits and nuts.  In bazaars and supermarkets, you will discover an enormous number of such merchandise, good for taking with you as a snack for the journey.

Kurut – Курут

Salty white dairy balls are a well-liked snack for locals. They’re fabricated from suzmo or drained cottage cheese.  If combined with water you’ll get the refreshing drink known as chalap.  If shaped into balls and dried, it’s known as kurut.Kurut dairy salty snack of central Asians sold in local bazaars

Vegetarians in Central Asia

In massive cities, there are a number of eating places and loads of selection within the menu.  Vegetarians might attempt manty with potatoes or pumpkin, lentil soup, plov cooked with out meat, vegetarian pizza or aspect dishes like greens, potatoes, rice or pasta.table in Central Asia


It will get a bit tough outdoors these large cities, nevertheless, as most dishes are ready in a single pot with meat.  You’ll have a tough time in some locations convincing the locals {that a} vegetarian dish can style good.  They’ve been introduced up with the notion that one of the best taste comes from meat and, as you’re their honored visitor, will need to give you one of the best meals they’ve – which suggests meat!  As a vegetarian, it’s nonetheless potential to journey via Central Asia after all, however ensure your information and hosts are clear that you just don’t want to eat meat.  Your journey agent can help you with this earlier than you permit dwelling or throughout any tour your information can help you.



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