Food in Uzbekistan
If a restaurant does not offer a menu or a pricing, always ask for one. While some well-established restaurants are unexpectedly excellent value by Western standards, other random or less known eateries attempt to take advantage of visitors by charging up to five times the usual price.
- Osh (also known as plov, palov or pilaf) is the national dish. It’s composed of rice, carrots, onions, and mutton, and it’s something you’ll consume if you visit Uzbekistan. Plov is prepared differently in each area, therefore you should try it in various places. Plov was created by Alexander the Great’s chefs, according to mythology. Plov may be prepared with peas, carrots, raisins, dried apricots, pumpkins, or quinces as well. Spices such as chiles, crushed or dried tomatoes are often used.
- Chuchvara – filled ravioli with mutton and onions (also known as ‘pelmeni’ in Russian).
- Manti – a dumpling-like dish stuffed with lamb and onions, frequently with onions, peppers, and mutton fat.
- Somsas, are pastry pockets that are filled with meat, mutton, pumpkin, or potatoes. In the spring, “green somsas” are prepared using “yalpiz,” a kind of grass that grows in the highlands and rural areas. And the wonderful part is that folks just pick them up for free and use them to create delicious somsas. On the streets, you may find somsas being cooked and sold.
- Lagman – Lagman is a hearty soup made of beef, potatoes, spices, veggies, and noodles. It should have 50 components by rights. Carrots, red beets, cabbage, radishes, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, and onions are often included. Noodles should be very thin.
- Shashlik – Shashlik is a kind of barbecued meat. Typically served with just onions. Eight to ten pieces of veal or mutton are marinated in salt, peppers, and vinegar before being cooked on a spit over an open fire.
- Bread – Uzbeks consume a lot of bread (known as non in Uzbek). Lepioshka is a kind of round bread. It is available everywhere, however it costs about 400 sum in the bazaar. Samarkand is well-known for its bread. The traditional Samarkand bread obi-non is cooked in clay ovens. Every meal includes bread.
- Mastava. Mastava is a rice soup with onion, carrots, tomatoes, peas, and, ultimately, wild plums.
- Shurpa. Shurpa is a mutton (occasionally beef) broth with vegetables.
- Bechbarmak. A nomad Kazakh specialty, boiling sheep or ox meat and liver chunks eaten with onions, potatoes, and noodles
As a historic crossroads and a part of many empires, the roots of Uzbek cuisine are very diverse. This one-of-a-kind cuisine incorporates Indian, Iranian, Arab, Russian, and Chinese influences.
Drinks in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan has two national drinks: tea and vodka (result of more than a century of Russian domination of the land).
- Tea is offered almost everywhere: at home, in the workplace, at cafés, and so on. Instead of water, Uzbeks drink black tea in the winter and green tea in the summer. If tea is served traditionally, the server will pour tea into a cup from the teapot and then back into the teapot. This action is carried out three times. These repeats represent loy (clay) sealing thirst, moy (grease) isolating from the cold and danger, and tchai (tea or water) extinguishing the fire. If you are given tea in an Uzbek house, the host will make every effort to ensure that your cup is never empty. If the host refills your cup, it is usually time for you to go, although this happens very infrequently since Uzbeks are extremely friendly. The left hand is seen as unclean. The right hand is used to offer and receive tea and cups.
A dizzying array of wine and vodka brands are available nearly everywhere.
- Wine – Uzbekistan’s wine has received many worldwide renowned prizes for its excellent quality. There’s nothing to be concerned about, since the sun shines nearly every day in this nation. Although Uzbekistan is mostly Muslim, the Islam practiced there is more cultural than religious in nature.
- Beer – Beer is sold in every store and is regarded as a soft drink, thus no license is required to sell it. There are specially licensed stores that offer Vodka, Wine, and other alcoholic beverages. Only a few stores sell Russian-made vodka.
- Kumis is a kind of alcoholic mare’s milk.
Visitors should be aware that tap water in certain areas is hazardous to drink, while water is safe to drink in Uzbekistan’s capital. In any situation, bottled water is recommended.
There are many nightclubs and restaurants in Tashkent. They typically work till late at night or early in the morning. Bring enough of cash since beverages and snacks are much more costly than at daytime establishments. There are also nightly Uzbek “chill-out” restaurants where you may eat traditional Uzbek cuisine while lying on big wooden couches (tapchans/suri). After 11 p.m., it is not advisable to linger around on the street or in parks. Even if you don’t have any issues with criminals, you will undoubtedly draw the unwelcome attention of local police (militsiya) patrolling the neighborhood.