When visiting a country that is not touristic, one always wonder what food is going to be like. It is not as if there are Kyrgyz restaurant in every town like there are Italian restaurants. So here is an overview of what to expect foodwise with many pictures.
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General Comments on the food
Several of us came to Kyrgyzstan thinking we might loose a few kilos (I know, with all my travel experiences I should not pre-judged but I am only human). Sadly, or not, it did not happen. The food was actually very tasty and we never skipped a meal!
In general the cuisine is a mix of russian, turk and chinese recipes.
We aslo had fruits but I do not have pictures: incredibly tasty strawberries, apples, peaches, watermelon...
Let's start with drinks.
Well, they drink a lot of tea... green and black tea...
The traditional Kyrgyz drink is the Kumis: made from fermented mare's milk., it is part of their culture and definitively an acquired taste. Make sure you have plenty of medicine just in case after trying it. I personally did not.
They also drink Kefir, a sour yogurt-like beverage that I have not tried.
In Windhoek restaurants often propose lemonade, quite sweet but very refreshing:
In summer in Bishkek, you can find stands at every corner. They offer 3 types of drinks:
- Ice tea
- Maksym - made of wheat and fermented
- Chalap - salty and based on yoghurt, sometimes with carbonated water
The Compotes were more my style of drink. They are not really juices as they are made of dried fruits (peach, apricot...).
And their juices are quite good:
Alcohol wise, they of course drink Vodka!
Most days we were offered a choice for breakfast: pancakes (which are actually crepes), porridge or omelettes.
There is also on the table marmelades and honey to accompany them.
And one morning in Arslanbob we had frittatas!
Everywhere we stopped we could get some soup. Light ones or filled ones with meat, vegetables or dumplings.
Main dishes are mostly rice/pasta or potatoes with spices and meat.
Most of the time it is serves with a place of tomatoes and concomber.
Meat used to be mostly horse. now it is mainly beef and lamb.
Kebab extravaganza in Windhoek:
My favorite meal of the trip. In Karakol a stew with beef, vegetable, cheese and cream:
They also often cook very big dumplings with vegetables and meat, called Manti. I must admit that I prefer the chinese dumplings...
Near lakes and reservoir, it was possible to eat fish.
Our dinner near the beautiful Song-Kul Lake was the only time we had a good portion of vegetables on the plate. Plus the fish was excellent. So much lighter for the evening!
Especially near the Togtogul reservoir they had delicious salmon trout. And we were able to watch them cook it in the small kitchen!
One of the traditional dish shared with the family is the Kyrgyz plov, also called Paloo. It consists of pieces of meat ( mutton or beef, sometimes chicken) fried with shredded carrots and slow cooked rice. They often had pepper. I loved it both time!
For festivities, Kyrgyz often eat the Besh Barmak (which means Five fingers). Traditionally boiled mutton or horse meat with noodles.
I did not enjoy that one much
There were many different types of bread. Our favorites, the ones that disappeared very quickly from the table were thsoe mini light donut like bread. Yum!
Otherwise the bread are cooked round with white flour:
Here are 2 bread ovens. It was fascinating to see the art of placing the bread dough in via the hole. It was making them laugh that we wanted pictures, because for them such an oven is very typical...
Kyrgyz have a very sweet tooth. It is quite impressive the quantity of chocolates, lollies, biscuits and all
One amazing picnic
One day in Arslanbob we hiked through the ancient wallnut forest. As part of the tour we had a picnic and what a picnic it was!
And some surprises
Next to our hotel I came face to face with a pig...
Near Issyk-Kul, the local snack is dried fish...
And they sure don't waste anything from the animal (NB: next to it is the birthday cake for one of my fellow traveller)
Want to see more of Kyrgyzstan's beauty?
Discover more planning information, things to do and places to see in my online Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide.
My conclusion: Not enough vegetables but very tasty