Comments on: Central Asian Food: The Good, the Bad, and the Inedible travel wide, live deep Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:19:50 +0000 hourly 1 By: Daniel Noll Tue, 31 Jul 2012 11:35:20 +0000 @mehmet: Many parts of Central Asia may be historically ethnic Turkic. However, after the countries were absorbed into the Soviet Union, there was a lot of intermarriage between locals and Russians. So, I suppose you have pure ethnic (Turkic) locals, Russians, and those whose parents are of mixed heritage. And in the end, most often speak Russian to one another, regardless of their heritage. At least that was our experience in terms of how we witnessed business being done and Central Asian people interacting with one another.

By: mehmet ali ekiz Tue, 31 Jul 2012 08:11:24 +0000 Boyyy the places were you have been are turkic not russian and eben if they can talk rusian thats a must have to talk or die action … i know the ressemblence between a mongol turk and a russian,so keep your head cooland say never rusian against a turk

By: Daniel Noll Thu, 18 Aug 2011 12:37:28 +0000 @Valentina: Thank you for your comment. We were fortunate to try a number of dishes that you mention. Actually, we had a memorable beshbarmak during Ramadan at Song-Kul, Kyrgyzstan:

Plov is excellent, one of our favorites. I think we had some in Almaty. We also ate it quite often throughout Uzbekistan:

(We even ate some recently at our Kyrgyz friends’ house.)

We might have had a donar (doner?) at Zeylony Bazaar, but I actually remember having a really good one in another not-so-touristy Almaty neighborhood (forget the name) with our friend who lives there.

I would have hoped that our website is a testament to adventurous eating — and not just to wear the “look what I ate” badge, but to understand what the facets of a cuisine say about a culture. If we had our way, we’d probably never eat Snickers again. But when you’re stuck in the mountains with rock-hard bread and a sheep’s eyeball (after having eaten goat blood soup for the last two days), sometimes a Snickers is in order.

By: Valentina Wed, 17 Aug 2011 17:56:54 +0000 I was actually a little sad to see that Kazakhstan’s list was so small. The cheese samsa is kind of like a quesadilla on steroids; absolutely delicious — but not the talk of the town. Most are for sale at around 100 Tenge, or 68 Cents (that being the more expensively priced).

It might be an interesting note to mention that while Kazakhstan has an extensive list of delicious foods to enjoy, they’re all taken from different cultures. Beshbarmak is the pride of this country, for example. Any Kazakh-born will ask you if you’ve tried “our national dish, Beshbarmak… delicious, yes?”

Plov is also a country favorite and also one of my own. Oh, and if you’re going to the Zeylony (Green) Bazaar in Almaty, I’d say, try a donar. Another food not originally from Kazakhstan but still worth the buy if you’re wandering around hungry. It’s a big burrito stuffed with tender meat, french fries, onions, carrots and cucumbers, all panini-pressed together.

If you’re looking for a taste of American-style coffee, not far from the Green Bazaar is 4A Cafe, a shop owned by a man born in Boston. The baristas speak English and the coffee is exceptional. I mention this because of the Snickers referrence — sometimes it’s good to go to what’s familiar, even when you’re surrounded in delicious cuisine.

So that’s my two cents. I just felt I had to speak up for my beloved Kazakhstan because there’s a lot of good eats worth finding while in country. :)

By: Daniel Noll Mon, 21 Mar 2011 16:24:37 +0000 @Emily: I can’t say that cuisine was the highlight of our visit to Tajikistan, either. However, that kurtob in Khorog was a site for sore eyes (and weary stomachs) after all the bread, potatoes and butter tea in the Pamirs and Badakhshan. Thankfully, the people in that region make up in warmth what they may lack in food variety.

By: Emily Sun, 20 Mar 2011 15:34:15 +0000 I think the entire population of Tajikistan should take mandatory cooking lessons – or at least introduced to the concept of butchering an animal by type of meat/body part/cooking method. I’ve never lived in a place where the local cuisine wound up being a disappointingly bland use of local ingredients. I’m surviving on Oranges imported from Pakistan at the moment.

By: Iaroslav Wed, 25 Nov 2009 20:42:39 +0000 I realy liked Central Asian food.
I like Shurpa,Bishbarmak,achuchuk,samsa,shashlik,plov.
I recomend every body to move to Central Aia it can change your life well.
I’m from Ukraine still miss Uzbekistan Tashkent.
Uzbekistan is my favourite country.

[duplicate link removed]

By: Audrey Scott Wed, 27 Feb 2008 08:51:07 +0000 Joe, that’s interesting that your grandparents used to make laghman but never called it as such. Maybe it has another name closer to mainland Russia and Ukraine? Do you have your grandmother’s recipe to share?

The Soviet Union had a tendency to move people around, voluntarily and involuntarily, so it is very possible that your grandfather’s family originated in Central Asia but lived near Kiev. Could be some interesting family research.

The food markets were some of our best memories from that region – full of color, life and expression! We hope a fraction of that came through in the photos.

By: Joe Wed, 27 Feb 2008 02:05:30 +0000 Hi again,
Laghman, I’ve not heard that word but have had that dish many times at my maternal grandparents home. It was a personal favorite of gramps and still is for me. He was born somewhere in the south of Russia near Kiev but
must have had an Asian in his family tree somewhere along the way, he had almond shaped eyes.
The market pictures are great.
Thanks again.

By: Daniel Noll Thu, 07 Feb 2008 08:27:52 +0000 Michael: Right on. Tell a friend. Nothing against Bourdain, but I chuckled when I saw the list of international destinations in the “On the Road” section of his site: Paris, Iceland, New Jersey, Vietnam, Malaysia. And we don’t have assistants or a crew. I suppose he gets some points for eating the beating heart of a cobra, though.

About that book, we have somewhat secretly deluded ourselves into thinking that our blog may form the foundations of a book some day. If you know any publishers, alchemists or anyone schooled in re-aligning the stars in the sky, please let us know.

In the meantime, the pavement, the people and the markets await.