Kyrgyz cuisine presents a bright mixture of traditions of about 80 ethnic groups and nationalities, as well as neighboring countries. Best dishes of Uzbek, Kazakh, Dungan and Uyghur cuisines are spiced up with unique traditions of Kyrgyz cuisine and presented in a new way. As a result, we have another rich cuisine in Central Asia with a list of must-try dishes.
Kyrgyzstan National Cuisine: History
The history of the formation of Kyrgyz cuisine is closely connected with the lifestyle of nomads. Not having an opportunity to store products, nomads used exclusively fresh products for dishes. The main ingredient for dishes was meat, namely beef, lamb, yak and horse meat. Fresh dairy products were also used. Together with meat and dairy products, the southern agricultural regions used fresh vegetables and spices.
Another characteristic feature of Kyrgyz cuisine is the mixture of dough and meat. The mixture is either fried, baked or boiled. The usage of dough is influenced by Kazakh and Chinese cuisines, from Turks, Uzbeks and Uyghurs they borrowed pilaf, noodles and other spicy dishes.
Kyrgyzstan National Cuisine: Most popular dishes
All popular dishes of Kyrgyz cuisine include meat. The first one to taste is traditional beshbarmak. It is made of noodles, chopped lamb, and onions. The dish is served with a little meat broth and greens. Another combination of noodles and meat is lagman. Depending on the season the ingredients may change a little. Noodles are mixed with pieces of meat, vegetables, spicy sauce and decorated with fresh greens. Traditional lagman is served with broth, boso lagman is the same dish without broth.
Manty can be found in all cuisines of Central Asian countries. They are prepared almost in the same way. Kyrgyz manty is prepared of chopped lamb or beef. The stuffed dough is cooked on steam and served with vinegar as a seasoning. Another popular stuffed dough dish is samsa that is popular far beyond the region. Moreover, it is popular street food in Kyrgyzstan. Small triangle dough is usually stuffed with chopped meat and baked in tandyr. Instead of meat potatoes and pumpkin is also used.
From soups, the most popular one is Kyrgyz shorpo. Fat meat broth can be mixed with different vegetables and spices (the recipe changes from region to region) but the classy shorpo is a meat broth with pieces of lamb, carrots, potatoes, and greens. Ashlyann-Fu is a specific cold soup prepared from noodles, starch, and sour vegetable broth. It is served with a small potato patty.
Kyrgyz cuisine has several types of national bread served on different occasions. For instance, boorsok bread is a small yeast dough fried in oil and served on holidays. It can be salty or served with syrup as a dessert. Naan is a round bread baked in tandyr. It is served with meat dishes, tea and milk. Often there are patterns on bread that make it look so yummy. Kattama is a traditional Kyrgyz bread that is now so popular in post-soviet countries. The layered dough is fried in a pan with butter or sour cream. It can also be served with onions.
From traditional non-alcoholic drinks, the most popular one is Kyrgyz Kymyz, mare’s milk produced from May to September. Ayran is another traditional product popular in Central Asia. It tastes like yogurt.
This is only a small part of the rich national cuisine of Kyrgyzstan. All the colors, the mixture of aromas and flavors of traditional dishes can be found in the top best national restaurants of Bishkek. Hurry up to take a short gastro tour of the restaurants and find your fav in Kyrgyz cuisine.
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