Traditional Kyrgyz food revolves around mutton, beef and horsemeat, as well as various dairy products. The preparation techniques and major ingredients have been strongly influenced by the nation’s historically nomadic way of life. Thus, many cooking techniques are conducive to the long-term preservation of food. Mutton and beef are the favorite meats, although in modern times many Kyrgyz are unable to afford them regularly. Bishkek, Osh and Karakol are the best places in the country to try Kyrgyz food. These cities have an increasing number of restaurants that cater to tourists and where the food is tasty. In Osh and Karakol you will also find some regional specialities that you won’t find elsewhere in the country.
It is often considered the national food of Kyrgyzstan; traditionally beshbarmak is made from horsemeat with noodles in an onion broth. Nowadays it is more common to see mutton or beef meat. The name translates as five fingers, because you should eat this by hand.
Kuurdak is another popular Kyrgyz dish that is characterized by grilled mutton, fat and onions. Often it includes a little bit of vegetables too such as potatoes or carrots.
Dimlama is one of favourite foods of Kyrgyz people but unlike other dishes, the meat is not the main ingredient. Dimlama is a vegetable stew with lots of potatoes, carrots and bell peppers and just a little bit of meat.
Lagman is an Uyghur dish with noodles, meat and vegetables. The noodles can be served with or without a broth and second of all there are different types of noodles. Bozo laghman comes with fried noodles and gyozo laghman with boiled noodles.
Manti are dumplings filled with meat that have become hugely popular in Central Asia. It is more likely that it originated with Turkish and Mongol tribes that spread this recipe throughout the silk road from China to Turkey.
These baked, stuffed pastries are usually made with onions and lamb meat, but potato versions are also available. In a triangular or half-moon shape, lightly golden on top and often sprinkled with sesame seeds, samsa are most reminiscent of Indian samosas and just as delicious.
Kymyz is a fermented mare’s milk. The trademark kymyz jolt of tanginess can be a revelation for ones trying it first time. It also features a raft of purported health benefits.