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Food and Culture


Traditional Food

  1. The national dish consists of boiled horse meat or mutton with large noodles and onions. Traditionally beshbarmak is eaten with fingers (literally, "beshbarmak" means "five fingers") from a common platter, with the family and guests sitting on the floor around a low-lying table called dastarkhan.
  2. This is a traditional sausage made from the rib meat of horses. The meat is stuffed inside the animal’s intestines and then usually dried or smoked before it is boiled for consumption. Kazy is an important part of any celebratory meal.
  3. This is a Kazakh national dish made from spherical or triangular pieces of dough and fried in oil. People vary the recipe according to whether they want to make it sweet or not. Sometimes it is described as a type of Asian doughnuts. Traditionally it is cooked for an important party, like a wedding or even a memorial. People believe that the smell of the oil and the frying baursak floats high into the sky so that your dead loved ones can feed on the aroma and enjoy them with you.
  4. Kuyrdak is a national dish made from cow’s, horse’s or sheep’s chopped heart, liver, kidneys boiled in oil, and served with onion and pepper.
  5. This is a dairy product made from mare’s milk fermented in big skin bags. Sometimes the process of fermentation may take several days. Kumys is very delicious. But be careful! It has an alcohol content.
  6. Shubat is the camel’s milk made in the same way as kumys. Both kumys and shubat are reputed to have wonderful health properties.
  7. This is a type of cheese made from dehydrated sour cream by forming small balls and letting it dry. Traditionally, kurt was useful for long treks on horseback across the steppe.
  8. Shelpek is a flat cake made in the same way as baursaks.
  9. the Kazakh version of Pilaf rice this dish is popular at large gatherings. It consists of rice served with lamb (sometimes beef), onions and carrots. Plov varies in quality and can be very good indeed but it can be a little oily for western tastes.
  10. Manti are large steamed dumplings filled with ground meat (usually lamb) served with sour cream. Pelmeni are similar but smaller and sometimes filled with vegetables. Both are very popular with children. They are relatively easy, if time-consuming, to make but are also available ready-made. Manti are sold in the delicatessen section of most supermarkets and pelmeni come in large bags from the freezer section. They are available in most Kazakh restaurants and are a good bet for a quick, nourishing snack.