Uzbekistan is not really famed for its cuisine, so I wasn’t expecting much from Uzbek food, however, in general it was quite tasty. Uzbeki food is very meat heavy, and also carb loaded probably to help in the extreme winter. It’s not a country for fussy eaters, but if you’re open to try new things you may be pleasantly surprised.
There are lots of local specialities to try and below are some of my top recommendations of foods to try in Uzbekistan.
Trying horse milk
Uzbek speciality, horse milk was something I didn’t even realise people drank until I was offered it at a market.
Horses are farmed for meat in Uzbekistan and the meat is found everywhere fairly cheaply. It’s served in many forms, one of which is a noodle based broth which originated in Kazakhstan. The second version I saw at virtually every market we passed and is served as a plate piled high with shredded fried dough strips with tiny pieces of meat mixed in, topped by some horse meat sausage. The second dish was actually fairly tasty although quite heavy, the meat tasted rich like venison.
It’s unusual for us in Europe to eat horse and it did take a little while for me to get my head around it. Equally I’m not 100% sure of the ethics of eating horse meat but for those amongst us who are big eaters it’s worth a try.
Dumplings, kebabs & dried fruit
dumplings are abundant in Uzbekistan; usually filled with beef and onions. They are cheap & easy to grab as a snack from the side of the road. Most markets sell kebabs of various types, often keema or chicken but also beef liver is quite popular. Another easy and cheap buy are the dried fruit and vegetables, available in every variation possible including melon, chickpeas and grapes.