Kyrgyzstan is usually known for its nomadic culture, mesmerizing landscapes, and tempting Kyrgyzstan food. It is the land of people of different nationalities and different cuisines.
You can find many national and international foods in larger cities like Bishkek, Osh, and Jalal-Abad. Other non-Kyrgyz cuisines that are also very popular among commons are Uzbek, Dungan, Uyghur, and Turkish. These foods in Kyrgyzstan represent the large minorities.
What Is Special About Kyrgyzstan Food?
Kyrgyzstan food largely comprises the dishes of Kyrgyz people. It includes beef, mutton, and horse meat. Kyrgyz food also includes dairy products in many traditional food items.
Food in Kyrgyzstan contains a good range of options to satisfy different dietary preferences. While it includes lots of meat, it also has many vegetarian-friendly dishes. One interesting fact about Kyrgyzstan food is that you will see huge differences in the menu in different regions of the country.
In Bishkek, you can find lavish international restaurants, serving high-quality and fancy meals. The city also has some of the most delicious Indian food meals. In remote areas of the country, people usually like traditional Kyrgyz food.
Most Popular Kyrgyzstan Food
Beshbarmak (Meat With Noodles)
Beshbarmak is a traditional food of the land with high popularity. The dish is named Beshbarmak, meaning five fingers, as it is supposed to be enjoyed with your hands. While it might mess up your hands but the tempting flavor is a must to try.
This national food of Kyrgyzstan is an excellent blend of meat and noodles. It is made with mutton but some chefs substitute it with horse meat or beef. To make beshbarmak, meat is boiled in its juice for hours and then added to noodles.
This comforting Kyrgyzstan national dish is served garnished with parsley, featuring a salty and meaty taste. It is traditionally made at celebrations and even at funerals. The dish is mostly found in mountainous regions, but if you keep your eyes peeled, you can find it in a few restaurants in Karakol as well.
Traditional Meat Dishes In Kyrgyzstan Food
Paloo (Meat Rice)
Paloo or Palov is another famous rice-based dish from several Central Asian countries known by different names. You might have heard of it with the name Pilaf or Pilau. This rice dish comes in hundreds of variations throughout Asian countries.
In Kyrgyzstan, this food includes chunks of meat, beef, or mutton. It is traditionally fried in a large iron cauldron (called Kazan) with shredded carrots, onion, and ground rice. It is topped with whole-fried garlic cloves and red pepper.
Some restaurants also offer a vegetarian version of this Kyrgyz food. It is loaded with dry fruits and is known as Shirin Paloo. Osh is considered the best place to sample an authentic taste of this Kyrgyzstan food.
Shish Kabobs (Meat Skewers)
Shish kabob, also spelled Shish kebab, is another popular dish in Central Asian countries. It is an ancient food of the 5th century. Today, the food is made with marinated meat from young animals.
The meat is cooked with lots of onions to give it a juicy character. You can find different varieties of this Kyrgyzstan food in the country. The most popular and best tasting is the one fried on grapes twigs.
This delicious meal of Kyrgyz cuisine is served hot with vinegar, onions, and salad. You can enjoy them directly with the fork. It is tender and very satisfying with a bit of spiciness.
Kuurdak (Meat Dish)
Kuurdak is a hearty stew dish of Central Asia, popular in Kyrgyz. It is one of the oldest foods in Kyrgyzstan cuisine. This everyday meal is served as an appetizer before the main meal.
This meat dish includes fried marinated meat, onions, and potatoes. Some places also add carrots and squash in them. All the ingredients are perfectly mixed to give a balanced hint of exciting flavors and spices.
This Kyrgyz food is available throughout the year but it is most common in winter. It is served on a hot plate to keep it warm till the last bite.
Best Dumplings Of Kyrgyzstan Food
Boorsoks (Dumpling Bread)
Boorsoks are the traditional snacks of Kyrgyzstan cuisine. It is a staple food for large gatherings and celebrations. This mini bread looks like small pillows that feel fluffier on the palate.
The small pieces of bread are deep-fried. It feels like eating a sugar-free doughnut with a thin outer layer. It is considered one of the lighter foods of Kyrgyzstan.
You can enjoy the snack as it is. Some people like to have it with Shorpo or Kaymak dip. It tastes perfect with the sour cream Smetana or honey.
Manti (Meat Dumpling)
Manti is also among the top traditional foods of Kyrgyzstan just like in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. This famous dish is a beloved food of every soul. It is served both as a meal and as a light snack.
In Kyrgyzstan, this dumpling-based dish is stuffed with minced lamb or horse meat. It is seasoned with black pepper, onion, and chopped pumpkin or squash. Finally, it is served topped with butter or sour cream.
This Kyrgyzstan food is enjoyed with onion or garlic sauce. Some people like to have plain yogurt with it. You can easily grab a bite of this fulfilling snack from any roadside cafe.
Soups In Kyrgyzstan Cuisine
Ashlyam-fu (Cold Noodle Soup)
Ashlyam-fu is one of the most famous foods in Kyrgyzstan. It originated from Dungan cuisine in the mid-18th century. The dish is not only popular among locals but is also liked by international visitors.
This Kyrgyzstan food is a cold soup with a delightful taste. The broth contains meat, noodles, eggs, and veggies. It is extremely spicy yet very comforting.
Karakol is known to serve the best-tasting Ashlyam fu. Some restaurants served it with fried potato pie on the side. It is usually enjoyed with Laza, a chili garlic sauce.
Shorpo (Meat Soup)
The word Shorpo means soup. As the name refers, this Kyrgyzstan food is a soup-based dish served in a big bowl with green onion on top. This brothy delight is also healthy and provides a rich source of nutrients and minerals to your body.
The steamy soup is loaded with chunks of beef or lamb and flavored with salt. In some restaurants, you might also find some potato cubes and other veggies floating in the broth.
This nutritious Kyrgyz dish is perfect to eat in cold weather. It is warm and flavorful enough to satisfy your soul. The dish can be a perfect dinner to kick off the stress of a long tiring and cold day.
Kyrgyzstan Foods – Most Popular Pie
Oromo (Steamed Pie)
This Kyrgyz food not only has an appealing look but is also a delectable taste. Among the foods of Kyrgyzstan, the Oromo pie is certainly one worth trying. However, it takes a little patience.
If you want to enjoy an Oromo, you should order at least an hour before you are planning to eat it, as the preparation takes time. But hey, good things are worth the wait.
This traditional food in Kyrgyzstan includes thin and delicate handmade dough. The dough is stuffed with cabbage, potato, carrots, and onion. In the non-veg version, there is an addition of meat.
The dough is rolled into roulette and cooked in a pan. The dish is usually enjoyed with Kaymak, a traditional sour cream of the land. Some people also like to have it with chili paprika yogurt sauce.
Traditional Kyrgyzstan Drink
Kymyz (Fermented Mare Milk)
If you like Turkish Kefir, you will also love this Kyrgyz food. Kymyz is something very authentic and very local to Kyrgyzstan. It is famous not only in this country but throughout Central Asia.
This refreshing drink from Kyrgyz cuisine is great for boosting your energy during hot weather days. It is flavourful as well as healthy. Kymyz is made with fermented horse milk and offers a bit of a sour taste with a slight alcoholic hint.
In Kazakhstan, it is a tradition of the locals to serve this drink to the guests. However, if it is your first time having it, avoid drinking too much as it can greatly affect the digestive system.
FLAVORS AROUND THE WORLD
Discovering Delicious Kyrgyz Food
Traditional Kyrgyzstan food offers hearty and filling meals. You are going to enjoy a variety of red meat, soups, bread, and dairy food items. Potatoes, dark greens, and roots are some common vegetables used in Kyrgyz cuisine.
Unlike many Central Asian countries, Kyrgyz food is not very spicy. People in Kyrgyzstan love jams and sweets. They offer these confectioneries at the end of every meal.
The cooking and food preparation techniques of Kyrgyzstan have been highly influenced by the nomadic lifestyle of ancient natives. This is the reason why we see so many preserved food recipes in Kyrgyzstan cuisine.