Books:

More books...

Memberships:

Member of Kyrgyzstan Association of Tour Operators      Member of Silk Road Tour Operators Association


Printer friendly version Bookmark this page

KYRGYZ NATIONAL FOODWAYS

  Every nation carefully keeps and develops all the best from native culture it got from the ancestors: songs and fairy tails, legends and secrets of various crafts, and of course the traditions of national cuisine.

  Placed along the Great Silk Road on the historic crossroads of trade and cultural exchanges between China, Iran, India and the Arabian Sea, Kyrgyzstan has become home for more than 80 nationalities and ethnic communities. Kyrgyz cuisine has absorbed all the best from these cultures and at the same time preserved its originality and national peculiarity. Many of the Kyrgyz dishes are very popular amongst different nationalities of Kyrgyzstan.

  Image yourself traveling by the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. Around you the abundance of wild life, snow capped peaks, mountain rivers and green meadows with flocks of sheep, herds of horses and Nomads yurts. Go to any of these Yurts, where nobody will wander who are you and what is for you have arrived, the guests are more then welcome to Yurta and will be met with the same very touchful hospitality. “Come in and take the best honorable seat” are the first words the one can hear from the Nomads.

  At the ancient times the food for the guests of Kyrgyz governors and khans was served on the golden and silver dishes. Delicious and melting-in-the mouth meat of lamb and foal, Kazy-Karta - national dishes prepared from horse intestines and stomach, astringent Kumys - national beverage made of fermented mares milk, chagyrmak - vodka made of Kumys and other delicacies adorn the tables of nomadic noble people. Many years have passed since that time, people and their lifestyle have changed but the lows of hospitality, traditions and customs keep unchanged till present time.

  On the low, round table the nomads put dastorkon - a white table-cloth. Refreshments start with tea. On the table there are- lepeshki - round bread, boorsok - traditional bread, kattama - national fried layered bread of refined starch, butter, kaimak- the sour cream, fresh and dried fruits, sweets. Following the tea comes Kumys and a number of various appetizers. Amongst them Choochook - the sausage made of specially cooked horse fat and a lot of baked, fried and boiled meat dishes.

  Then the guests served with Beshbarmak (five fingers) - traditional Kyrgyz delicacy prepared from fresh meat of young lamb. Lets say beshbarmak is the complex of different dishes. For the first comes Jash-Shorpo - a broth spiced with mountain onion, Then Kuiruk-Boor - sliced liver and sheep fat with special sauce and Kabyrga - ribs with meat and fat. After this the guests get the Ustukan - the different parts of sheep carcass. Each ustukan has its own meaning and distributed to different guests depending on their age and level of honor. Finally the Beshbarmak itself serves on the big dish- chopped meat mixed with noodles and spiced with onion sauce. After all the tea or other beverages are served again.

  All the national dished might be separated into several brunches: everyday dishes, holiday dishes and ritual or rite dishes. Everyday dishes are Kesme - noodle soup with potatoes and meat, Shorpo - hot, rich meat broth with potatoes, peas and carrots. It is served in individual bowls and eaten with a spoon while large chunks of meat on the bones can be eaten with hands, Kulchetai - noodle soup with meat. Lagman -rich spicy stew with chopped meat, vegetables and spices, poured over long hand-made noodles. The noodles can be eaten with a fork and the gravy with a spoon. Lagman is served in individual bowls. Chuchvara - meat dumplings - minced meat, onion and spices in dough. It is boiled in a tasty broth, served hot in bowls and eaten with a spoon. Sour cream can be served as a dressing. Holiday dishes are Beshbarmak, Plov -cooked meat, rice, onion, garlic and spices. Plov is always served hot, Manty - meat, onion and chopped fat of lamb's tail covered in dough and steamed. Manty are served on individual plates (3-5 pieces) and dressed with sour cream. Shashlyk -marinated pieces of mutton threaded on metal skewer and cooked over hot coals. Always served hot with chopped onion. Samsa -pastry with meat, onion and the fat of lamb's tail cooked in a special clay oven called tandyr. Samsa is served straight from the tandyr and eaten with hands.

  The ritual or rite dishes make up a separate special group. The customs and rituals follow the one, from the birthday till the last day of the life. These dishes are divided into four different groups. The first group are the dishes timed to different period of child’s life: Jentek Toi - celebrates on the child’s birthday, Kyrkan Chygaruu- is the holiday celebrated on the 40th day after birthday, beshik Toi - celebrates by the first time the child is being put in the cradle and Tushoo-Kyrkuu -1 year celebrity.

  Another group associated with wedding: Kelin-Keryuu- a bride show, Otko-Kirgizyuu- is an entertainment organized by the relatives and based on invitation the newly-weds to their houses, Terkule - a girl first visit to her parents home after wedding.

  The third group is timed with burial: Kara-Ash - memorial make mention at the day of death, Uchulyuk - make mention on the 3rd day after death. Jetilic - make mention on the 7th day, Kyrky - make mention on the 40th day and Ash - 1 year make mention. The 4th group and the last, concerns the customs and rites what can be met in everyday life. Erlyuk - house-warming, Ajyrash-Ayak - associated with moving to another place of living, Sherne - an entertainment arranged by friends and relatives in succession.

  In most cases meat is obligated product in Kyrgyz dishes. Besides food there are also a number of national beverages: Kumys - fermented mare’s milk, Airan - cold drink from yogurt and sour in taste. Jarma or maxym - cold summer drink, made from water and dry wheat, a little salt and boiled, it has a special technology being very ancient. At the ancient times to make the drinks more heady, the nomads added honey, sugar, roots of aconite, black tea infusion, buckthorn and barberry.

  Some of the rite dishes were cooked for seasonal and calendar events. Although these dishes are of great interest, unfortunately, many of them are being forgotten, have fallen into disuse and thus have turned to archaic types of the food. Some dishes which formerly had rite contents, have lost their initial meaning and progressively turning to holiday or everyday dishes.

  One of the most essential feathers of Kyrgyz cuisine is that it prefers the dishes which preserve the taste and appearance. For instance there are no dishes comprising puree, minced or chopped meat, except for some exceptions. All the dishes have a plain taste; sauces and spices are used in small doses and not intended to change the dish taste.

  The traditions of hospitality of Kyrgyz people created through the centuries are something without which would be lost the originality of people and its cuisine.

Copyright © 2003-2011 by Fantastic Asia Ltd.