Before coming to Uzbekistan, it is very hard for me to imagine what kind of cuisine they have in the country. Usually, food could tell a lot of stories about a place, including the natural environment, history and especially the way how people live. For me, it is essential to know the culture of eating before getting even deeper into other aspects of a culture.
As a member of the previous USSR, Uzbekistan cuisine is greatly impacted by Russia in terms of the ingredients and the dishes. For example, people usually eat their meals with bread, and Manty(lamb-filled dumplings) & dill-based dishes are no strangers to Uzbekistan dining table. But on the other side, Uzbekistan also keeps some of the most traditional Central/West Asian dishes such as Plov. In addition, due to the proximity to Europe, Uzbekistan menu is also impacted by the European dining culture, which can be seen from the menu (from soup, appetizer, main dish to dessert).
As for the ingredients, Uzbekistan people mostly consume beef, lamb and chicken due to the religion. But to my surprise, I did see some pork dishes on the restaurant menu. That is probably because of the fact that most Uzbekistan are only “believers” who don’t strictly follow the Islamic rules. In terms of the choice of vegetables, I would say that is is a little bit boring (Actually Kyrgyzstan is the same) since it’s simply a rotation among tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants and cabbages. This may be attributed to the lack of clean water to wash the leafy vegetables properly, or to the continental climate, or simply to the preference of high-calorie vegetables of the local people.
I will share some of the dishes that I tried in Uzbekistan and hope that would be a great feast for you: