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Top 10 national dishes you should try in Kazakhstan

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Top 10 national dishes you should try in Kazakhstan

Kazakh national food reflects the traditional nomadic lifestyle. And if you are planning to visit Kazakhstan, be prepared to see a wide range of meat dishes. I can assure you that vegetarianism is rarely practiced in this country. It is explained by the fact that the local climate is challenging and the food has to provide a lot of energy.

Some dishes may appear extraordinary or even strange, but everything is worth trying at least once.

1. Beshbarmak

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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. Kazy

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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. Kuyrdak

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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.

4. Sorpa

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Sorpa is a traditional hot broth usually drunk after eating beshbarmak. Sometimes it is served with kurt (see below).

5. Airan

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This is a drinkable yogurt prepared from fermented cow’s milk.

6. Kumys

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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.

7. Shubat

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Shubat is the camel’s milk made in the same way as kumys. Both kumys and shubat are reputed to have wonderful health properties.

8. Kurt

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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.

9. Baursaks

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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.

10. Shelpek

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Shelpek is a flat cake made in the same way as baursaks.


Inna Kuzmenko