The first day in Bishkek, a group of us went on a walking tour with the amazing Aigol from the Green Apple Hostel to learn a little about the city. I mentioned to her that I was really interested in the traditional food of the countries I visit and asked her to let me know if we came across anything very typical of Kyrgyzstan.
Along the way, we found this lady selling traditional Kyrgyz drinks in one of the many parks in Bishkek. The options were: Shoro – a wheat drink, Tan – a salty yoghurt drink, or juice. Aigol ordered the Tan and I had a sip of that – definitely not my thing. So, I ordered the Shoro – oh my God – absolutely not my thing either. I had to surreptitiously pour it out in the garden – I really couldn’t drink it! Lesson learned – I don’t like traditional Kyrgyz drinks!
A little later on, everyone was up for the suggestion of Aigol that we finish the walking tour with lunch at a Kyrgyz restaurant. It was quite a fancy place with an extensive menu … difficult to decide what to have!
I ended up ordering the most typical Kyrgyz version of “Beshbarmak on – Naryn”: horsemeat, long noodles, onion. Yeah – not the tastiest thing I’ve eaten … I think I’m done with Beshbarmaks now 😊
I also ordered a couple of traditional breads to go with it – Boorsok is a fried dough that is quite plain, but would be awesome with some sort of sauce or yoghurt to dip into.
And Kattama – fried layered pastry dough with spring onion – which was very tasty, and went down very well cold the next day for lunch as well!
Had a great lunch with Aigol and really appreciate her taking extra hours out to introduce us to some of the food of Kyrgyzstan!
We had another opportunity to try a very famous Kyrgyz dish when we visited the town of Karakol on our 3-day trip around Issyk Kul. Our driver took us to what looked like a hole-in-the-wall place (but one that was very, very popular with the locals) so we could try Ashlyan-fu, the specialty of the town.
Ashlyan-fu is a dish of cold, vinegary noodles with fish. I didn’t find any actual fish in mine, so maybe “fishy bits” might be a more accurate description! It was really delicious and had a bit of a kick to it as well (which was a really lovely surprise) – perhaps due to its origins as a Dungan dish imported from China. This was served with a bread stuffed with potatoes, which was a nice counterpart to the spicy dish.
Then, when we stayed in the yurt camp, I had the opportunity to try Kyrgyz Plov. Very similar to Kazakh Plov, and just as tasty. I do really like this dish 😊
So, very happy to have the opportunity to try several Kyrgyz dishes, and I reckon I’ll be back to visit this amazing country in the future!