11 Delicious and Must-Try Uzbek Foods

11 Delicious and Must-Try Uzbek Foods

Uzbekistan is located in Central Asia so the typical food of Uzbekistan is similar to its neighboring countries which are in the same region as well as China, Turkey, and Nepal.

This country’s cuisine uses a lot of ingredients such as rice, potatoes, bread, and warm foods such as stew, so it is quite heavy.

Uzbek cuisine also uses a lot of meat. However, there are also Uzbek specialties that are suitable for vegetarians although meat is quite prominent in local cuisine.

Usually, the type of meat that is widely used in this country is goat and beef. Want to know what are the typical foods of Uzbekistan? Take a peek at the list below, come on!

  1. Plov

Sometimes referred to as “osh”, plov is considered a specialty of Uzbekistan. This dish is delicious rice pilaf.

The terms pilaf and plov are the same, namely a portion of cooked rice with lamb or beef, garlic, onions, carrots, raisins, and apricots.

Not only is it a popular food in Uzbekistan, but plov is also one of the most delicious foods. If you visit Uzbekistan, tourists will find that most of the restaurants there offer plov.

But if you want to feel the original plov, come to the Plov Center located in each city. Here the plov is cooked in giant iron cauldrons called kazans.

The dish is cooked over an open fire. Generally, the Plov Center will only serve plov accompanied by bread, tea, and a selection of salads.

  1. Somsa

This delicious somsa is a cake filled with meat. Each region has its variation of somsa. This Uzbek specialty is different from other meat-filled pastries, such as Indian samosas or Latin American empanadas.

What distinguishes somsa from other pastries is that this Uzbek somsa is not fried. This food is baked by attaching it to the inner wall of a large clay oven called a tandoor.

In the oven, the somsa turns crispy and golden brown until ready to be scraped off the sides. In addition to somsa filled with beef, there are also somsa containing lamb, vegetables and cheese, and even pumpkin.

To make it even more delicious, try eating somsa with tomato sauce for a sour taste that goes well with this meat-filled cake. Some somsa variants are sprinkled with sesame seeds.

  1. Manti

Manti is a traditional Turkish dumpling filled with minced meat and onions. Often dumplings are topped with a sauce made of yogurt and garlic.

The name of this dish comes from the word mantu, which means dumpling. Originally this dish was brought by Turkic nomadic tribes in the 13th century from Central Asia to Turkey.

Perhaps one will find some resemblance between manti and Chinese dumplings because these dumplings were brought from the Uighurs who lived in China at that time. Manti is also assumed to have originated from the Chinese word ‘Mantou’ which means steamed bun.

Manti is usually served with a yogurt-based dip, which may seem odd to some, but tastes pretty good. Several restaurants also serve vegetarian manti stuffed with radishes, pumpkin, and other vegetables.

Besides being popular in Turkey, now manti is also popular in various other cuisines, such as Armenian, Central Asian, and Afghan.

  1. Shashlik

Shashlik is similar to satay in Indonesia. This Uzbek specialty is skewered meat cooked on a grill.

The word “shashlik” is the Russian word for “shish kabob”, and during the time of the vast Russian empire, this style of cooking became widespread in Central Asia.

Throughout Uzbekistan, there is a wide variety of options for shashlik including the cutlet. There are pieces of beef or lamb, chicken feet, and “meat rolls” which are lean beef patties or ground beef (or lamb).

Because most of the population of Uzbekistan is Muslim, so the chances of finding pork in this country are very small. But if lucky, tourists can be offered some shashlik made from horse meat.

If you are bored with consuming too much meat, there is a choice of shashlik made from potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, and peppers.

  1. Lagman

Lagman or lag’mon is a dish of noodles mixed with meat and vegetables. It can be served as a soup with a light broth or fried in a sticky sauce called qavurma Lagman.

Usually, Lagman is made from ingredients such as beef or lamb and hand-pulled noodles. Don’t miss trying this food while in Uzbekistan.

Like most foods in Uzbekistan, Lagman is also popular throughout Central Asia. The word Lagman itself, like noodles, comes from China. However, the taste and preparation of the dishes are distinctly Turkish.

  1. Dimlama

Dimlama is a traditional Uzbek stew made at harvest. Although each house makes a different dimlama, it is usually made with a combination of lamb or beef, potatoes, onions, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, radishes, garlic, cabbage, pumpkin, cumin, and scallions.

The most important thing about dimlama is the coating. First, the lamb and onions are cooked until brown. Then the other vegetables are placed on top without having to stir the pan. The final layer is the cabbage, which helps bind the flavorful juices in the pot.

The process of cooking this food uses a slow cooking technique and takes about 2 hours. When served, dimlama can be garnished with coriander leaves or fresh dill.

  1. Halva

Halva is a dense fudge-like confection that is popular throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. Usually, this dish is made by mixing sesame oil or sunflower seed oil with sugar syrup. Halva can be flavored with cocoa powder, chocolate, vanilla, and chopped nuts to give each bite a unique taste and texture.

In every major market in Uzbekistan, you will find piles of halva ready for sale. But favorite places to shop for halva are Chorsu Market in Tashkent and Siab Bazaar in Samarkand. There are many variants of halva that can be tested and chosen.

  1. Hasib

In Korea there is a sundae, in Uzbekistan, there is a hasib. This Uzbek specialty is a delicious lamb sausage made using gut sheaths. Maybe some people hear it weird or even feel disgusted, but this food tastes really good.

The best hasib sausages can be found at the Chorsum Bazaar in Tashkent and if you want a better-tasting hasib, try eating it with broth. Hasib will feel soft in the mouth.

Try tasting it with a bowl of broth that will make every bite juicy and delicious. The broth is also a good remedy for an itchy throat after a walk in the hot desert areas of Uzbekistan.

  1. Tashkent Salad

Tashkent Salad is a traditional and simple salad that originates from Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan. Usually, a salad is made using a combination of several ingredients, namely onions, eggs, radishes, mayonnaise, coriander, scallions, oil, parsley, dill as well as meats such as mutton or beef.

The meat is first boiled and chopped, while the onions are thinly sliced ​​and fried in oil. Radish is cut into pieces, then soaked in cold water, and then dried.

Next, the meat, radish, salt, fried onions, pepper, and mayonnaise are mixed, then given a hard-boiled egg cut into quarters, and sprinkled with scallions and seasonings.

Usually, each serving of salad is sprinkled with the remaining mayonnaise, but because the salad has several variants, the ingredients used may vary from place to place.

  1. Samarkand Non

Samarkand non is a traditional round bread from Uzbekistan. This dense and dry bread is made from ingredients such as flour and water, or milk. This bread has a long shelf life and generally looks like a large bagel.

Non-Samarkand bread has a darker crust and is larger, fuller, heavier, and compared to non-Tashkent types of bread.

After baking on the walls of a tandoor oven, the bread is usually coated with gloss oil. In the middle, there is a small piece that is covered with black sesame seeds. This type of bread can only be made in Samarkand.

  1. Shurpa

Shurpa is an Uzbek lamb stew that can be found in almost every restaurant in the country. It contains chunks of lamb as well as thick slices of vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions. Spices such as parsley and fresh fennel are also added to add flavor to the soup.

This soup dish can be tried as a start when you are in Uzbekistan, especially when visiting during the cold season. This can help warm the body.

Uzbekistan is not only famous for having beautiful women but also for delicious food. This country eats a lot of meat, but there are also foods made from vegetables.

Some of these foods are almost the same as the food of neighboring countries as well as Turkey and Europe. If you are interested you can try to make it at home. Happy creative!