Welcome to Dastarkhan!

 

Kazakh national cuisine

 

Nomadic roots played a significant role in the formation of Kazakh national cuisine, which has mostly been based on meat and dairy products, and later was diversified with dough(flour), delicious fruits and vegetables. Although Kazakh food culture has been changing throughout centuries, it has not lost its identity, and today national cuisine is respected and cherished by locals as well as tourists. 

Kazakhs are very hospitable people. Since ancient times, back when people in these places used to move from one place to another, not inviting someone to your home was considered a shameful act. Guests have always been highly honored and host families usually entertain them with the best food they have. Firstly, guests are invited to take a sit at dastarkhan - low round table, where meals are served, usually occupying a place of honor the farthest from the door. Then host offers national drinks kymyz (fermented mare's milk) or shubat (fermented camel milk), and there are refreshments on the table (bauyrsak - small pieces of fried dough, kazy - smoked horse sausages, salads).


   


Beshbarmak considered to be the main dish of Kazakhs; it's boiled animal meat(usually mutton or horse meat), served on a platter with rectangle-shaped pasta. On special occasions, sheep's head is served and there is a strong hierarchy when it comes to who will have the first cut; highest ranking and the oldest guest is first and then distributes it to other guests according to local tradition (old men, children, close and distant relatives). Your host or another guest may serve you. Eating is usually done with the right hand, or a knife and fork. It all ends with sorpa - oily broth or black tea. And remember to leave something on your plate when you have finished eating. This demonstrates that you have had enough, whereas if you finish everything it means you are still hungry and you will be served more food.

Meals are social events, it's the time when people share everything going on in their lives. As such, they may take a great deal of time; you are more than welcome to talk while eating. Modern Kazakh cuisine includes not only traditional Kazakh food but also popular Uzbek, Uighur, Russian, Tatar, Korean dishes. Uighur laghman - a dish of thick noodles served with beef broth, beef and tomatoes and palau - complex dish of rice served with lamb (sometimes beef), onions and carrots.


 

Kazakhstan surely has exciting culinary traditions. Though the main dishes are quite a few and may seem simple, which can be explained by historical features, mesmerizing is the process of having a meal and the way guests are treated. Kazakhstan cuisine has been acquiring over time with the change of lifestyle and interaction with other cultures, but it's hasn't lost its' basics. Surely, national cuisine is unique and is definitely one of the highlights of life in Kazakhstan.

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