About Uzbekistan

Uzbek Cuisine in the spotlight of a European Tourism Agency: “Five Uzbek Dishes" by Travel Tomorrow
14 January 2024
Uzbek Cuisine in the spotlight of a European Tourism Agency: “Five Uzbek Dishes" by Travel Tomorrow

Famous European Tourism portal Travel Tomorrow published another article about Uzbekistan, this time dedicated to Uzbek Cuisine. The article was written by the travel journalist Dana Stefan and talks about the five famous dishes of the Uzbek cuisine.

The list of the delicious Uzbek dishes highlighted by the author of the article include Uzbek Pilaf, Uzbek bread, Manti, Samsa and Uzbek kebab, which is named as Shashlik, as it is typically used in Uzbekistan by locals.

The author starts the article talking about the history of the Uzbek cuisine, mentioning how it was effected by merchant from all over the world throughout the centuries, since Uzbekistan was located on the Great Silk Road, playing a key role connecting East to the West. Regional variations and peculiarities of Uzbek dishes depending the district and location are explained to the readers, mentioning the approaches of preparing the famous so-called “Uzbek rice”, which is Uzbek Pilaf (Plov) in each region of Uzbekistan, giving an example of Tashkent and Fergana Valley styles of the Uzbek Rice.

The inclusion of the Uzbek pilaf into the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO is also highlighted by the author, which talks about the uniqueness of this deliciously prepared Uzbek rice with meat and carrots, adding various spices to it.

“Located along the ancient Silk Road, Uzbekistan's cuisine has been influenced by traders from around the world for centuries,” the article says. - As with any culture, there are variations throughout the country depending on the availability of local products. In the north, the main dishes are rice or dough dishes. In the southern part of the country, preference is given to multi-component dishes made from vegetables and rice. In the Fergana Valley, rice is cooked darker or fried, while in Tashkent it remains lighter. Regardless of regional characteristics, some dishes remain basic in Uzbek cuisine.”

The article talks about pilaf - the signature dish of national cuisine. “Uzbek pilaf, which is sometimes also called palov or pilaf, was inscribed by UNESCO in 2016 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,” the portal reports. “There is a saying in Uzbekistan that guests can leave the host’s house only after they have been served pilaf,” writes Travel Tomorrow.

The next unique example of a traditional Uzbek cuisine is Uzbek bread, or so called flatbread, which is generally called Non in Uzbek language. The author describes the recipe and preparation methods of the Uzbek flatbread variations, teasing the readers, who doubtlessly crave trying it as they read how thoroughly it is baked, bringing a delicious bread to the table.

Shashlik, locally referred kebab in Central Asian countries comes next in the list of the author’s Uzbek dishes. The next dish that attracted the attention of European gourmets is shashlik or kebab. The variations of Shahlik, which are made with lamb, chicken and beef are mentioned, quoting “The characteristic of Uzbek shashlik is alternating the meat with tail fat on the skewers to create the juiciest possible results. Moreover, the ingredients for shashlik, be it meat, fat or even onion, are always marinated, preferably overnight, before the mosaic is created on the skewers and grilled over charcoals”.

Uzbek Samsa was compared to Indian Samosa, mentioning that Uzbek ones are baked in the tandoor whereas Indian samosa is fried. The variations of Uzbek samsa, which can be stuffed with beef, lamb, chicken or vegetables, adding spices according to a taste is also described in the article.  

And finally, Manti, another favorite Uzbek dish, steamed large dumplings filled with minced meat, concludes the article dedicated to Uzbek cuisine.

On our end, we would like to add that you should visit Uzbekistan not only for its historical monuments of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva, but also delicious Uzbek cuisine, which is absolutely unique in its taste and variety.

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Did you know?

Uzbekistan is one of only two countries in the world to be ‘double landlocked’ (landlocked and totally surrounded by other landlocked countries). Liechtenstein is double landlocked by 2 countries whilst Uzbekistan is surrounded by 5!

Did you know that Uzbekistan lies in the very heart of Eurasia, the coordinates for Uzbekistan are 41.0000° N, 69.0000°

Uzbekistan is home to the Muruntan gold mine, one of the largest open pit gold mines in the world! The country has 4th largest reserves of gold in the world after South Africa, USA and Russia

Uzbekistan is the world capital of melons. They have in excess of 150 different varieties, which form a staple part of the local diet, served fresh in the summer and eaten dried through the winter.

It is Uzbek tradition that the most respected guest be seated farthest from the house’s entrance.

Tashkent’s metro features chandeliers, marble pillars and ceilings, granite, and engraved metal. It has been called one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.

The Uzbek master chef is able to cook in just one caldron enough plov to serve a thousand men.

When you are a host to someone, it is your duty to fill their cups with for the whole time they are with you.  What you must not do, however, is to fill their cup more than half-full.  If you do that as a mistake, say it is a mistake immediately.  Doing it means you want them to leave.  Wow!  Amazing, right?

To Uzbeks, respect means a whole lot.  For this reason they love it if, even as foreigners, you endeavour to add the respectful suffix opa after a woman's name; and aka after a man's.  Example: Linda-opa and David-aka.  You could also use hon and jon respectively.

Having been an historic crossroads for centuries as part of various ancient empires, Uzbekistan’s food is very eclectic. It has its roots in Iranian, Arab, Indian, Russian and Chinese cuisine.

Though identified with the Persia, the Zoroastrism probably originated in Bactria or Sogdiana. Many distinguished scholars share an opinion that Zoroastrianism had originated in the ancient Khorezm. Indeed, today in the world there were found 63 Zoroastrian monuments, including those in Iran, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thirty-eight of them are in Uzbekistan, whereas 17 of these monuments are located in Khorezm.

One of Islam's most sacred relics - the world's oldest Koran that was compiled in Medina by Othman, the third caliph or Muslim leader, is kept in Tashkent. It was completed in the year 651, only 19 years after Muhammad's death. 

Tashkent is the only megapolis in the world where public transport is totally comprised of Mercedes buses. And due to low urban air polution it is one of the few cities where one can still see the stars in the sky.

You would be surprised to know that modern TV was born in Tashkent. No joke! The picture of moving objects was transmitted by radio first time in the world in Tashkent on 26 of July 1928 by inventors B.P. Grabovsky and I.F. Belansky.

Uzbekistan is the only country in the world all of whose neighbours have their names ending in STAN. This is also the only country in Central Asia that borders all of the countries of this region

Uzbeks are the third populous Turkik ethnicity in the world after Turks and Azeris (leaving both in Azerbaijan and Iran)

Did you know that there was silk money in Khiva? Super interesting right? Of course, but the best part of having silk money was that it could be sewn into your clothing.

Famous Islamic physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna in the Latin world) who was born near Bukhara was the one of the first people to advocate using women’s hair as suture material – about 1400 years ago.

Uzbekistan has a long and bloody history. The most notorious leader of Uzbekistan was Timur (or Tamerlane) who claimed descent from Genghis Khan. His military campaigns have been credited for wiping out some 5% of the world’s population at the time.

If you have thought that some of the Islamic architecture in Uzbekistan resembles that from Northern India, then that is because Timur’s great great great Grandson, Babur Beg, was the founder of the Moghul Empire that ruled much of India for almost four centuries! Babur’s great great Grandson was Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal.

Uzbekistan was once a rum producig country. There is still a real arboretum in Denau (city near Termez on the border with Afghanistan), grown from a selection station that studied the prospects of plant growing in the unusual for the Soviet Union subtropical climate of Surkhandarya region: only here in the whole of the USSR sugar cane was grown and even rum was produced!

Uzbekistan has been ranked one of the safest countries in the world, according to a new global poll. The annual Gallup Global Law and Order asked if people felt safe walking at night and whether they had been victims of crime. The survey placed Uzbekistan 5th out of 135 countries, while the UK was 21st and the US 35th. Top five safest countries:

  • Singapore
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Finland
  • Uzbekistan
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