Kyrgyz food is heavy on meat, dairy, and bread, and light on spices. This less true of Dungan and Uigur dishes. Each meal ends with the word “oomiyin”(amin), a face –washing-like-motion, which gives thanks to God.

Bread- is pieces of dough which is baked in tandyr (clay oven for baking the bread). It can be in circle form with face decoration.

Boorsok is pieces of dough, fried in oil.

Samsa is baked meat dumplings often cooked in a tandyr (clay oven). Once again, be warned of the heat and the fatty juice that squirts out when you bite into one. It is offered to eat in winter.

Beshbarmak – national Kyrgyz dish. The dish is meant to be eaten with the hands, not with a knife and fork! — «Besh» means five, and «barmak», finger. Beshbarmak is served when guests arrive and at almost any festive gathering. There is quite a ritual involved in preparing the meal. The simple version of the dish consists of noodles, which are mixed with boiled meat cut into tiny pieces and served with a medium spicy sauce. Bouillon is then poured over the mixture.

Shorpo with meat-generally, a sheep is slaughtered, butchered and boiled in a large » kazan » (a large round pot) for a couple of hours. The bones with the meat still on them are then distributed to the assembled gathering. The oldest people and honored guests are presented with the choicest bones first of all. The guest of honor is presented with the head — and by tradition should have the sheep’s eyes. To the «Aksakals» — old men — go the thigh bone («jambash») -to the older women goes the fat tail («kuiruk»). The legs and shoulders are distributed to the young adults present — and the smaller bones are reserved for the daughter in law of the household. Some meat is diced and mixed with boiled noodles.

It is often followed by Ak serke — a broth made from milk mixed with kefir -and is thought to help settle the stomach. The recipes section has a couple of recipes for you to try at home!


Kuiruk boor — a snack consisting of cooked bacon (actually it’s sheep’s fat -not pig meat) and liver sprinkled with herbs. It presents to the guests before meat.


Plov (ash)— (Central Asian substantial dish) — rice mixed with boiled, or fried meat,-onions and carrots (and sometimes other ingredients such as raisins), all cooked in a semi-hemispherical metal bowl called a kazan over a fire.  Plov is a favorite dish in the South Kyrgyzstan and is served to honored guests — the meal is not considered over until it has been served. Plov from Uzgen rice is more popular especially in chaikhanas (café or the special place of plov). Group of people prefer to eat plov in this kind of places talking over the meal.

Kuurdak — can be prepared from either mutton or beef. The meat is fried with onion and spices and served on a plate garnished with herbs.


Jarkop — stewed meat cooked with onions, radish and noodles, placed on boiled pieces of dough.


Ashlam-foo — a spicy dish made with cold noodles, jelly, vinegar and eggs.


Chuchpara — a form of meat dumplings — minced meat, onion and spices in dough, boiled in a tasty broth, served hot in bowls and eaten with a spoon. Sour cream can be served as a dressing.

Mantysteamed dumplings filled with shredded meat (or sometimes pumpkins), usually eaten with the fingers. A word of warning — watch out for the hot, liquid fat that can come squirting out from them. Also, sometimes the meat can be fatty, or gristle.

Oromo — This is not usually found in restaurants, you may be served it by a Kyrgyz family and small cafes or in chaikhanas. It can be prepared with meat, or as a vegetarian dish. Potatoes, onions and carrots are shredded and spread onto a mat of rolled out pastry, which is then rolled into roulette and steamed in a special pan called a kazan (in Kyrgyz»‘oromo» means «roulette»)..

Shashlyk — or Kebabs — meat cubes on skewers cooked over the embers of burning twigs. Mutton is the meat usually used, but it is possible to find beef, chicken, and even Caucasus big shashlyk. The meat may simply be freshly sliced or may have been marinated overnight. Shashlyk is usually served with a sprinkling of raw onion, vinegar and lepyoshki (bread).

Laghman — (Uigur dish) — flat noodles cooked in a stew of tiny pieces of mutton, potatoes, carrots, onions and white radishes.

Pelmeni — a form of Russian ravioli which can be served in a bouillon (or broth) or without, and usually smetana (sour cream). The Kyrgyz version is called chuchpara — and is a soup with dumplings which are filled with onions, meat and fat.

Piroshki — flat dough filled with meat, potatoes, cabbage or sometimes nothing at all — sold by street sellers.

Blini — (a Russian dish), pancakes, rolled and filled with meat, tvorog (a sort of cottage cheese), or jam.

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