Published: 23 October 2019
Last Update: 27 September 2021
Uzbekistan is a foodies paradise, no doubt. Visitors are always spoilt for choice with the array of food options available: from soups to main dishes, and in mass dosages. Food in Uzbekistan is as varied and diverse as the country itself, thanks in part to its location between Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
If you’re planning your next trip to Uzbekistan, it’s important that you conduct a bit of research on their cultural traditions. One of the major draws of this country is its sumptuous local dishes. Unfortunately, Uzbek cuisine has limited options for vegetarians as most of its food contains meat.
But before going any further, what’s the food culture like in Uzbekistan. Traditionally, locals eat foods with their hands. They share the table with every family member. On the dining table will be a bunch of large dishes from which everyone eats.
Most popular Uzbekistan foods worth trying include Lagman, Plov, Norin, and Manty. Depending on where you’re headed in Uzbekistan, different foods will be more popular. Choosing the top 10 Uzbekistan food was pretty much difficult as there are many serious contenders for the top spots. Without further ado, check out the most popular foods you should sample in Uzbekistan.
Plov, also known as osh, palov, or pilaf, is a popular food in Uzbekistan and without doubt, the nation’s favorite dish. Your trip to Uzbekistan without sampling this dish will be considered incomplete, so you don’t want to miss it.
Plov is readily available everywhere. Think rice cooked together with beef or lamb, chopped onions, grated carrots, and chunks of carrots. There are over 150 varieties of this meal. It can be eaten as a standalone dish or served with eggs, and kazy (local sausage). For the most authentic Plov experience, visit a plov center near you.
At the festive tables of locals and every major household in the country, you’ll most likely come across a national Uzbek cuisine Norin. Norin, also known as Naryn, is made of fresh noodles and horsemeat sliced into tiny bits. It can be served either hot or cold.
Norin is synonymous with Ramazan Hait (Eid-al Fitr), a special festival in Uzbekistan. The food is prepared not just for guests alone but for everyone, including neighbors. It is a regional food widely available in the capital Tashkent.
Samsa can be found everywhere – in restaurants and at home. This local fast food is stuffed with lamb or beef and baked in the oven.
Occasionally, you’ll find Samsa filled with potato or pumpkin, making it a perfect choice for vegetarians since other foods in Uzbekistan contain meat. Many locals can’t start the day without sampling this food served alongside a pot of tea. You should try it.
Chuchvara are delicious small dumplings that can be served hot, fried, or in a soup. The soup version is prepared by boiling little dumplings in saltwater or bouillon. The soup tastes better when served alongside healthy sour milk. More so, it’s a great starter to any meal in the country.
Another popular way to eat this local food is fried. This is a great choice when eating with a large group. Chuchvara is a popular food at parties and weddings. In spring, chuchvara with different kind of greens are famous.
5. Tandir Kabob
Tandir Kabob comes in great varieties and mostly prepared in Jizzakh, Kashkadarya and Surkhandarya regions. Most restaurants across the country order these from these regions and sell to customers.
More so, it’s a favorite dish among the nomads since it’s easy to prepare. All you need to prepare Tandir Kabob is mutton and fire. The meat is sliced into large pieces and spiced with salt and other ingredients. The meat pieces are roasted for at least 40 minutes.
6. Kuza Shurpa
Kuza Shurpa is a lamb soup that’s not hard to find in every eating establishment in Uzbekistan. It serves as a great starter to any meal, especially if you’re in the country during the chilly season and need to feel refreshed after a full day exploring all that this beautiful country has to offer.
To add flavor to the soup, it comes served with thick slices of carrots, onions, and potatoes. It’s a popular food during major holidays and events. Equally impressive is the fact that there’s no weeknight family gathering without at least a plate of Kuza Shurpa on the table.
7. Lagman Soup
This is another favorite dish in Uzbekistan. Lagman soup is perfect for lunch. Served as a hearty noodle stew filled with pepper, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and of course lamb. The warming lamb broth is seasoned with parsley, and cumin seed to add flavor.
When in doubt about what to eat in Uzbekistan, Lagman soup is indeed a fine choice, no matter the season.
8. Fried Lagman
Another way to enjoy this favorite local dish is fried. This time, the noodles are pan-fried with onions, pepper, seasonal vegetables, and tomato pastes.
Once done, it gives a similar taste to fried spaghetti. This non-soup version of Lagman comes served with fried egg, on request.
Another food that made the list of top Uzbekistan food is Manti – steamed dumplings filled with ground meat. For added taste, the dumplings come seasoned with extra fat. It can be served alongside yogurt.
Don’t be surprised when the food is served without utensils. This is because the food is best enjoyed without it, allowing you to put your hands to good use.
Dolmas are renowned all over the world, so chances are you’ve sampled it before. Basically, dolmas are grape leaves filled with rice and ground meat, pepper, and cabbage leaves.
You’ll see it as an option in almost every eatery in Uzbekistan, and you can’t help but place an order for it.
There are plenty of dishes that are worth trying in Uzbekistan, but these ones mentioned above shouldn’t be missed. Get a truly authentic travel experience by trying at least one of these foods. It’s definitely worth it.