Uzbek Cuisine

Uzbek Cuisine

One of the components that make every nation unique is that its own national cuisine. So, Uzbekistan is also a country with its unique and amazing national cuisine. A variety of Uzbek national dishes impresses with its unusual quantity and amazing taste. Everyone who has been in Uzbekistan, should know its famous national dishes


One of the most popular among Uzbek dishes is certainly Pilaf. Pilaf is food for real connoisseurs and gourmets, favorite of fortune, warriors and philosophers. No wonder that among the fans of this dish there are so many representative of the strong half of humanity. And it is men who are able to create real pilaf. Pilaf is not just rice and meat, pilaf is a symbol, and this is what first pops up in the head with the phrase ’’Uzbek cuisine’’.


It is impossible to imagine Uzbekistan without sun breads, hot pilaf and, of course, without a delicious shashlik (kebab). The smoke, saturated with the aroma of roasting meat on the coals, is carried far from the barbecue, charmingly luring gourmets.

In Uzbekistan cuisine one can find lamb shashlik, beef, chicken meat, liver (jigar kebab), the shish kebab can be ground; it can be small pieces or very large pieces of whole meat. Pork shashlik in Uzbekistan is cooked in large cities and only in European restaurants, since for Muslims sin is not only eating pork, but also touching it.


Shurpa this is the most popular soup in Uzbekistan. It came into the world cuisine from the Ottoman Empire. An important component of this appetizing and hearty dish is broth, in which, in addition to traditional fatty mutton, beef is also added. Be prepared for the fact that the rich soup of meat and vegetables hits all taste buds at once.

There is also a shurpa with peas (chickpeas, nohat) - nohat shurpa. Nohat (chickpea) – Central Asian large peas, which do not boil soft during cooking and remain relatively firm even when fully prepared. It should be pre-soaked in cold water, and then cook with meat.

This is only briefly about what constitutes an excellent shurpa with its many-sided recipes for every taste. Since shurpa is a rather fatty soup, it must be served with bread, more precisely, with a fragrant, hot Uzbek bread.


Uzbek bread

Despite the fact that flatbreads are already many hundreds of years old, they can easily satisfy even the taste of gourmets: crisp crust, soft dough and piquancy, which the sesame, cumin or poppy seeds add to the cakes.

There are different types of flatbreads, a very tasty flatbreads “fatir” with an addition of lamb fat tail or butter. In addition, the greatest glory in the world deservedly went to the flatbreads “gala- osiyogi non” from Samarkand. They are baked from fermented whey or cream, adding chopped onion and sesame oil to the recipe. Samarkand flatbreads are famous for their unique taste and properties for a long time. This Samarkand flatbread should be usable for three months. For this, it was enough to sprinkle it well with water and warm it in a tandoor (clay oven, where the flatbreads are baked). In modern conditions, the restoration of the cake can be produced using a microwave or a conventional oven. 


Uzbek manti is another dish that cannot be ignored. Uzbek manti from tender dough with juice filling is eaten with hands, gently sipping rich bouillon. The most popular filling is meat, but there are other options that are no less interesting and certainly not less tasty, especially the pumpkin filling.

Among the sweets in honor: dried apricots, raisins, nuts, halva, parvarda, baklava and honey, and in the spring season, no table is complete without sumalak, delicious and healthy dishes made from sprouted wheat.


Navat – is a probably the most traditional sweetness in Uzbekistan. Crystallized sugar is served with tea as a caramel or a substitute for ordinary sugar. Moreover, people use navat with grape juice as cough drops; add it to green tea, which makes the drink an excellent remedy for colds.

Another typical sweetness of the region – parvarda – is caramel in the form of a light cushion, sprinkled with flour. The cooking process is quite time- consuming. Sometimes parvarda add herbs and spices, thus giving it medicinal properties.


Pashmak – sweet flour threads – you need to eat only fresh, so go to any market and make sure that the real pashmak is always tact in your mouth.


Another – interesting sweet thread – nishalda. In appearance, nishalda resembles a very thick cream; it consists of whipped egg whites, sugar syrup and herbal teas. The sweetness is prepared for the spring festival or the Holy month of Ramadan and is actively sold in the streets and bazaars. It is difficult to miss nishalda. As soon as you see the seller in white robe, stirring something like a thick cream in a huge tub, and then deftly laying out the food in bowls, you know, this is it - the spring nishalda.  

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables of Uzbekistan are one of the symbols of the country. In summer and autumn, you can buy them in the Russian markets as well, but it is much nicer and cheaper to try local juicy natural products in the place of their collection, in sunny Uzbekistan. The most delicious and healthy Uzbek fruits and vegetables is a pot-bellied eggplants, colorful peppers, rich tomato taste, sweet pear, multicolored grapes, spicy figs, full of plums, sugar melons and scarlet watermelons. Visiting bazaars, you will mainly find vegetables and fruits grown in Uzbekistan, as well as local hand-made products. In autumn, ripe persimmons fragrant quince, juicy pomegranates and sunny lemons appear in the markets. 

National drinks

In Uzbekistan, tea is not only a beautiful eastern tradition; it is almost a part of life, which is given a lot of time by every resident. Tea for the people of Uzbekistan is a sign of respect, and a reason for communication, and a friendly ritual. Any guest hosts always offer to relax from the road and drink a cup of this drink, pouring it before eating, and immediately after that the food is well absorbed. In the family circle pours tea is always the youngest of those at the dinner table. He is trusted to perform the ritual “kaytar’’, during which he pours a drink from the teapot into a cup and pours it back. These manipulations are repeated 3 times, it is believed that only then you can proceed directly to tea.

Finally, it should be noted that Uzbek national cuisine is full with Oriental traditions, which make every guest feel the exotic and unforgettable Oriental atmosphere. Nowadays the light colors and wonderful tastes of Oriental cuisine is becoming popular all around the world, because of its uniqueness. National and regional agencies and other public associations as “Muloqot” are playing significant role in showing to the world the real wonder of Orient.

Gularo Abdulloeva

UNESCO expert on Intangible Cultural Heritage