Cuisine of Kazakhstan
Kazakh national cuisine. Food of Kazakhstan
A guest is always given a special welcome and offered the place of honour.
He or she is first treated to kumys (fermented mare's milk), shubat (fermented camel's milk) or airan (fermented cow's milk), then to tea with milk or cream, baursaks (fried dough balls), raisins, irimshik (dried cheese balls), and kurt (dried cheese and whey).
Appetizers of horse or mutton meat follow (kazy, shuzhuk, zhal, zhaya, sur-yet, karta, kabyrga) always served with flat bread.
Kazakhs eat at a low table called a "dastarkhan" and the most popular dish has always been the national meat dish, "beshparmak" ("five fingers" because of the manner in which it is eaten).
It is made of large chunks of boiled meat, which the host cuts and serves to each guest according to their importance: the pelvic bones and shin to the elderly guests of honor, the brisket to the son or daughter-in-law, the cervical vertebra to girls and so on.
The highest ranking guest is served a sheep's head cooked in a special way and distributes it to other guests according to local tradition (old men, children, close and distant relatives).
The meat is eaten with a boiled pasta sheet and a meat broth called shorpa, usually served in traditional Kazakh bowls called "pialas". At the end of the meal kumys is served, then tea.
Today, around the dastarkhan gather Kazakhs, as well as many other nationalities: Russians, Tatars, Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Germans, Uigurs, Dungalts and Koreans.
These people who have lived peacefully with the Kazakhs have influenced their cuisine, everyday life and culture and adopted some Kazakh traditions.
Today's Kazakh cuisine includes traditional Kazakh dishes as well as Uzbek, Uigur, Russian, Tatar, and Korean dishes, which Kazakhs enjoy.
Today, the range of ingredients available locally has considerably widened and influenced the national cuisine accordingly.
Traditionally Kazakh cuisine was mostly based on meat and milkproducts. But more recently vegetables, fruits, fish, seafood, baked dishes and sweets have been added to the list of delights Kazakhs offer to their guests.