Personalized travel guide tohidden places of Uzbekistan.
If you come to Uzbekistan and you don’t have time to travel to Bukhara, Samarkand, Margilan, Fergana, do not worry - Tashkent has many surprises in store for you.
UT correspondents prepared a series of articles about the hidden places of our country, avoiding cliches and familiar locations, they will help you discover Uzbekistan, the way you never knew it before.
First stop - Tashkent.
Unusual cuisine and much more.
East is not East, if the night is without a moon.
Uzbek plov is not plov, if it is without zira.
As the joke goes, Uzbeks put zira in everything, even borscht. Spicying the food is one of the oldest culinary traditions of the East. There are thousands of traditions and each region has its own recipe for plov. Tashkent plov is different to Samarkand or Bukhara or Andijan plov. Strangers do not understand all the intricacies of Uzbek cuisine, and for the Uzbek, cuisine is more than just great food, it is an art!
Eating in Uzbekistan involves many rituals. Uzbeks love food and all of them know how to cook at least one or two traditional dishes. Oshxona.uz is a popular food blog and a restaurant network in Tashkent, where you can find out more about different recipes. We advise tourists to visit the kitchens of Bahriddin Chust, the founder of Oshxona.uz, in Tashkent, Chust, and now in Namangan.
Bahriddin Chust, the founder of Chustiy`s Cuisine, and Tez Food, always has new and exciting ideas. He won the hearts of many foodies of Uzbekistan with his innovative approach. As a young boy from the village of Chust in Namangan region,he once dreamed of becoming a football player. He did not expect to become a chef.
“Initially, my mom taught me cooking,” - says Bahriddin – “but back then the process of cooking was not very intersting to me. I do not even remember when I started to cook, but I remember very well that I messed up my first plov.”
Today Bahriddin is an expert on national food and he shared with us his knowledge on forgotten and rare recipes, that he is in process of discovering and popularizing. Each dish has its own unique approach. Each recipe is rooted in history. Take, for example, the usual holvaytar - the well-known delicacy, which is based on meal sugar and water. If you've ever been in Andijan, you know that holvaytar there is transparent and is served in a bowl. In Tashkent and in the valley it is prepared as follows: the flour is roasted until it turns golden rosy, and then syrup (water and sugar or honey) is poured on top, then the mix is stirred until fully cooked. How is it cooked in Bukhara? The process there is the opposite: initially the sugar is caramelized until it’s coffee-brown, then the flour mixture with water is added. As a result, Tashkent and Ferghana holvaytar gives a taste of fried flour, and Bukhara holvaytar tastes as a favorite childhood toffee.And it smells like sweet caramel. You can find a true Bukhara holvaytar on Chustiy`s menu. And the restaurant will serve it to you very elegantly, like a true Italian cheesecake. Regular guests call holvaytar the Uzbekcake or Chustiy`s cake.
Glorious Chust city is famous for its sharp knives and beautiful tyubeteykas. There, the women sew the most beautiful national headgear and you will not find better ones in the whole of Uzbekistan.
“I remember how my grandmother sewed tyubeteykas and on Sunday went to the bazaar to sell them. On the way back she always brought goodies for the kids: kurt, lollipops and homemade cheese - pishlok. I still remember the taste of that cheese, it is the taste of my childhood. For a long time I could not find the recipe. And the year before, I went to the village where the cheese is produced in order to learn. Now I am thinking about delivering it into production, but I am not sure yet. It is fascinating, that there are a lot of unusual dishes and forgotten recipes in Uzbekistan,” says Chust. “For example, did you know that kazan-kabob in Namangan is a soup?” Have you tried fish cooked in a tandoor? Non made with juice of fresh tomatoes? Secretly, Bahriddin admitted that he is soon going on a search for ancient recipes in all mahallas of the country, exploring every little corner of the tea-house. If all goes well, it is planned to create a travel food TV show.
Generally, Chustiy has a lot of creative ideas. His Tez Food enterprise made a lot of buzz in the media and was met with enthusiasm. “Tez” means fast in translation from Uzbek, therefore “Tez Food” is an Uzbek version of “Fast Food”. It is interesting and delicious! Only a true Uzbek could make a burger from kazy, wrap chicken kebab in pita bread and put noreen in a box, with the broth in a plastic cup. The idea is absolutely brilliant!
The names of the newly invented Tez Food dishes are hilariously creative, one can try the special "Kaynona tili" (Mother-in-low’s tongue) - a burger with meat on the coals , seasoned with spicy sauce, "Kelin tili" (Wive’s tongue) - roll with tender chicken. Just like in the native Uzbek neighborhoods. Our national cuisine is the best in region. Bahriddin is convinced that Tez Food is what will help Uzbek cuisine to not lose its relevance and occupy top positions in the charts.
The author of the project has three dreams: the first is to publish a cookbook, the second is to enter Uzbek plov in the Guinness Book of Records and the third is to create a "House of the Uzbek cuisine". House of Uzbek cuisine is a huge-scale project that will include a museum, a school and a restaurant. “This is of course a dream, - modestly says Chust, - but I would really like to leave behind something that will benefit the people."