The Uzbek cuisine is a mix of Central Asian, Middle Eastern, and Russian influences, and it reflects the country's long history as a crossroads of the Silk Road trading route. The cuisine is known for its rich and hearty dishes that are typically served in large portions, often featuring meat as the main ingredient. Here are some of the most popular dishes and ingredients in Uzbekistan:
Plov: This is the national dish of Uzbekistan and is a hearty rice dish cooked with meat, onions, carrots, and spices such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric.
Shashlik: This is a popular grilled meat dish, typically made with lamb or beef and served with vegetables and bread.
Lagman: This is a noodle soup dish that is often made with lamb or beef, vegetables, and herbs.
Samsa: This is a pastry filled with meat, potatoes, and onions, similar to an empanada or a samosa.
Manty: This is a steamed dumpling filled with meat and vegetables.
Bread: Uzbekistan is known for its delicious bread, which is typically round and cooked in a clay oven. The bread is often served with butter, cheese, or other toppings.
Yogurt: Yogurt is a common ingredient in Uzbek cuisine, and is often used as a condiment or served as a side dish.
Tea: Tea is the national drink of Uzbekistan, and is typically served with sugar and sometimes with various herbs and spices.
Fruits and vegetables: Uzbekistan has a rich variety of fruits and vegetables, including melons, grapes, apricots, pomegranates, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. These are often used in salads, side dishes, or served as snacks.
Every guest takes his turn as toast master. The toast master stands up, his glass of vodka in hand and delivers a short speech, which ideally includes the following elements: thank you, praise to the host, something witty, best wishes to all for health and prosperity. Then everybody clink their glasses in the center of the table and drink (you may be expected to not leave anything in your glass). When invited to a banquet it is advisable to rapidly lay a strong foundation of bread and cheese since the first toast will be spoken within minutes.