Kazakh Local Dishes

23rd April 2024

10 Mouthwatering Kazakh Local Dishes You Must Try (2023)

Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure as we dive into the tantalizing world of Kazakh local dishes.

From aromatic flavors to hearty delicacies, this blog post is your ultimate guide to experiencing the authentic taste of Kazakhstan.

From our last visit to this place, we learned that Kazakh cuisine is a delightful blend of rich traditions and flavors. With each dish telling a unique story, you’ll discover the warmth and hospitality of the Kazakh people through their delectable culinary creations.

From savory Plov to succulent Kuurdak, we’ll take you on a journey that will leave you craving for more. So, loosen your belts and join us in exploring the incredible world of Kazakh cuisine.

15 Kazakh Local Dishes

Here are some of the Kazakh local dishes;

1. Kurt

Kurt is a traditional Kazakh local dish that is popular for its unique taste and preparation method. It is a type of dried cheese made from fermented milk. The milk is first curdled and then pressed to remove the whey.

The resulting solid is then shaped into small balls or cylinders and dried in the sun or using other traditional methods. The drying process gives Kurt its distinct texture and flavor.

It has a tangy, salty taste with a slightly sour note. Kurt is often enjoyed as a snack or appetizer, and it is known for its long shelf life, making it a convenient and portable food option. Whether you’re exploring the bustling markets of Almaty or venturing into the countryside, trying Kurt is a must for a true taste of Kazakh cuisine.

2. Shubat

Shubat is a traditional Kazakh beverage that holds a significant place in the nomadic culture of the region. It is a fermented camel milk drink, known for its rich nutritional value and health benefits.

The process of making Shubat involves allowing fresh camel milk to ferment naturally, resulting in a tangy and slightly fizzy drink. It is often enjoyed chilled and has a unique flavor that is mildly sour with a hint of sweetness.

Shubat is not only a refreshing beverage in the arid climate of Kazakhstan but also provides essential nutrients and probiotics. For those looking to immerse themselves in the authentic tastes of Kazakh culture, sipping on a glass of Shubat is a memorable and enriching experience.

3. Kumis

Kumis is a traditional Kazakh beverage that holds a special place in the country’s culinary heritage. It is a fermented dairy drink made from mare’s milk. The process of making Kumis involves allowing fresh mare’s milk to ferment naturally, usually in special containers called “kumis basins.”

During the fermentation process, lactic acid is produced, giving Kumis its characteristic tangy flavor. This slightly effervescent beverage has a unique taste that is both sweet and sour.

Kumis is not only enjoyed for its refreshing properties but is also known for its potential health benefits. It is believed to aid digestion, boost the immune system, and provide a good source of vitamins and minerals.

When in Kazakhstan, don’t miss the opportunity to try this traditional drink and experience a taste of Kazakh nomadic culture.

4. Shalap

Shalap is a traditional Kazakh dish that showcases the rich flavors of the region. It is a hearty and comforting soup made with lamb, vegetables, and aromatic spices.

The preparation of Shalap involves slow-cooking tender pieces of lamb in a flavorful broth along with a variety of vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, and tomatoes. The addition of spices such as cumin, coriander, and paprika enhances the taste and aroma of the soup.

Shalap is a popular dish during the cold winter months when its warmth and nourishing qualities are particularly appreciated. Served piping hot, this flavorful soup is a delight to the senses and a perfect choice for those seeking a taste of traditional Kazakh cuisine.

5. Tandyr Nan

Tandyr Nan is a traditional Kazakh bread that is loved for its unique taste and texture. It is a type of flatbread that is baked in a special clay oven called a “tandyr.”

The dough for Tandyr Nan is made with flour, water, yeast, and a pinch of salt. It is then rolled out into thin rounds and carefully placed inside the hot tandyr, where it bakes to perfection. The result is a delicious bread with a crispy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior.

Tandyr Nan is often enjoyed alongside various dishes, used for scooping up stews and curries, or simply eaten on its own. The distinct flavor and aroma of this bread make it an integral part of Kazakh cuisine and a delightful addition to any meal.

6. Shelpek

Shelpek is a popular traditional Kazakh pastry that holds a special place in the hearts and palates of locals. These delightful golden-brown treats are typically prepared by combining flour, salt, yeast, and water to create a soft dough. The dough is then rolled out and cut into small, circular shapes before being deep-fried until they achieve a crispy texture.

Shelpek can be enjoyed in various ways. Some people prefer to savor them plain, appreciating the simplicity of their taste and texture. This is one of the best Kazakh Local Dishes.

Others may choose to accompany them with a dollop of butter, honey, or jam, adding a touch of sweetness or richness to the pastry. The versatility of shelpek allows it to be enjoyed as a snack, breakfast item, or even as a dessert.

This delightful pastry holds cultural significance and is often prepared during special occasions and festive celebrations in Kazakhstan. It embodies the warmth of Kazakh hospitality and the country’s culinary heritage.

It is not uncommon to find families and friends gathering together, enjoying freshly prepared shelpek while sharing stories and laughter.

7. Baursak

Baursak is another beloved traditional Kazakh dish that has stood the test of time. These golden-fried dough balls are a staple in Kazakh cuisine and are often served during special events and celebrations.

This is one of the best Kazakh Local Dishes.. The preparation of baursak involves combining flour, yeast, salt, and water to form a soft dough. The dough is then shaped into small balls, which are deep-fried until they turn into a beautiful golden color.

The beauty of baursak lies in its simplicity and versatility. It can be enjoyed as a standalone snack, paired with tea or coffee, or served alongside savory dishes. The texture of baursak is often described as soft and slightly chewy on the inside, with a crispy exterior.

This contrast in textures makes each bite a delightful experience. This is one of the best Kazakh Local Dishes.

Baursak holds cultural significance in Kazakh traditions and is often prepared with great care and attention to detail. It is a symbol of prosperity, abundance, and good fortune. During weddings and other festive occasions, baursak is offered to guests as a gesture of hospitality and goodwill. Sharing baursak with loved ones is a cherished tradition that brings people together, fostering a sense of unity and joy.

8. Manti

Manti is a beloved dumpling dish that has gained popularity not only in Kazakhstan but also in many other Central Asian countries. These delightful pockets of dough are typically filled with a mixture of minced meat, onions, herbs, and spices.

The filling is carefully wrapped in thinly rolled dough, resulting in beautiful, plump dumplings. Manti can be steamed or boiled and are often served with melted butter or a savory sauce.

Manti is a labor of love, often prepared during special occasions or family gatherings. The process of making manti involves meticulous handiwork, with each dumpling crafted with care.

It is not uncommon to see families coming together to create a production line, with each member taking on a specific role in the dumpling-making process. This is one of the best Kazakh Local Dishes.

The joy of manti lies not only in its delicious taste but also in the communal experience it offers. Gathering around a steaming plate of manti, sharing stories and laughter while enjoying the flavorful dumplings, creates a sense of togetherness and warmth. Manti is more than just a dish; it is a symbol of love, unity, and the rich culinary heritage of Kazakhstan.

9. Lagman

Lagman is a hearty and flavorful noodle dish that is widely enjoyed in Kazakhstan. This popular dish is a delightful fusion of influences from various cultures, resulting in a unique and satisfying culinary experience.

Lagman typically consists of hand-pulled noodles, stir-fried meat (often beef or lamb), and an assortment of vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, onions, and tomatoes. The dish is seasoned with a flavorful combination of herbs and spices, including cumin, garlic, and chili.

The art of preparing lagman lies in the hand-pulled noodles, which are made by skillfully stretching and twisting the dough until it forms long, thin strands.

This technique requires expertise and patience, resulting in noodles with a distinctive chewy texture that perfectly absorbs the flavors of the accompanying ingredients. This is one of the best Kazakh Local Dishes.

Lagman is a comfort food that warms both the body and soul. It is often enjoyed during colder months, providing a satisfying and nourishing meal.

The combination of tender meat, vibrant vegetables, and fragrant spices creates a delightful medley of flavors and textures. Whether enjoyed at home or in local eateries, lagman offers a taste of the rich culinary heritage of Kazakhstan.

10. Lagman Shurpa

Lagman Shurpa is a hearty soup that combines the flavors of lagman noodles with a nourishing broth. This dish is a popular choice among locals, particularly during colder seasons when a warm and comforting meal is craved.

Lagman Shurpa typically includes hand-pulled noodles, tender chunks of meat (such as lamb or beef), an assortment of vegetables, and a flavorful broth. This is one of the best Kazakh Local Dishes.

The preparation of Lagman Shurpa begins with the slow cooking of meat, allowing it to become tender and infuse the broth with its rich flavors. Vegetables such as carrots, onions, bell peppers, and potatoes are added, enhancing the soup’s nutritional value and adding a vibrant touch of color. Finally, hand-pulled noodles are added, providing a satisfying chewiness to each spoonful.

Lagman Shurpa is more than just a soup; it is a comforting and fulfilling meal. The combination of tender meat, vegetables, and flavorful broth creates a harmonious balance of taste and texture.

It is often enjoyed with a side of bread or accompanied by traditional condiments such as chili sauce or sour cream. Lagman Shurpa embodies the essence of Kazakh cuisine, offering a heartwarming and nourishing experience to those who indulge in it.

11. Plov

Plov, also known as pilaf, is a beloved traditional dish in Kazakh cuisine. It is a flavorful and aromatic rice dish cooked with tender pieces of meat, usually lamb or beef, and a blend of spices.

The dish is often accompanied by carrots, onions, and sometimes raisins or dried fruits, which add a touch of sweetness to the savory flavors.

What makes Plov truly special is the technique used to prepare it. The rice and meat are cooked together in a large pot, allowing the flavors to meld and the rice to absorb the rich essence of the meat and spices.

The result is a dish that is both hearty and satisfying, perfect for gatherings and special occasions. This is one of the best Kazakh Local Dishes.

12. Kuurdak

Kuurdak is a hearty and comforting dish that showcases the resourcefulness of Kazakh cuisine. It is traditionally made with leftover meat, such as lamb or beef, which is then sautéed with onions and potatoes.

The ingredients are cooked until they develop a beautiful golden color and a delicious caramelized flavor. This is one of the best Kazakh Local Dishes.

The dish is often seasoned with a combination of spices, including salt, black pepper, and sometimes cumin or paprika, to enhance the savory notes. The simplicity of the ingredients and the cooking process allows the natural flavors to shine through, resulting in a dish that is both delicious and satisfying.

13. Beshbarmak

Beshbarmak, which means “five fingers” in Kazakh, is a signature dish that holds a special place in the heart of Kazakh culture.

It is a celebration dish, often prepared for festive occasions and gatherings. Beshbarmak traditionally consists of boiled meat, usually lamb or beef, which is then served on a bed of flat noodles.

The dish is typically accompanied by a rich broth made from the cooking liquid of the meat, which adds depth and flavor to the dish.

Beshbarmak is usually enjoyed communally, with everyone using their hands to eat the tender meat and noodles. It is a symbol of togetherness and hospitality, reflecting the warm and welcoming nature of Kazakh traditions.

14. Kazy

Kazy is a traditional Kazakh sausage made from horse meat. It is a delicacy with a unique flavor profile and a rich cultural significance. The process of making kazy involves curing the meat with a blend of spices and allowing it to ferment for a specific period.

The resulting sausage is air-dried and can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. It is often thinly sliced and served as an appetizer or used as an ingredient in various dishes. Kazy has a distinct taste, slightly tangy and slightly gamey, which makes it a favorite among meat lovers who appreciate bold and adventurous flavors.

15. Zhaya

Zhaya is a traditional Kazakh dessert that combines the richness of cream with the sweetness of honey. It is a simple yet indulgent treat that is often enjoyed during special occasions and celebrations.

The dessert consists of layers of cream and honey, creating a smooth and creamy texture with a luscious sweetness.

The cream used in Zhaya is typically made from sheep’s milk, which adds a unique and slightly tangy flavor to the dessert. The honey used can vary, with different regions and households using their preferred type.

The combination of the creamy texture and the natural sweetness of honey makes Zhaya a delightful way to end a meal and satisfy a sweet tooth.

Conclusion – Kazakh Local Dishes

In conclusion, embarking on a culinary adventure through the tantalizing world of Kazakh local dishes is an absolute must for anyone seeking an authentic taste of Kazakhstan.

From the savory Plov and succulent Kuurdak to the aromatic flavors of traditional Kazakh bread and pastries, this rich and diverse cuisine showcases the complexity and depth of Kazakh culture.

Indulge in the hearty delicacies, savor the unique flavors, and immerse yourself in the warmth and hospitality of the Kazakh people through their delectable culinary creations. Don’t miss the chance to experience the rich traditions and flavors of Kazakh cuisine on your next journey.

FAQs – Kazakh Local Dishes

What are some popular Kazakh local dishes to try?

If you’re looking to explore the tantalizing world of Kazakh cuisine, make sure to try these popular local dishes: Kurt, a unique dried cheese with a tangy and salty taste; Shubat, a fermented camel milk drink known for its rich nutritional value; Kumis, a traditional fermented dairy drink made from mare’s milk; Shalap, a hearty lamb soup with aromatic spices; Tandyr Nan, a crispy flatbread baked in a clay oven; Shelpek, a delightful deep-fried pastry; and Baursak, golden-fried dough balls often served during special events.

What makes Kazakh local dishes special and unique?

Kazakh local dishes are special because they represent the rich culinary heritage of the region. The unique combination of flavors, spices, and preparation methods showcases the warmth and hospitality of the Kazakh people. From the diverse range of ingredients to the traditional cooking techniques passed down through generations, each dish tells a story and offers a delightful blend of tastes and textures that you won’t find anywhere else.

Are there any vegetarian options in Kazakh cuisine?

Yes, Kazakh cuisine offers some delicious vegetarian options. You can try dishes like Tandyr Nan, a crispy bread that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with various vegetarian accompaniments. Lagman, a flavorful noodle dish, can be made with vegetables and spices, omitting the meat. Additionally, you can explore the variety of salads and side dishes featuring fresh vegetables and herbs that are commonly served in Kazakh cuisine.

Which Kazakh local dish is a must-try for first-time visitors?

For first-time visitors, I highly recommend trying Plov, also known as pilaf. This beloved traditional dish combines fragrant rice, tender pieces of meat, and a blend of spices that create a flavorful and satisfying meal. It’s a true representation of Kazakh cuisine and offers a delightful introduction to the rich and diverse flavors of the region.

Can you recommend any street food options for a quick bite?

If you’re looking for a quick and tasty street food option in Kazakhstan, try Kurt. This dried cheese is often enjoyed as a snack or appetizer, offering a convenient and portable food choice. Another option is Shelpek, a popular pastry that can be enjoyed plain or with a dollop of butter, honey, or jam. These street food delights will satisfy your cravings while allowing you to experience the authentic flavors of Kazakh cuisine.

Are there any traditional Kazakh desserts worth trying?

One traditional Kazakh dessert you must try is Zhaya. This indulgent treat consists of layers of creamy sheep’s milk and sweet honey, creating a smooth and luscious dessert that perfectly balances richness and sweetness. It’s a delightful way to end a meal and experience the unique flavors of Kazakh desserts.

How can I experience the true taste of Kazakh cuisine while visiting?

To experience the true taste of Kazakh cuisine, I recommend exploring local markets and traditional eateries where you can find authentic dishes prepared by skilled cooks. Engage with the locals, ask for their recommendations, and be open to trying new flavors and ingredients. Immerse yourself in the culinary culture by attending food festivals or cooking classes, where you can learn the traditional techniques and secrets behind Kazakh dishes. By embracing the local food scene, you’ll get a genuine taste of Kazakh cuisine and create unforgettable culinary memories.
  1. The Ultimate Baikonur Cosmodrome Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  2. Best Honeymoon Destinations In Kazakhstan: 7 Idyllic Retreats For Newlyweds (2023)
  3. The Ultimate Shymbulak Ski Resort Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  4. 12 Unforgettable Kazakhstan Family Friendly Activities: Fun For All Ages (2023)
  5. The Ultimate Singing Dunes Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  6. 12 Best Shopping Malls In Almaty: Ultimate Shopping Destinations (2023)
  7. 11 Best Family-Friendly Attractions In Almaty (2023)
  8. Unveiling Best Time To Visit Kazakhstan: A Month-By-Month Weather Breakdown (2023)
  9. 10 Best Kazakhstan Traditions And Culture You Need To Know Before You Go!
  10. 17 Best Cafes In Almaty: Unleash Your Taste Buds!
  11. 15 Best Offbeat Kazakh Locations: Know It All (2023)
  12. Discover 15 Best Family Destinations In Kazakhstan: Create Lifelong Memories (2023)
  13. The Ultimate Kok Tobe Hill Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  14. 10 Best Things To Do In Kazakhstan
  15. The Ultimate Aktau Mountains Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  16. Best Time To Visit Almaty: A Month-By-Month Weather Breakdown (2023)
  17. 10 Best Kazakhstan Traditions And Culture You Need To Know Before You Go!
  18. The Ultimate Almaty Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  19. 10 Best Street Foods In Almaty That You Should Definitely Try
  20. Best Things To Do In Astana
  21. 10 Best Kazakhstan Traditions And Culture You Need To Know Before You Go!
  22. 15 Best Things To Buy In Almaty: Ultimate Shopping Guide (2023)
  23. 11 Best Nightlife Spots In Almaty: Experience Electric Nights (2023)
  24. 10 Best Things To Buy In Astana: Shopping Paradise
  25. 12 Breathtaking Instagram-Worthy Spots In Almaty (2023)
  26. 12 Things To Know Before Visiting Almaty: Plan Your Perfect Trip
  27. 15 Best Restaurants In Astana: A Culinary Journey
  28. 10 Best Historical Sites in Astana
  29. Discover 10 Best Area to Stay in Astana
  30. 16 Best Cafes in Astana: Your Ultimate Coffee Guide
  31. 10 Best Things To Buy In Astana: Shopping Paradise
  32. The Ultimate Green Bazaar Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  33. 10 Things to Avoid in Astana – Your Must-Know Guide
  34. 20 Things To Avoid In Almaty For A Safe Trip (2023)
  35. Best Time To Visit Astana: A Month-By-Month Weather Breakdown (2023)
  36. 10 Incredible Reasons To Visit Astana That You Should Definitely Know
  37. The Ultimate Big Almaty Lake Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  38. 12 Best Historical Sites In Almaty (2023)
  39. 8 Best Architectural Marvels In Almaty You Shouldn’t Miss!
  40. 13 Best Hiking Trails Near Almaty: Uncover Spectacular Hikes (2023)
  41. 9 Best Indian Restaurants In Almaty You Need To Visit (2023)
  42. 10 Best Street Foods In Astana That You Can’t Miss
  43. 10 Things to Avoid in Astana – Your Must-Know Guide
  44. 11 Best Instagram-Worthy Spots In Astana, Kazakhstan (2023)
  45. The Ultimate Charyn Canyon Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  46. 10 Best Things To Know Before Visiting Astana
  47. 7 Best Architectural Marvels in Astana : Get Amazed
  48. 10 Best Kazakhstan Souvenirs: Uncover The Hidden Gems! (2023)
  49. 10 Irresistible Reasons To Visit Almaty: Discover The Jewel Of Kazakhstan
  50. The Ultimate Almaty Central Park Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things To Do, How To Reach (2023)
  51. 10 Best Things to Know Before Visiting Astana
  52. 12 Best Shopping Malls In Almaty: Ultimate Shopping Destinations (2023)
  53. 11 Best Nightlife Spots In Almaty: Experience Electric Nights (2023)
  54. 6 Best Indian Restaurants In Astana, Kazakhstan For All Foodies (2023)
  55. 15 Best Restaurants In Astana: A Culinary Journey
  56. 10 Mouthwatering Kazakh Local Dishes You Must Try (2023)
  57. 12 Best Shopping Malls In Almaty: Ultimate Shopping Destinations (2023)
  58. 10 Best Things To Buy In Kazakhstan
  59. 15 Best Things To Buy In Almaty: Ultimate Shopping Guide (2023)

Check out our other trips