DINNER IS SERVED


What they eat in Tashkent: a weekly report

What they eat in Tashkent: a weekly report


Oriental hospitality is one of the features of Uzbekistan. Here they like to treat to good food and they show discrimination in food. Despite the variety of the Uzbek cuisine, it is a mistake to think that people have pilaf and lagman all days here. Different cafes, restaurants, eateries and bistros offer different dishes at various prices.

Monday


©Darina Solod
Bistros appeared in the capital a long time ago, and from two to four o’clock in the afternoon these are the busiest places in the city. I have had my first lunch in the new European bistro, which opened opposite the local branch of the Westminster University. The cost of two dishes, salad and bread was 23 000 sums, which is equal to 230-235 Russian rubles.

I had a small portion of tasty beef pelmenis with strange bouillon, more reminding of water with greens, and sour cream, a chicken cutlet, which turned out to be somewhat dry, with rice and vegetables as a side dish. I do not know how rice and vegetables may get spoiled but the guys managed to do that. The bread baked in the restaurant’s own bakery and the salad we called a hangover salad because of its ingredients were OK. In general, the food was good but it could have been tastier. My final word is the food was not like home food.

Tuesday


©Darina Solod
On Tuesday, we went to an ethnic restaurant, which are so numerous in Tashkent. They are called Milliy Taomlari, which means “Ethnic Food”. This lunch was twice as cheap as the Monday meal. But this is so only because I skipped soup, because manty (large meat dumplings), which we ate, are very nutritious. Actually, Uzbek dishes are cooked very well almost everywhere, so, I had no complaints about them. A portion of four manty, salad and tea cost me 11,000 sums — approximately 100-110 rubles. Kefir, or kaimak, which serves as dressing, is usually included into the cost of the dish.

Wednesday


©Darina Solod
Wednesday turned out to be the day when I had no time to dine out. So, I had to eat in the office. My lunch was rather inexpensive and healthy, as I had brought it from home. It was a diet chicken soup, which cost about 3,000–4,000 sums (30–40 rubles), and a Chocopie dessert. Taking lunches from home is an excellent option, which allows saving money and the stomach, as it is always tastier and cheaper than buying restaurant food. The main thing is for the work conditions to allow heating up and eating this food.

Thursday


©Darina Solod
On Thursday, I had lunch with my girlfriends. We went to a relatively new and rather expensive place — Burger & Lounge Bar. The bar is known for its steaks and burgers, as well as for the music played at the background — quiet lounge and chill-out. That was my most expensive lunch of the week — 19,000 sums for the burger (190 rubles), 7,000 sums for French fries (70 rubles), 18,000 sums for the salad (180 rubles) and 6,500 sums for the ginger tea (65 rubles).

The burger is rather nutritious and is totally different from our common street fast food — the minced meat is fried differently, it is made of bon-filet, and cheese sauce specially made by the cooks is served to go with the burger instead of ketchup and mayo. I did not like the ‘countryside” salad made of chicken breast, champignons, and cucumbers — the chicken breast was not cooked on the spot, the mushrooms had no taste, and the taste of the cucumbers was dominant. Not every Tashkent resident can afford to have lunch at such a place but both the bar and its cuisine were worth the money spent.

Friday


©Darina Solod
Friday brought home food again. This time, it was pilaf prepared by my girlfriend’s parents (it is difficult to calculate the cost of a portion but it is definitely less than 6,000 sums, or less than 60 rubles). A home pilaf is different from that sold in the streets, at least because it is cooked on the stove. Yet, it is delicious, as well. Tomatoes are common vegetables eaten together with pilaf. As a rule, the achik-chuchuk salad is served, made of onions and tomatoes, but I was lazy to prepare it. Besides, tomatoes in Tashkent as tasty as they are.

I spent about 900 rubles on five lunches. However, I could have spent a much larger or smaller sum for the same set of dishes. On average, office workers, unless they take food from home, pay about 150–200 rubles per day for their lunch, or they eat out or order food delivery to their office. Otherwise they eat home food. The conclusion: in Tashkent eating out is cheap, and one can afford to eat out in different places on different days and taste different cuisines.
© Darina Solod

Darina Solod

I live in Tashkent and I am 26. I work as an Editor-in-Chief for “Voice of Tashkent”. I love to read and to communicate to people.

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