Central Asia is no place for foodies and Uzbekistan is no exception. You won't have any problem finding food, but the range is limited and there is a tendency towards blandness. Vegetarians will likely order most of their food from the salad menu, which often lists 20 different types of cold dishes.

Restaurants are split between traditional-style chaikhanas, smarter restaurants in tourist cities and fast-food places in smaller towns.

Local Specialities

Plov, a Central Asian pilaf consisting of rice and fried vegetables, is the national staple and every region prepares its own distinct version.

Every region also has its own variation of non (nan bread); the raised rim of Kokand’s speciality makes it a particularly fine shashlyk plate, while Samarkand’s non resembles a giant bagel without the hole.

Regional staples such as laghman (long, flat noodles), beshbarmak (noodles with horse meat and broth), halim (porridge of boiled meat and wheat) and naryn (horse meat sausage with cold noodles) are all popular. Moshkichiri and moshhurda are meat and mung-bean gruels, respectively. Dimlama is a ragout of meat, potatoes, onions and vegetables braised slowly; the meatless version is sabzavotli dimlama. Buglama kovok (steamed pumpkin) is a light treat.

Uzbeks love their ubiquitous kurut (small balls of tart, dried yoghurt) and their noz (finely crushed chewing tobacco). Somsa (puff pastry stuffed with lamb meat and onion) are also ubiquitous but vary greatly; the good ones are a great snack, but most are full of fat and smell of the Soviet Union.