Kazakhstan...a country made famous from the Borat movies. Although, there are donkeys running around in some places, Kazakhstan is actually a fast-paced developing country with rich history and unique culture with even more unique Kazakh food. 

A little history lesson about Kazakhstan: It is the 9th largest country in the world by territory, but only has a little over 17 million people. Native Kazakhs are a mix of Turkic and Mongol tribes, however, in 1936 Kazakhstan became a Soviet Republic. This mixture of cultures and traditions made Kazakhstan a diverse country, where different nations share the same, newly created traditions, with food being the most diverse topic.

Since Kazakhs always had a nomadic culture, their diet is highly based on meat consumption. So, if you're a vegetarian and decide to visit Kazakhstan be wary, even if it doesn't have meat, it was probably cooked using meat stock. Kazakh food is based on everything the Earth has made: fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, and animal milk.

I was born and raised in Kazakhstan and even though my parents aren't Kazakh, I was exposed to a lot of traditional cuisines. I remember trying horse meat for the first time...I definitely had the same face you have right now, I did not understand how can you eat such beautiful creature. Later, my friend told me that a horse is, "a best friend, transportation, and source of food," which makes sense when your tribe constantly moves. 

In the modern Kazakhstan not a lot has changed. We still eat horse meat and drink camel milk, but we also adopted a lot of Russian, European, and Asian cuisine, adding our own twist to it.

Let's start with breakfast. Breakfast is considered a very intimate time that should be only shared with close family. So the food is really simple and basic; the main dish at the table is conversation.


This is an interesting one because baursaki is simply fried dough. Imagine an unsweetened doughnut, that's exactly what baursaki taste like. They are definitely not what we call "light breakfast" especially seeing as they are drenched in oil. 


Milana Yemelyanova

Porridge is a common choice for breakfast no matter where you live. Kazakhs' new addiction is making oven-baked porridge, with mangoes, strawberries, and blueberries.


This might be an obvious one, but Kazakhs love their tea, especially black with milk. There are also variations of Kazakh Tea and some recipes have more than 20 ingredients. Kazakhs drink tea at any point in time; they drink it like its water. Some even say, "a day without tea was not lived to its fullest," and I can definitely agree with that.

For dinner, modern Kazakhs choose lighter foods like soups. Traditionally, people don't sit down for dinner until later in the evening (around 8-9PM), so Kazakhs avoid eating food that contains a lot of fats and grease.


Milana Yemelyanova

Since Kazakh's eat soup almost every day, they came up with a huge variety of different recipes with the most popular being made from lamb. Some soups are as simple as boiled lamb and carrot with added spices.


Milana Yemelyanova

Manti are steamed dumplings with lamb and/or pumpkin. After eating a lot of fried and greasy food for lunch, manti are the best way to balance out a diet. Sometimes they are served with sour cream or tomato sauce, but I like them plain since they are already juicy enough for me.

And finally it's LUNCH TIME! People in Kazakhstan are very hospitable. If there's a guest in your house, he/she is the most important person in that space at the moment. So, when it comes to feeding the guest, Kazakhs bring their best cuisine and because they also love themselves, they just eat fancy lunches everyday.

Meat! Lot's of Meat!

Milana Yemelyanova

Cow, lamb, and horse meat are the most popular dishes at any table; Kazakhs admire meat. Despite the socioeconomic status, every Kazakh meal contains meat. It can be boiled, grilled, fried, oven-baked, anything you can think of, Kazakhs have probably already done it with their meat.  


My personal favorite out of the whole list because there are so many variations of it that you will never get tired, even if you eat Lagman every single day. It can be a soup or an entree, or both, it all depends on what recipe you're using, however, each dish will contain meet, fresh noodles, carrots, and potatoes. Lagman originally came from Uzbekistan, but Kazakhs adopted that dish a long time ago so it feels like it was always a part of Kazakh culture.   


Milana Yemelyanova

The most traditional, recognizable, and popular dish in the whole Kazakhstan in beshbarmak, which in translation from Kazakh means "five fingers" since traditionally you are supposed to eat it using your hands. Modern versions of this dish usually substitute horse with any other meat, but the original recipe calls for kazy.

Last but not least, desserts! People in Kazakhstan don't have a long list of traditional desserts. We eat cakes and cupcakes, ice cream, cookies, and cheesecakes, but we do have one modern dessert and one very traditional snack that many people have either heard of or tried once.

Sweet Pizza

Milana Yemelyanova

Pineapples don't go on pizza you say? Well, how about raspberries and Pop-Rocks? Sound a little weird, but this is one of the best combinations I've ever tried. Sweet and sour, cheesy (don't worry it's Mascarpone) with sudden pops.    


I am not going to lie, I've never tried Kurt before. It's made from dried, salty cheese and I don't find any of these 3 words appetizing. Kazakhs used to eat kurt during the winter when there was shortage of milk, plus its rich in protein. They say you should try it at least once and I've never had the strength to actually do it.  

Kazakhstan has a lot to offer: amazing views, exotic mix of cultures, and the weirdest but delicious food options. Trying new cuisine is always full of adventures and once you've found that one dish that you like from every culture, you cannot stop thinking about it and the roller-coaster of emotions you had when you first tried it.