Traditional Food in Kyrgyzstan

Featured, Traditional Food of Kyrgyzstan, Survive Travel

The traditional food in Kyrgyzstan is not what I expected. There is a lot of bread and meat.

And whilst most food of Kyrgyzstan was delicious, I couldn’t quite get used to the fermented products they seem to enjoy as snacks. It was rich for my palette, but I’m glad I gave it a go.

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Traditional Food in Kyrgyzstan


Plov is carrot, onion, and meat mixed with a flavored rice.

It originates from Uzbekistan but is common throughout the former Soviet Republics.

Besh Barmak

Beshbarmak means “five fingers” which refers to the fact the nomads ate this with their hands.

It is a noodle dish with meat and onion sauce.

It is common to eat besh barmak to have a mutton broth with it.


This first item is technically not Kyrgyzstan food, but it goes in one end and comes out the other, so it counts!

Koumiss is fermented mare’s milk. I suggest buying a small one to try before diving in. It sells for about 10coms (pronounced soms) on the street, depending on the size of your cup.

From what I gathered from a ‘conversation’ with my non-existent Russian and a local teenagers non-existent English, it has alcohol in it. But it can’t be that much because they sell it to anyone, and you can even buy it in manufactured bottles in supermarkets. The locals love it… and even the kids guzzle this stuff down!

There are other similar fermented drinks. Kvass (rye bread), shubat (camel’s milk), bozo (millet) and jarma (barely).

There are also stands that sell iced tea which is very nice on a hot day.

Must Try Foods of Kyrgyzstan, Asia. Fermented Drink

Some fermented drink. Tangy, sour, may contain alcohol.


This was one of my favorite dishes of Kyrgyzstan cuisine.

Many people have heard of Goulash, and I’m not sure if this is the same dish, but I liked it.

It’s rice, pasta, meat, and vegetables. A good all-round meal.

Goulash. Must Try Foods of Kyrgyzstan, Asia


I saw lots of kids nibbling on these things, so I thought they would be sweet. How wrong I was. It’s more like strong cheese.

We bought some at the market. They cost 10coms for a small bag. They come in a variety of sizes, colors and flavors (including chili).

Cheese ball. Must Try Foods of Kyrgyzstan, Asia

Best described as a strong cheese ball.


There are lots of different pastries with various price ranges depending on the size and filling, but they are all the same idea.

Think puff pastry with a meat, potato, vegetable filling, or perhaps something sweet inside. They are the Kyrgyzstan version of an Indian Samosa, and are a good cheap snack.

These were about 10coms each.

Pastries. Must Try Foods of Kyrgyzstan, Asia

There’s lots of different pastries, but most of them are the same. Samosas.


For those of you familiar with Chinese food, I would best describe Manty as a bigger version of Xiao Leng Bao, but with a tomato flavor.

For those of you not familiar, think of you standard steamed dumpling, bigger and with a different shape and tomato flavor.

It is not a Kyrgyzstan vegetarian food. There is meat inside.


This Kyrgyzstan traditional food is a steamed pie.

Oromo is a thin rolled dough of flour, water, and salt. They fill is with meat and/or vegetable, roll it up, and steam it.


Laghman are very similar to Chinese La Mian 拉面 (pulled noodles). Even the phonetic name is almost the same. The difference is that laghman has a tomato-based sauce.

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I would best describe Kyrgyzstan national food as a mix of Chinese with Middle Eastern food, which is not surprising considering the geographical location.

The fermented products take getting used to and there is a lot of meat and bread. Still, the food of Kyrgyzstan is delicious.

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