Our New Year’s feast and the national dish

The New Year is a big and joyous multi-day celebration where gifts are exchanged and all indulge in traditional food, wine and of course, vodka. Aside from the various main dishes, a Kazakh table is always full with an array of salads, breads, fruits, honey and candy.

Beshbarmak, consisting of boiled meat (usually horse, lamb or occasionally yak) and noodles, is the national dish. The literal translation means “five fingers” because the dish is often eaten with one’s hands.

Beshbarmak is commonly served at social gatherings, but always at special occasions (for example when honoring guests and weddings). The Beshbarmak pictured here was served as part of our New Year’s dinner.

To be honest, it’s not my personal favorite. The local foods I prefer are plov (rice pilaf), monti (steamed dumplings), and samsa (baked dumplings in a tandoor oven).

Stay tuned for more on all these traditional foods!


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