There are many stories told about Uzbek cuisine and any gourmet worth their salt should try it. The king of the local cuisine is the rice dish called pilaf, where you might as well start. The city will provide many opportunities for this, whether at the so-called Pilaf Centre, close to the TV Tower, or any restaurant or café that takes your fancy. Pilaf is available everywhere and every region has a different way of cooking it, so thorough research would need an extensive tour of the country. However, ‘Tashkent’s festive’ pilaf is considered the best in the capital and should definitely be tasted, as well as shurpa, a clear golden soup, crispy samsa pastries, just out of the tandoor, a shashlyk that is very different to the Caucasian version, naryn with fine cut noodles, lagman, halvaitar… These names will be familiar to those who love oriental cuisine, and beginners should be pleasantly surprised. There is a proverb that goes ‘When in Tashkent act as a resident’, which means never reject hot tea, especially the green one that you will be offered everywhere. It will help you digest the abundance of hearty, fatty food and keep you healthy.
Alcoholic beverages are not widely available in Uzbekistan, they are sold in