1. Lagman Soup
Something of a Central Asian version of ramen, this is a spicy, meaty broth filled with chunks of lamb, handspun noodles, and vegetables. It also comes in a non-soup version.
2. Eggplant Salad (Bademjan)
In Uzbek tradition, a meal usually starts off with some sort of salad appetizer, like this dish that combines freshly sliced eggplant, radishes and peppers on a bed of greens sprinkled with a garnish of parsley. Needless to say, most Uzbek dishes are meant to be shared family-style.
3. Chuchvara Soup
A soup in which small dumplings are boiled in salt water or bouillon and served with sour milk (“suzma”) and seasoned with pepper, onion, tomato paste, black pepper, and sour cream.
4. Wedding Pilaf (Plov)
A delightful mixture of rice, bits of meat, grated carrots and onions, and raisins (with a clove of roasted garlic on top). The “wedding” part refers to the fact that it’s easy to cook in large quantities (traditionally in a kazan over an open fire) and is often served on special occasions, like weddings.
5. Tashkent Salad
Named after the capital, this trademark salad is made from boiled beef tongue, radishes, and fresh greens generously coated in a special yogurt dressing and topped with crispy fried onions.
Steamed dumplings sprinkled with dill and served with sour cream. Meat, spices, or vegetables can make up the stuffing, so you never know what you’re going to get!
A triangular dough pastry that’s baked in a tandoor oven so that the bread is somehow both crunchy and super-soft. Like manty, they can be filled with a variety of things, including ground lamb, herbs, and, the most interesting traditional option, pumpkin.
8. Achichuk Salad
Uzbek cuisine doesn’t offer much for the diehard vegetarian, but this dish made up of thinly sliced tomatoes and onions seasoned with spices offers a light, healthy, but still flavorful option.
An oriental merchant favorite, the dish is composed of hand-spun noodles and boiled jerk meat, served with minced onions and black pepper. Traditionally, it is made with horse-meat.
A soup made out of fatty meat (usually mutton) and fresh garden vegetables like tomato, carrot, and slices onions. There are two version: Kaytnama (made from fresh meat) and Kovurma (made from fried meat).
A hearty stew made of meat, potatoes, onions, vegetables and sometimes fruit. And of course spices. And dill. Always dill.
Uzbek cuisine is famous for its fluffy flatbread, and these are deep-fried and served with either meat or vegetables inside.
13. Kebab (Shaslik)
Chunks of lamb, chicken, or lyulya (a mix of mutton and spices) served on steel skewers and topped with more slices of raw onion than you ever thought you’d encounter. It’s often served with Adjika- a bright red, spicy sauce made from hot red peppers.
14. Exotic Fruit Platter
Not technically a “dish” but you’ll find that patrons of Uzbek restaurants typically end their meal with a platter of “exotic fruit” (usually slices of watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapes), or “compote” (a juice made from fresh or dried fruit).
There aren’t many national desserts to choose from, but if you have a sweet tooth you can also try this Uzbek version of halvah, a flour-based confection which has a creamy nut flavor.
16. Tea and Sweets
It’s imperative to try Uzbek tea, which comes in a wide assortment of green, black, and herbal varieties, and is served with ceremonious care. You can also try a Bukharian Jew specialty called Chai Kaymoki - green tea mixed with milk and butter and sprinkled with almonds.