Where to eat in Bishkek and Traditional Food of Kyrgyzstan

In Kyrgyzstan, our national cuisine is a reflection of our Central Asian heritage, and it primarily revolves around hearty and savory dishes. One of the distinguishing features of Kyrgyz cuisine is the prominent role of meat. We take great pride in our meat-based dishes, which often feature lamb, horse, and beef as the primary protein sources.

National Kyrgyz cuisine that you must try in Kyrgyzstan.
Beshbarmak is a unique dish that not only boasts an amazing taste but also symbolizes the rich culture and history of the Kyrgyz people. It is prepared from homemade noodles and succulent meat, primarily using horse meat.
The name "beshbarmak" translates to "five fingers," and this is not by chance! The main rule of enjoying beshbarmak is to eat it with your hands. That's why each serving of this dish is a true journey through the cultural traditions and rituals of the Kyrgyz people.
Kuurdak is a traditional and ancient dish in Kyrgyz cuisine that enjoys popularity in the region. It consists of fried pieces of meat, typically lamb, mutton, beef, or horse meat, which acquire a rich flavor after being fried in oil. Kuurdak also includes onions, adding aroma and additional flavor to the dish.
One of the interesting aspects of Kuurdak in Kyrgyzstan is its preparation with the addition of potatoes. Potato chunks are fried together with the meat and onions, giving the dish a more hearty and satisfying character.
Kuurdak is also found in Kazakh, Turkmen, and Uzbek cuisines, but each of these cultures may add their unique twist to the preparation of this dish. All of this makes Kuurdak an intriguing culinary experience for travelers who wish to get acquainted with the local culture through its cuisine.
Boorsok is a traditional pastry of the people of Central Asia. Boorsok is a must-have treat in every Kyrgyz family. Boorsoks are served with tea, before meals, with kumis (fermented horse milk), as appetizers, or with shorpo (soup). Slices of rolled dough are fried in oil for 20-30 seconds, then transferred from the cauldron to a sieve or colander to drain the excess oil properly. This traditional "decoration" of the table is because boorsoks are displayed on the dastorkon (tablecloth) during every major celebration.
Kattama is a delightful layered flatbread, and its preparation is not as complicated as it may seem. It has a crispy exterior and a soft, juicy interior. The finished flatbreads fill the room with the aroma of butter and literally melt in your mouth. Try making kattama, and you will find that it's the perfect snack or treat that's hard to beat.
Central asian food that local people like to eat
Lagman is a Central Asian dish that boasts a unique flavor and is one of the popular dishes in the region. This dish can be described as something in between noodles with a sauce and soup, and it has its own distinctive features.
The foundation of lagman is the long, flat noodles, often handmade and with a history spanning hundreds of years. These noodles provide the dish with its texture and unique taste. Next, the noodles are served with a generous sauce that includes various ingredients, such as meat (usually lamb or beef), vegetables (carrots, onions, peppers), spices, and various sauces. This creates a rich and aromatic sauce that complements the noodles and gives the dish its distinctive flavor.
Lagman is often served in large bowls or deep plates, and it can be eaten with a fork, spoon, or traditionally, with chopsticks. This dish represents the perfect combination of flavors and textures and can vary depending on the recipe and regional preferences.
Lagman is an integral part of Central Asian cuisine, embodying the richness and diversity of the culture of the region through its unique taste and preparation traditions.

Manty, also spelled "manti," are delightful and popular dumplings in Kyrgyzstan, as well as in several other Central Asian countries. These dumplings, similar in some ways to dumplings found in other cultures, have a unique Kyrgyz twist. Manty are a beloved dish, often enjoyed at family gatherings, special occasions, or as a street food snack.


Manty consist of a simple yet delicious combination of ingredients. The traditional manty filling typically includes ground meat, such as beef or lamb, mixed with minced onions and various seasonings. The meat is often seasoned with spices like black pepper, cumin, and paprika to give it a rich and flavorful taste. Some regional variations may also include garlic or other spices.

Plov, also spelled as "pilaf," is a popular and iconic dish in Kyrgyzstan and many other Central Asian countries. It is a flavorful and hearty rice dish that has deep cultural and culinary roots in the region. Kyrgyz plov, like its counterparts in neighboring countries, has its own unique variations and flavors.


The essential ingredients for plov include rice, meat, and aromatic spices. In Kyrgyzstan, lamb or beef is commonly used for the meat component, and sometimes chicken is also used. Onions, carrots, and garlic are often added to enhance the flavor. The key spices include cumin, coriander, and paprika, which give Kyrgyz plov its distinctive taste.

Tandoor-cooked pastries, often referred to as "tandoori bread" or "tandoori pastries," are a beloved and popular category of baked goods in various cuisines, especially in South Asia, the Middle East, and Central Asia. These pastries are known for their unique cooking method, where they are baked in a tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven, which imparts a distinct flavor and texture to the pastries.

Naan: Naan is perhaps the most famous tandoor-baked bread. It is a leavened flatbread that is typically brushed with ghee or butter and baked in the tandoor, resulting in a slightly crisp exterior and a soft, fluffy interior. Naan comes in various flavors, including garlic, butter, and cheese naan.

In Central Asia, the tandoor is also commonly used to bake various pastries and bread. One such example is Samsa, a savory pastry filled with ingredients like minced meat, onions, and spices. The pastry is folded into a triangular shape and baked in the tandoor, resulting in a crispy, golden-brown crust and a flavorful, aromatic filling. Samsa is a popular street food and can be found in many local eateries throughout the region.

Unique kyrgyz flavors that may intrigue tourists.

A highly nutritious meat dish typically prepared during major celebrations, festivals, and the autumn livestock slaughter.

For "chuchuk," you will need ingredients such as horse meat, fat, intestines, salt, red and black pepper, onions, garlic, cumin, and bay leaves. It's important to cook "chuchuk" carefully, simmering it gently over low heat.

The bubbles that form beneath the sausage casing during cooking should be pricked with a needle, as otherwise, the casing might burst. "Chuchuk" is cooked for approximately 1-1.5 hours.

Kymyz, also known as kumis or mare's milk, is a traditional and unique beverage with cultural significance in Central Asian countries like Kyrgyzstan. It is made by fermenting mare's milk, and it has a distinctive taste and a range of health benefits.


The production of kymyz involves collecting fresh mare's milk, typically during the spring and early summer when the mares are lactating. The milk is poured into leather or wooden containers known as "kumgans" or "saba," and then it is left to ferment naturally. The fermentation process is aided by lactic acid bacteria, which convert the milk's sugars into alcohol, resulting in a mildly alcoholic and slightly effervescent drink.

Shoro is a traditional beverage from Kyrgyzstan with a deep cultural and historical significance. This fermented drink is made from wheat, barley, or millet and is a popular choice for quenching one's thirst, especially during hot summer months. In summer time you can see on streets of Bishkek.

Certainly, here are some excellent places to savor traditional local food in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan:


  1. Faiza Canteen: A must-visit for their delectable lagman, a traditional Kyrgyz noodle dish.
  2. Arzu Restaurant: Arzu is known for its traditional Kyrgyz dishes like manti, plov, and shashlik. The restaurant has a cozy atmosphere and is a great place to experience authentic Kyrgyz cuisine.
  3. Navat Cafe: Offering a delightful blend of traditional Kyrgyz and European cuisine.
  4. Vostochka Canteen: Known for its mouthwatering shashlyk, the Kyrgyz version of barbecue.
  5. Buhara Restaurant: Buhara specializes in Uzbek cuisine, which shares some similarities with Kyrgyz cuisine. You can savor dishes like pilaf, shashlik, and various types of bread.


  1. Pishpek Restaurant: A great place to experience authentic Kyrgyz flavors and dishes.
  2. Frunze Restaurant: Serving up a variety of Kyrgyz culinary delights in a welcoming atmosphere.
  3. Zerno Restaurant: Offering a mix of traditional and modern Kyrgyz cuisine for an enjoyable dining experience.
  4. Supara Ethno Complex: Immerse yourself in Kyrgyz culture and cuisine at this complex, which specializes in traditional dishes.

Other places to visit in Kyrgyzstan

Kegety Gorge is a wonderful place near the capital of Kyrgyzstan at an altitude of 4000 m above sea level. Not a classic gorge is appreciated by tourists for its spaciousness - wide and long, about 27 km.

Within our republic's territory, there exist numerous architectural monuments, with one of the most renowned being the Burana Tower. The term "Burana" is derived from the word "monora," which means minaret. The minaret is a part of the ancient Burana settlement, situated 12 kilometers from the town of Tokmok and 80 kilometers from Bishkek. Burana Tower stands as one of the oldest structures within our republic. Its construction dates back to the 10th and 11th centuries. Originally, the minaret's height reached 40 meters, and according to some researchers, possibly 45 meters. Its upper section was crowned with a dome-shaped lantern, similar to other structures of its kind. However, due to the consequences of an earthquake that occurred around the 15th or 16th centuries, the upper portion was destroyed. As of today, the tower's height stands at 21.7 meters.

Sary Chelek is an enchanting place that captivates even the most discerning enthusiasts of flora and fauna. The most popular route leads to Lake Sary Chelek, located near the Chatkal Range at an altitude of 1940 m.

The national park Ala-Archa is a picturesque delight for the eyes, it is located nearby Bishkek, Ala-Too Kyrgyz ridges. The national park stretches at an altitude of 1600-4860m and is a favorite place of citizens and guests of the capital.

Lake Issyk-Kul - a mountain drainless lake (1610 m above sea level), included in the list of the deepest lakes in the world (698 m), located between the Tien Shan ranges. The astronauts call it the eye of the Earth for its color and shape, and the locals call it a pearl because of its framing with snowy peaks

Karakol (formerly known as Przhevalsk from 1889 to 1922 and from 1939 to 1992) is the fourth most populous city in Kyrgyzstan. It serves as the administrative center of the Issyk-Kul region. The city is located near the eastern end of Lake Issyk-Kul, approximately 150 kilometers from the Kyrgyz-Chinese border and 380 kilometers from the capital, Bishkek. Geographically, it is situated at an elevation ranging from 1690 to 1850 meters above sea level.

Chunkurchak gorge is a remarkable location with stunning landscapes and a winding gorge at an altitude of over 2000 meters above sea level, stretching along the ridge for 30 kilometers.

Tours in Kyrgyzstan
Open a beautiful gorge near Bishkek in one day
Fascinating tour with eagle hunting show
3 days
See pearl of Kyrgyzstan