A Delicious Journey Through Traditional Popular Food In Kazakhstan

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Kazakh cuisine is a unique blend of nomadic traditions and the country’s varied geography, with a focus on meat dishes like Beshbarmak and Kuyrdak. But there’s more to this delicious cuisine than just meat. Dairy products such as Kumis and Shubat are popular, as are traditional bread like Baursak and Tandyr nan.

Are you ready for a culinary adventure? Kazakhstan’s traditional food has been shaped by its nomadic lifestyle and the influence of Central Asian, Russian, and Chinese cuisine.

Here we will take you on a journey through the top 20 popular foods in Kazakhstan that you must try when visiting the country. From the famous Beshbarmak to Lagman Soup and Kazakh Pilaf, we have covered you with recipes and all the information needed about these dishes. And if you are feeling adventurous, try some of the more unique dishes like Ulpershek or Zhauzhurek. So, prepare your taste buds as we dive into the delicious world of traditional Kazakh food.

Popular Food In Kazakhstan

20 Popular Food In Kazakhstan You Need To Try

When it comes to exploring Kazakh cuisine, there are numerous dishes that you must try. From the traditional Beshbarmak to the unique Kazy made with horsemeat, the range of flavors and textures will leave you wanting more.

Indulge in the crispy fried dough balls called Baursaki or savor a hearty bowl of Lagman soup filled with noodles and vegetables. You’ll find something that satisfies your taste buds with so many options to choose from. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to experience traditional Kazakh cuisine’s rich and diverse flavors. Here are 20 Popular food in Kazakhstan You Need to Try.

1. Kazakh National Drink: Kumis

For centuries, people have been enjoying Kumis, the Kazakh national drink made from fermented mare milk. They consider this slightly sour drink to have medicinal properties despite its low alcohol content. People often serve it at social gatherings and celebrations, such as weddings or festivals. Kumis’s unique taste and cultural significance make it a must-try in Kazakhstan. Visitors can find Kumis in restaurants and markets throughout the country, gaining an authentic taste of Kazakh tradition and history.

2. The Famous Beshbarmak

The famous Beshbarmak is a hearty and flavorful dish showcasing Kazakhstan’s rich culinary traditions. The people of Kazakhstan consider it a symbol of their hospitality and it is their national dish. Beshbarmak consists of boiled lamb or beef meat served on a bed of homemade noodles, topped with onion sauce, and is traditionally eaten by hand, with the noodles and meat being mixed before eating.

3. Lagman Soup Recipe

With influences from Chinese and Central Asian cuisine, Lagman soup is a popular dish in Kazakhstan that is perfect for colder weather. This hearty soup features hand-pulled noodles, fresh vegetables, and your choice of meat in a flavorful broth. One of the best things about Lagman soup is how customizable it is – you can adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes and preferences. Plus, mastering the art of hand-pulled noodles requires skill and practice, making it an impressive dish to serve to guests.

4. Kazakh Pilaf Recipe

People in Kazakhstan pass down the beloved traditional dish known as “plov” or Kazakh Pilaf through generations.  Someone makes this mouthwatering dish with rice, meat, onions, carrots, and spices such as cumin and coriander. Slowly cook the ingredients until they meld together to create a fragrant and hearty meal perfect for gatherings with family and friends.

5. Kuurdak Recipe

People in Kazakhstan have passed down Kuurdak, a beloved meat dish, through generations.  Slow-cooked in fat with onions and potatoes, the meat (which can be lamb or beef) becomes rich and flavorful. This traditional meal can also include carrots, peppers, and other vegetables.  One of the best things about Kuurdak is how easy it is to make. It’s perfect for those who want to experience the rich culinary traditions of Kazakhstan without spending too much time in the kitchen.

6.Shashlik Recipe

Grilled meat lovers, rejoice! Shashlik is a popular dish in Kazakhstan that will surely satisfy your cravings. This mouthwatering dish consists of marinated meat skewered and perfectly grilled over an open flame. The tangy and flavorful marinade made with vinegar, onions, and spices gives it a unique taste that will leave you wanting more. Often served with flatbread and a side of vegetables or salad, shashlik is perfect for outdoor gatherings or picnics. Don’t miss out on this delectable Kazakh delicacy during your culinary journey through the country!

7. Manti Recipe

Manti is an incredibly flavorful and satisfying dish that has been a staple in Kazakh cuisine for centuries. These steamed dumplings have tender meat and onions filling, giving them a juicy and savory taste that’s hard to resist. One of the great things about manti is its versatility – some variations include pumpkin or potato instead of meat, making it a great option for vegetarians. While making manti can be time-consuming, many people find the process rewarding and even meditative. Plus, the result is always worth it – delicious, piping-hot dumplings that are perfect for any occasion.

8. Nauryz-Kosher Recipe

Nauryz-Kozhe is a traditional Kazakh soup that holds a special place in the hearts of the Kazakh people. This hearty and flavorful soup is typically served during the Nauryz holiday, which marks the beginning of spring and new beginnings. Its symbolic significance lies in the fact that it is made from seven different ingredients, each representing one of the seven elements of life: water, earth, fire, air, plants, animals, and humans. The main ingredients in Nauryz-kozhe include lamb or beef, onions, carrots, flour, and sour cream. Other ingredients, such as barley, rice, and chickpeas, are also added to enhance their flavor and texture.

Making Nauryz-kozhe can take several hours to complete, as each ingredient must be cooked slowly to create a rich broth that brings all the flavours together. It is a dish that requires patience and dedication but is well worth the effort. The result is a delicious soup that represents the rich culinary heritage of Kazakhstan and embodies its traditions and values. If you want to explore traditional Kazakh food beyond just meat dishes, Nauryz-kozhe should be on your list of must-try foods.

9. Chak-Chak Recipe

Chak-chak is a beloved dessert in Kazakhstan, with a fascinating history behind its creation. Legend has it that the dessert was invented by Kazakh women fleeing an enemy army. They combined their remaining flour and honey to create a sweet and satisfying snack that could be easily transported. Today, chak-chak remains a staple of Kazakh cuisine and is enjoyed for its delicious taste and cultural significance. Whether served plain or embellished with toppings like fruits or nuts, chak-chak will surely delight anyone with a sweet tooth looking to explore traditional Kazakh desserts.

10. Baursak Recipe

Baursak is a beloved snack or dessert in Kazakhstan, and its recipe has been passed down from generation to generation. Knead flour, yeast, milk, and eggs to form a soft dough into small balls. Then fry the balls until they turn golden brown. The result is a crispy, fluffy pastry often served with honey or jam for added sweetness.

Baursak is particularly popular during special occasions like weddings and holidays. Families may have their unique recipe for baursak, but the basic ingredients remain the same. It’s a simple yet delicious treat that showcases Kazakhstan’s rich culinary heritage and will satisfy any sweet tooth.

11. Shelpek Recipe

People often serve Shelpek, a staple in Kazakh cuisine, as a side dish during meals.  You can enjoy this traditional bread either plain or stuffed with various ingredients such as cheese or meat. Made from simple ingredients like flour, salt, water, and sometimes milk or yogurt, the dough is baked in a tandoor oven or stovetop grill. The result is a golden brown, crispy bread that pairs well with tea or soup. Whether you’re looking for a hearty snack or a lovely addition to your meal, Shelpek is worth trying on your next visit to Kazakhstan.

12. Kazy Recipe

Kazy, a traditional Kazakh sausage made from horse meat, is undoubtedly one of the most revered dishes in Kazakhstan. We marinate the meat with various spices such as black pepper, cumin, and garlic before smoking and ageing it for several months to achieve its distinct flavour. You can serve the savoury sausage that this process produces as a main dish or use it as an ingredient in stews or soups.

Kazy’s unique taste has granted it immense popularity throughout the country and during special occasions and celebrations. The locals often prefer to pair it with aromatic green tea and bread for a truly authentic experience.

13. Бешбармақ (Beshbarmak) – Kazakh-Style Meat

Kazakhstan’s traditional dish, Бешбармақ (Beshbarmak), is a savoury and hearty meal that is typically served with boiled meat and noodles. Its unique name translates to “five fingers,” referencing the traditional way of eating it with one’s hands. The dish has its roots in the nomadic lifestyle of the Kazakh people and has since become a staple in their cuisine. They use beef, lamb, or even horse meat as the main protein in Beshbarmak, depending on the region of Kazakhstan. People often garnish it with onions and serve it with a side of broth known as sherpa. This delicious dish perfectly encapsulates the rich culinary history of Kazakhstan and is worth trying when visiting the country.

 14. Сорпа (Sorpa) – Broth

Introducing one of Kazakhstan’s most popular dishes, Sorpa is a traditional broth that has been enjoyed for generations. This hearty soup, made with meat, bones, and vegetables, usually serves as a starter or main course. You can make it with meats such as beef, lamb, or chicken and flavor it with herbs and spices like bay leaves, cumin, and black pepper. People typically serve Sorpa hot with bread and enjoy it on its own or use it as a base for other dishes. This comforting food is perfect for cold winter days and offers a taste of the rich cultural heritage of Kazakhstan.

15. Өрметөс (Ormetos) – Rolled Lamb Breast With Intestines

Kazakhstan’s traditional cuisine is steeped in history and culture, with dishes like Өрметөс (Ormetos) showcasing the country’s rich culinary heritage. This unique dish comprises rolled lamb breast and intestines, slow-cooked in a broth infused with onions and spices until it reaches tender perfection. Kazakhs love the flavours and textures of Өрметөс, even though it may sound unusual to some palates. Making the dish a must-try for anyone curious about this fascinating culture’s culinary traditions.

Other popular dishes in Kazakhstan include Beshbarmak, a meat and noodle dish; Sorpa, a flavorful broth served hot with bread; and Kazy, a sausage made from horse meat. Together, these dishes highlight the influence of Kazakhstan’s nomadic past and neighboring countries on its cuisine, creating a unique blend of truly delicious flavors.

16. Үлпершек (Ulpershek) – Stuffed Heart

Stuffed heart, or Үлпершек as it is locally famous, is a unique and traditional Kazakh dish that may seem unusual to those unfamiliar with the cuisine. However, people in Kazakhstan consider it a delicacy and often serve it on special occasions such as weddings and holidays. The stuffing typically consists of rice, onions, and spices, with the addition of liver and lungs if desired. Kazakh culture reflects its nomadic roots by utilizing every part of the animal to ensure survival in harsh environments, as reflected in this dish. Despite its unconventional ingredients, Үлпершек is worth trying for those seeking authentic Kazakh cuisine.

 17. Жаужүрек (Zhauzhurek) – Liver With Caul Fat

The liver is a staple ingredient in Kazakh cuisine, and Жаужүрек (Zhauzhurek) is a traditional dish that showcases the versatility of this organ meat. This dish comes with liver and caul fat, which adds a unique texture. The combination of liver and caul fat is typically served with potatoes and onions and can be seasoned with various herbs and spices.

In Kazakh culture, the liver believes in having health benefits such as improving digestion and boosting energy levels.

18. Жент (Zhent) – Sweet Ground Millet

Kazakhstan’s cuisine is full of delightful surprises, and one such dish is the sweet ground millet known as Жент (Zhent). This traditional Kazakh dessert or snack has a porridge-like texture and a mildly sweet taste, making it an instant hit with anyone who tries it. Typically, people flavour the dish with butter or honey to add flavour.

In Kazakh culture, Жент (Zhent) holds significant importance as a symbol of hospitality offered to guests upon arrival. It’s intriguing how simple ingredients like millet and sugar can create something so delicious and meaningful. If you’re exploring Kazakhstan for its unique cuisine, don’t miss out on this delightful dish and its other popular traditional foods like Beshbarmak, Kazy, Shubat, and Baursaki.

19. Балқаймақ (Balkaymak) – Kazakh-Style Mousse

Balkaymak is a delicious traditional Kazakh dessert that is easy to make at home. Made with simple ingredients like sour cream, sugar, and honey, this mousse-like dessert has a tangy and sweet flavor, making it perfect for breakfast or a dessert after a meal. The dish originated from the nomadic past of the region, where food had to be simple, hearty, and easy to prepare. Today, everyone in Kazakhstan and beyond enjoys Balkaymak. People often serve it as a topping for bread or pancakes, and they can make it in different variations by adding nuts or fruits to enhance the taste.

20. Ірімшік (Irimshik) – Quark

Irimshik, a traditional Kazakh dairy product, offers numerous health benefits and delicious tastes. Made from quark, a low-fat fresh cheese similar to cottage cheese or ricotta. People in Kazakhstan enjoy eating Irimshik for breakfast. They can eat it plain or mix it with sugar, sour cream, or honey for added flavor. This dairy product has a high protein content. It is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D. It also contains beneficial bacteria that aid digestion and boost the immune system. Whether enjoyed on its own or as an ingredient in other Kazakh dishes like Beshbarmak and Kazy. Irimshik is a nutritious and flavorful addition to any meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is The Most Popular Food In Kazakhstan?

One of the most popular foods in Kazakhstan is Beshbarmak, a dish made of boiled meat and noodles. Plov, a rice-based dish with meat and vegetables, is also very popular. Lagman, a noodle soup with vegetables and meat, is another traditional Kazakh dish locals enjoy.

2. What Kind Of Food Is Popular In Kazakhstan?

Kazakh cuisine is known for its hearty meat-based dishes and dairy products. Some popular Kazakh dishes include Beshbarmak (Boiled Meat With Noodles), Kuyrdak (Fried Organ Meat), And Baursak (Fried Dough). People commonly consume dairy products such as Kumis (fermented mare’s milk) and shubat (fermented camel’s milk).

3. What Do Kazakhs Eat For Breakfast?

The traditional Kazakh breakfast typically includes tea, bread, and dairy products like kurt or ayran. Some popular breakfast dishes in Kazakhstan include kasha (porridge), baursaks (fried dough), and blini (pancakes).

4. Does Kazakhstan Have Good Food?

Yes, Kazakhstan’s rich and diverse culinary culture offers delicious food. Traditional Kazakh cuisine includes dishes like beshbarmak, kuyrdak, and baursaki. Additionally, influences from Russian, Uzbek, and Chinese cuisines add to the variety of flavors.

5. How Popular Is Fast Food In Kazakhstan?

Fast food is becoming increasingly popular in Kazakhstan, with major chains like McDonald’s and KFC opening up in major cities. However, traditional Kazakh cuisine is still important in the country’s food culture. In addition to international fast food options, local fast food options are available such as shawarma, kebab, and plov – a rice dish.


To sum up, Kazakhstan’s cuisine combines different flavours and cultures passed down through generations. Kazakh cuisine has something for everyone, from the savoury Beshbarmak to the sweet Zhent. Trying out traditional Kazakh dishes can be an exciting culinary adventure that you should not miss out on. From hearty meat dishes like beshbarmak and kazy to sweet treats like baursaki and chak-chak, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Trying out the local cuisine is also a great way to experience the culture and traditions of Kazakhstan. So if you’re planning a trip or just looking for some new recipes to try at home, be sure to check out our list of 20 popular foods in Kazakhstan that you need to try. Who knows, you might just discover your new favorite’s dish.

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