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Destination: Uzbekistan
Last updated: 06 Jan 2017

Food and drinks in Uzbekistan

Food

At first glance, Uzbek food is a challenge to people who are used to dietary nutrition. Millennia of nomadic traditions have resulted in the heavy presence of meat and fat in the meals. Nevertheless, travellers with properly formulated food preferences may find a rich variety of dietary products, including dairy and fruit, which are delicious and contain no chemicals. Abundance of fruit and vegetables and their incomparable taste has always been the pride of Uzbeks. Those who are sick of tasteless supermarket strawberries, apples, etc. should try them in Uzbekistan just to know what the genuine taste should be.

Restaurants in Uzbekistan offer dishes of three main cuisines: Uzbek traditional cuisine, Russian and European cuisines. Other national cuisines are present as well, such as the Chinese, Turkish, Georgian, Korean and Indian.(FMI see Uzbek Cuisine)

Drinks

In Uzbekistan, cold tap water can be safely used for drinking. However, it is a good tradition to boil cold tap water for making tea (green of black) and drink it during meals. Hot tap water CANNOT be used as drinking water.

In some regions of Uzbekistan, such as Khorezm (Urgench, Khiva), Karakalpakstan (Nukus) and Bukhara, cold water, even though safe, is not normally used as drinking water because of too much salt in it.

It is strongly recommended to rinse fruit and vegetables before eating. Some prefer to use boiling water for this purpose, though local people always get away with regular tap water.

A wide range of bottled mineral water brands (both sparkling and natural) is available throughout Uzbekistan and it is recommended to have a good stock of bottles at hand, especially, in summer.

Delicious locally made natural juices are available on the market and they may serve as a very nice addition to your ration in the country.

You will find the full range of soft drinks usual to a Western consumer, such as Coca-cola, Pepsi etc.

Alcohol Drinks

Uzbekistan is abundant in fruit and grapes. A great variety of red wines, vodka and beer brands are offered to travelers, including local red wine and beer. Also, foreign-made wine and beer (mainly, Russian and European) are available.

Though most of Uzbekistan's population are Muslims, drinking alcohol is not regarded as something unusual. In summer, people usually drink alcohol after the heat abates. Heavy drinking and debauches are condemned by the public opinion.

Eating Hints

Foreign food often unsettles the stomach, but Uzbek dishes are unlikely to do any serious harm provided that some rules that Uzbeks keep to for centuries are followed.

Uzbeks are used to oily dishes. They eat fried meat (mainly mutton) in big quantities in the composition of traditional dishes, such as pilav, lagman, etc. (FMI see Uzbek Cuisine). The abundance of meat and oil in the daily ration is set off by certain habits of Uzbeks which are often neglected by visitors.

First off, never drink cold water together with the main course with meat or fat. Instead drink a lot of hot green tea. Second, the locals eat much salads made of tomatoes and other vegetables along with the main course. Third and the last is the timing. Light dishes, containing sour milk and yogurts, and soups are served during breakfast and lunch, and heavy meals are left for dinner when it is cooler.

Related pages

Travel Guidebook for UzbekistanArrivals and Departures to/from Uzbekistan
Communications in UzbekistanCurrency, Payments etc
Travel DiscountsExcursions
EtiquetteHealth and medical
SecurityAdvice on Budget Reduction