Uzbekistan’s capital city is a treasure trove for travellers who love to explore unique cultures. Abounding in historic tales and contemporary infrastructure and attractions, Tashkent has much more than you would guess at first glance.
Tashkent is not just for history and culture lovers. This Central Asian city has plenty for avid shoppers as well as foodies. Here’s a look at the what and where of Tashkent’s shopping and cuisine:
To truly explore and learn about the culture of any new land, trying the local food is essential. So while in Tashkent, take some time out to sample traditional Uzbek delights. This cuisine has influences of different cultures and is an important cuisine among Central Asian countries.
6 Dishes To Try In Tashkent
While there are plenty of savoury dishes, pastry and sour milk-based preparations are also common. Meat rules supreme in this cuisine, but delicious vegetarian fare is available too. Listed below are a few must-try dishes during a visit to Tashkent:
#1 Wedding Pilaf (Plov/Palov)
The most important dish, Plov is rice-based and is often the main item in weddings and parties. Prepared with carrots, onions, meat, raisins, and spices, traditionally over an open fire, Plov is found in several varieties. Tuy Palov is the one to try in Tashkent since it is unique to the city.
What is popular in India as Samosa is called Samsa in Uzbekistan, and is a popular savoury snack preparation. A triangular-shaped pastry prepared from dough, it is filled with a variety of stuffing including pumpkin, lamb, and herbs. It is then baked in a tandoor for a soft yet crunchy exterior.
At first look, Manti is very similar to dumplings and momos. The Uzbek version usually has fillings of beef, lamb, pumpkin, potato or a combination of these ingredients. Topped with a dollop of butter and served with a sauce, sour cream, or onion rings, mantis are available steamed, boiled, or fried.
Shurpa is a hearty soup, similar to stew. It is usually available in two variants–Kovurma (cooked with fried meat) and Kaytnama (made with fresh meat). The other ingredients include fresh vegetables such as carrots, onions, and tomato while the base is a fatty meat like mutton.
This is almost the national dessert. A soft dough-based crispy sweet preparation, chak-chaks are fried in different shapes and then doused in honey. It is a popular tea time snack, and you are likely to be served this dessert if you happen to visit locals in Tashkent.
You are likely to taste this dessert if you visit Tashkent during Navruz, the spring festival. This pudding is made from sprouting wheat grains and is a holiday food shared with friends, neighbours, and family.
Shopping In Tashkent
If you’re among those travellers who believe in shopping local, you are in luck here. Tashkent is home to traditional markets that are full of colour and flavour.
6 Places To Shop At In Tashkent
When in Tashkent, shop for local produce, arts and crafts, and do check out the shopping malls and luxury boutiques as well. Here’s what to buy and where to go when you want to shop in Tashkent:
#1 Chorsu Bazaar
What To buy: Fresh Produce & Edibles
A vibrant farmers’ market in the Old Town area, Chorsu, is centrally located and derives it name from ‘crossroads’ or ‘four streams’. Featuring both an indoor section and open-air areas, this place offers the authentic Taskhkent shopping experience. Walk through the market to buy dry fruits, spices, as well as carpets and other local souvenirs. Locals come here for all their daily necessities.
#2 Human Wear Gallery
What To Buy: Textiles, Clothes, Accessories
Whether you are looking for exclusive clothes collections, hand-made products, or traditional Uzbek skull caps and carpets, this unique place has it all. Indulge in silk clothes made by leading designers of the region.
#3 Chilanzar Clothes Market (Hippodrome)
What To Buy: Clothing, Household Goods
The Chilanzar Clothes Market sells fashion wear at reasonable rates, footwear, household items, carpets, and even childrens toys. The bazaar is divided into three zones to make shopping easier, and is popular for its prices. If fashion wear is what you are interested in, visit both the Korean and Uzbek markets at Chilanzar.
#4 Tashkent Shopping Centre
What To Buy: Clothing For All, Furniture, Footwear, Textiles
For travellers who love the mall experience while shopping, Tashkent Shopping Centre offers just that. A major shopping centre in the city, it is brimming with a variety of stores as well as entertainment options–a good choice for shopping when you are travelling with children.
#5 Abulkasim Madrasah
What To Buy: Ceramics, Lacquer Work, Paintings
Housed in a stunning Renaissance East style building, this former madrassa (school) has been converted into something of an artisans’ workshop. Visit artists and craftsmen in their workshops for some of the best souvenirs for tourists
#6 Saligokh Street (Broadway)
What To Buy: Paintings, Clothes, Jewellery, Crafts
Saligokh Street is a typical shopping area with everything from street artists selling their paintings to upscale boutiques, restaurants, and shopping centres. Take a stroll through the place, popularly known as Broadway and pick up souvenirs and local handicrafts.
Tashkent Fact File
Location: In Uzbekistan, Central Asia; on the plains west of Altai Mountains near the Chirchik River, and on the road between Shymkent and Samarkand.
Connectivity: Tashkent International Airport is the main airport in Uzbekistan, with flights to Asia, Europe and North America; Tashkent-Samarkand High Speed Rail connects the two main Uzbek cities. The country also has a well-developed regular rail system, with domestic lines as well as connections to Central Asian nations as well as Russia; local transport is affordable with metro, buses and taxis available.
Climate: Continental Mediterranean
Languages: Uzbek and Russian are the official languages. English is not spoken widely.
Time Zone: UZT – Uzbekistan Time (UTC +5:00)
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