They eat horses in Central Asia, don’t they? Well, I had not considered that. I knew the people of the region are famed horse breeders and riders, and take pride in the care of horses. I had not thought about how else horses might figure in the culture. On my first day in Uzbekistan, I found out. Lunch at Milly Taom in Tashkent was centered around naryn, Uzbekistan’s surprisingly good kazy salad. The cold dish features fresh noodles, spicy horse-meat sausage, and beef. At Milly Taom an entire section of the open-to-view restaurant kitchen was given over to the preparation of the popular dish.
When I visited, on a Saturday at mid-day, naryn preparation was in full swing, with six women chopping and mixing to a fare thee well. The restaurant seats at least two hundred people, and naryn seemed to be one of the most requested items available.
Other meat was chopped, and a dressing prepared in plastic buckets. Finally, everything was tossed together and arranged artfully on individual serving plates. And the flavor? Naryn at Milli Taom turned out to be tasty, spiced a bit more than other popular dishes I tried there. The bread, as always in Uzbekistan, was a treat, and the salad of lettuce, tomato and cucumbers dressed with herbs a refreshing accompaniment. I went back for seconds of everything.
For more about specialties of Uzbek cuisine, and dining out in Tashkent, take a look at Suzanna Fatyan’s post for Uzbek Journeys.