Hospitality – Essential Part of Uzbek Culture
Hospitality is the essential part of Uzbek culture. People lived on the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road and their lives highly depended on the business they conducted with foreigners that traveled from east to west and back, carrying silk, pottery and other goods. Anyone, irregardless of his or her nationality, is always treated as if he was sent by God. Besides, Uzbeks are a curious nation who like meeting people and they are always happy to guests of different nationalities.
Uzbekistan is well known for its chaikhanas (teahouses), where men get together and spend time chatting and joking over a cup of tea. It is part of the culture that women take care of the house, including cooking. Uzbek men have good cooking skills and chaikhana is the place where they get together and cook pilaw (rice with meat and vegetables) or kazan kabob (fried meat with potatoes).
The Bazaar is a place of interaction apart from its primary purpose of buying and selling. The best part of the bazaar is the bargaining. People just love to bargain. If you visit Uzbekistan you should surely go to a bazaar and try your self to bargain. Its noisiness, variety, bright colors, hustle and bustle will leave unforgettable memories for good.
Uzbek cuisine is one of the most colourful of Oriental Cuisines. You will get astounded to find some of Uzbek recipes to be centuries-old. They even have different traditional rituals and ways of cooking. There are about 1,000 different dishes including national drinks, cakes and confectionary products.
Uzbek “Pilaf” is a very solemn food. It can be considered as an everyday dish as well as a dish for solemn and great events like weddings, parties and holidays. Rice is the most important ingredient of pilaf and special spices, raisins, or peas will be added to give it extra flavour. However, locals believe that the best pilaf is always prepared by a man! Salads are also served along with pilaf.
Bread is holy for Uzbek people. This traditional belief started with a legend. As it goes, each new Governor would mint his own coins but the payment for local people who minted new coins were not the coins that were minted but…bread!
Traditionally Uzbek breads are baked inside the stoves made of clay called “Tandyr”. These fragrant breads are known to be crispy and tasty. Even the greatest scientist of medicine, Avicenna used Uzbek bread to cure people of diseases.
A special importance is placed on soups. Uzbek soup is rich in vegetables and seasonings and contains lots of carrots, turnips, onions and greens. Two popular soups are Mastava and Shurpa.