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The Toi Table

Kyrgyz culture is known for its hospitality. Kyrygz people honorably meet guests with lots of national food and presents. They believe that guests bring luck and blessing to their family. Thus, they treat guests as generously as possible. Usually guests come over without invitation, and every family stays prepared for unplanned occasions.

Additionally, families in Kyrgyzstan organize special parties that gather relatives, friends and guests called “Toi”. Toi is made for celebrating marriages, childbirth, new housing or any other important event. Toi is accepted as an entertaining activity, where people get to meet each other, rest, dance, and eat. The assortment of dishes that have developed over the centuries and the ways of their preparation are deeply original at toi. It may last for several days with different traditions and cultural activities taking place amongst all of the feasting.

Another interesting part of toi is that, depending on the importance of the event, the amount of guests can go up to 500, sometimes even more. The food is the main thing here! Hosts cook a variety of national food with special flavors and attractiveness in order to create the “toi table”, which is often judged by guests on its overall appearance and aesthetic impact, as well as the quality of flavor and taste of the numerous dishes.

As a guest in Kyrgyzstan, be warned! This table, adorned in food, is only the appetizer. The real meal is yet to come.


Jyldyz Apyshova

Assistant Editor and Social Media Manager @ White Leopard Travel Co.


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