How to Be Vegetarian in Kyrgyzstan
In meat-centered cultures, choosing to NOT eat meat can be daunting. Though a Central Asian stronghold, Kyrgyzstan is proving to be one of the easier places to travel as a vegetarian.
Reality on the ground: Kyrgyz people LOVE meat, and not without good reason. Most meat consumed in Kyrgyzstan is homegrown: born, bred, traded, and raised in backyards and mountain pastures. Nomadic culture depended on food sources that could walk and transport themselves, and deep values of hospitality dictate that every main meal includes some form of meat.
All that considered, Kyrgyzstan also has quite a diverse selection of foods, with plenty of options for those that prefer to eat vegetarian. Here is a list of some of the things to look for if you are a vegetarian in Kyrgyzstan:
To say “without meat”: beez miyasa
"I am vegetarian": ya vegetarianski/a
Adriano’s: the French breakfast is my go to, with a croissant, egg, and salad, but the Italian breakfast is also meat-free. Delightful.
Cafe Pierre or Taksim: if you’re hungry, dig into a traditional Turkish breakfast, or order menemen, a savory skillet of eggs, peppers, and tomatoes.
Bublik: bagel sandwiches, creamy soups, seasonal smoothies… the menu often shows creativity and inclusion of other world cuisines.
Prego: quite good Italian food, but they offer a whole vegetarian menu PLUS there are vegetarian options in the main main
Sierra: constantly improving the menu to include vegetarian options in every section. Mix and match breakfast items or get fairly good Mexican cuisine with beans, cheese, and veggies.
by Ruby Mitchell, Online Content Editor @ White Leopard Travel Co. (and a happy vegetarian!)
Pastries and Baked Goods
Kyrgyz culture has a sweet tooth, it's undeniable. Holidays, weekends, and Tuesday mornings are all perfectly good reasons to celebrate... something. Tantalizing treats are also a feast for the eyes while at the market!
What $3 Can Buy
A loaf of whole wheat bread, three glorious tomatoes, a bowl of plums, a pile of cucumbers, a pint or two of strawberries, a handful of apricots, and a lemon. Summer produce in Kyrgyzstan is unmatched for quality, quantity, or price!
Dried Herbs and Teas
All summer long, the mountain slopes are teeming in vegetation. Many Kyrgyz women possess the knowledge and industriousness for collecting, labeling, and selling these herbs at the market. Often there is a small line, waiting to discuss and deliberate about best herbal remedies for mild ailments and complaints.
At a New Years Day lunch in Talas, the mother of a friend prepared the ENTIRE meal without meat. From traditional salads to lentil soup and pumpkin manty, I was deeply touched by the love and care that went into making this meal. It was heaven to eat fearlessly!
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In meat-centered cultures, choosing to NOT eat meat can be daunting. Though a Central Asian stronghold, Kyrgyzstan is proving to be one of the easier places to travel as a vegetarian.read more