Saturday, September 17, 2011

Almaty Adventure: Destination Almaty - The Food


There are many restaurants with a large variety of cuisine ranging from Kazakh, Chinese, Indian, etc in Almaty although some might not have an English menu. Interestingly, there is a KFC and Pizza Hut but no McDonalds in Almaty. Prices for eating out is on the expensive end with prices similar to what you find in Europe and the US. We had all our breakfasts in the hotels since it was included in the rate and lunch was included on the days we took the tour. 

Picnic by the lake
The most interesting and unique meal we had was when we visited a traditional Kazakh restaurant at Kok Tobe Hill. This was at the end of the city tour so we had our guide with us and she did a great job in ordering and explaining the food to us.To most of the world, horse meat is a delicacy but in Kazakhstan, it's everyday meat and actually preferred to other meats since it is leaner and supposedly much healthier. We definitely liked the horse meat and tasted like a very lean and flavorful piece of beef. We also had for the first time, camel and horse milk which was an acquired taste. We did finish our bowl of milk but let's just say it's not on our drinks to order next time the opportunity arises. 
Kazakh Restaurant

Fried Bread and Horse Sausages

Kazakh Noodles & Boiled Meats (includes Horse!)
We also tried a Russian restaurant around the hotel we stayed in. In spite of not having a English menu, we managed to order some pretty good food after the waitress patiently explained everything on the menu to us in her limited English. Loved the dumplings and the chicken shashlik was one of juiciest and flavorful we've tasted before.

Vege Soup

Classic Borscht Soup

Meat Dumplings

Chicken Shashlik
For the other nights, we were simply too tired and lazy to head out. We just stayed in and enjoyed some instant noodles in the hotel. Yes, I actually enjoyed the instant noodles. It was a much needed break from the pigging out at the beginning of the trip...


  1. No McD? That is not possible.. I am sure there is one but well hidden. But you could also be right. I imagined that the only 2 places where the golden arches will not be is in Cuba and North Korea.
    Great insight to the country btw.

  2. Definitely no McD as confirmed by the tour guide..

  3. I live in Kazakhstan and visited Almaty many times - no McD for sure. Always wondered why...
    If you allow, I'll leave a note on original names of the food you ordered:
    Horse sausages - kazy
    Kazakh noodles with meat - Beshbarmak
    Russian dumpling - pelmeni.

  4. Anastassiya,
    Thanks for leaving the notes of the original names. We forgot to write it down and hence didn't remember the original names.