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Food Tours in South Shore

Taste the Flavors of Nomadic Cuisine

South Shore's culinary traditions pull inspiration from the region's long nomadic heritage, and combine traditional dishes with a fascinating array of spices and flavors that merchants brought on their journey along the ancient Silk Road. Generations of nomads and Kyrgyz people have carried on these culinary traditions in their homes and at festivals and celebrations.

Today in modern Kyrgyzstan, travelers along the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul will taste the most popular Kyrgyz dishes right in their yurt camps and guesthouses. Because of the region's unique layout, restaurants are a less popular dining option for guests staying at more remote accommodations. Many independent travelers (and tour groups too!), will book nightly meals at their accommodation.

All of the region's yurt camps and guesthouses can provide three daily meals by request (breakfast is often included in the price). In fact, shared meals in the dining yurt of your camp may stand out as one of your favorite experiences in South Shore — the food is plentiful and guests can share stories together as they enjoy a range of tasty salads, traditional Kyrgyz dishes, fresh breads, and more.

Several yurt camps and guest houses offer cooking classes so travelers can learn how to make traditional Kyrgyz dishes themselves. Please have a look at the following food tour options.

Note: Fluent English-speakers are not always available at every yurt camp or guesthouse. If you have very serious food restrictions or life-threatening allergies, please be proactive and carry a printed card with these allergies translated into Russian Cyrillic. And please notify the Destination South Shore team so we can help you communicate your needs to your accommodation.

All Food Tours Include:


  • Local guide
  • Cooking equipment
  • Lunch/dinner/food

Kuurdak Workshop

Learn how to mingle spices perfectly with fried marinated meat, onions, and potatoes in this hearty Kyrgyz dish. It's an easy one-plate meal, which has made it perennially popular with Kyrgyz nomads. Although you may sample this any time of year, kuurdak is particularly beloved during the cold winter months.

Where:

Bokonbaevo

Duration:

2 hour

Food Tour, Price per Person1 person2 persons3 persons4 persons
Total price per person1000 KGS / $13750 KGS / $10600 KGS / $8500 KGS / $7

Tash Kordo Workshop

Marinated for days and slow-cooked in a traditional kazantash kordo was the preferred dish of the country's ancient nomadic hunters. Once properly marinated and flavorful, meat is further seasoned with wild onion and garlic as it cooks. This is a real treat that is best enjoyed at a yurt camp out on the jailoo — Jaichy Yurt Camp prepares a particularly tasty version! (Photo credit: TripAdvisor)

Where:

Jaichy Yurt Camp

Duration:

2 - 3hour

Food Tour, Price per Person1 person2 persons3 persons4 persons
Total price per person1000 KGS / $13750 KGS / $10600 KGS / $8500 KGS / $7

Shashlyk & Kazan Kebab Workshop

Shashlyk is best known as kebabs. Locals grill these delicious skewers of meat to perfection. Usually prepared with mutton (but also with chicken, beef, or goat), shashlyk is sometimes marinated to enhance the flavor. When served as a part of your meal, shashlyk is garnished with fresh onion and vinegar. Fair warning: When grilling mutton, locals preference almost always includes one piece of fat on the skewer to enhance the flavor as the fat drips onto the burning embers. Kazan kebab is essentially shashlyk cooked in a pot — something that sounds simple, yet is uncommonly tasty. At this workshop you will learn how to prepare and grill delicious Shashlyk.

Where:

Near Bokonbaevo

Duration:

2 - 3hour

Food Tour, Price per Person1 person2 persons3 persons4 persons
Total price per person1000 KGS / $13750 KGS / $10600 KGS / $8500 KGS / $7

Beshbarmak Workshop

A flavorful, traditional nomadic dish prepared with mutton (or other meat) and hand-cut noodles. This is a forks-optional meal: beshbarmak means “five fingers” in Kyrgyz, and nomads usually blend the meat, juices, and noodles with their hands. Most often eaten in the mountains, beshbarmark is a perfect choice to fuel your trek or outdoor adventures.

If you like to take part of the cooking workshop, please reserve your place.

Where:

Near Bokonbaevo

Duration:

2 - 3hour

Food Tour, Price per Person1 person2 persons3 persons4 persons
Total price per person800 KGS / $11750 KGS / $10700 KGS / $9650 KGS / $8

Dumplings Workshop

Central Asian cultures love dumplings and Kyrygz people are no different, you'll find dumplings prepared in a variety of ways. Oromo is a popular dish traditionally made with layers of handmade dough, which is then most often filled with minced meat and onions, but it can also be prepared with cabbage and carrots for vegetarians. Manti is also widely enjoyed throughout the region. Traditionally, succulent lamb and onion fill these steamed dumplings, but some versions also include seasonal ingredients (like pumpkin), or juisai (greens). Manti is rarely prepared vegetarian unless specifically requested as even the versions with greens will include animal fat unless you specify ahead of time.

If you like to take part of the cooking workshop, please reserve your place.

Where:

Near Bokonbaevo

Duration:

2 - 3hour

Food Tour, Price per Person1 person2 persons3 persons4 persons
Total price per person700 KGS / $9650 KGS / $8,5600 KGS / $8550 KGS / $7,5

Boorsok Workshop

Most yurt camps, guesthouses, and homestays serve boorsok, which are small fried squares of dough, typically served with honey, jam, or a clotted cream called kaymakBoorsok is often used to welcome guests and is considered a sign of hospitality.

If you like to take part of the cooking workshop, please reserve your place.

Where:

Near Bokonbaevo

Duration:

2 hour

Food Tour, Price per Person1 person2 persons3 persons4 persons
Total price per person650 KGS / $8,5600 KGS / $8550 KGS / $7,5500 KGS / $7

Ashlan-Fu Workshop

A wildly popular dish in nearby Karakol, this Dungan soup is served cold, spicy, and delicious. It's also inherently easy to prepare it vegetarian since the sauce is made from a blend of tangy vinaigrette broth and garlic chili sauce. The broth-sauce is then served with fresh wheat noodles and thin ribbons of starch (usually corn or potato starch). Traditionally, savory minced meat is scooped onto the top of the soup at the end.

If you like to take part of this workshop, please reserve your place.

Where:

Near Bokonbaevo

Duration:

2 hour

Food Tour, Price per Person1 person2 persons3 persons4 persons
Total price per person650 KGS / $8,5600 KGS / $8550 KGS / $7,5500 KGS / $7

Laghman Workshop

With just the prefect blend of al-dente texture and rich flavor you would expect from freshly hand-pulled noodles, laghman is a real treat for Central Asian travelers. There are several styles of noodle preparation — fried, boiled, or noodle soup — but all traditionally include a spicy sauce of meat, vegetables, and herbs. Locals also prepare a version of this called ganfan, which features similar ingredients served over a bed of rice instead of noodles. If you like a bit of spice in your food, ask for laza (a condiment made of sauteed crushed chili and garlic) on the side.

If you like to take part of this workshop, please reserve your place.

Where:

Near Bokonbaevo

Duration:

2 - 3hour

Food Tour, Price per Person1 person2 persons3 persons4 persons
Total price per person700 KGS / $9650 KGS / $8,5600 KGS / $8550 KGS / $7,5

Samsas Workshop

Reminiscent of Indian samosas, Kyrygz samsas feature a different flavor profile. These flaky stuffed pastries are usually filled with a well-seasoned mixture of onions and lamb. However, you may find potato versions available as a street snack. Expect to find these cut into triangles or half-moons and then cooked to a light, golden perfection. Pro tip: Although they taste incredible as a hot snack any time of day, they are also particularly handy as trekking food!

If you like to take part of this workshop, please reserve your place.

Where:

Near Bokonbaevo

Duration:

2 - 3hour

Food Tour, Price per Person1 person2 persons3 persons4 persons
Total price per person650 KGS / $8,5600 KGS / $8550 KGS / $7,5500 KGS / $7

Kyrgyz Bread Workshop

No Kyrgyz meal is complete without a hearty portion of bread. In fact, you will often be welcomed to Kyrgyz homes with bread, since bread is considered a sign of hospitality. Many styles of bread and preparations date to nomad times, while others pull influence from neighboring countries. All are delicious. You are likely to find lepyoshka, dense rounds of flatbread, just about everywhere, including at markets and on tables during large meals.

If you like to take part of this workshop, please reserve your place.

Where:

Near Bokonbaevo

Duration:

2 - 3hour

Food Tour, Price per Person1 person2 persons3 persons4 persons
Total price per person650 KGS / $8,5600 KGS / $8550 KGS / $7,5500 KGS / $7

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