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Uzbek Cuisine


hkvanx
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spent the wkend in philly.....drove past a small uzbekistan restaurant

my friends and I decided to give it a shot with an open mind. We read the menu posted on the front glass door. Reasonable prices. Soups/salads from $3-5. Hot entrees from $5-10. Kebobs from $2-5. Very intimate setting and middle eastern decor. Two flat screen tv playing old 80's music video. Had a very surreal feel to the restaurant.

We decided to try a little of everything. The waitor was patient with us and explained what each dish was. The menu is written in native uzbekistan script on the main side. The back side had an less than stellar english version. We found out why this is case with the stream of native customers coming in. We were the only non-native patrons. We were shock at how good everything was.

I am back in northern virginia now and would like to continue exploring my new found love of authentic uzbekistan cruisine. Please advice on where I shall direct my next trip.

Thanks.

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Uzbeki food is closer to Central and South Asia (i.e. Afghanistan, Persia, some but not all Pakistani) than to Middle Eastern. It's a lot heavier and starchier. I don't think there's an Uzbeki restaurant in this area.

For a bit of historical trivia for you, Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, is famed for abundance of fruit, vegetables and food in general. During World War II it received millions of evacuees from Middle Russia because famine was never a threat in that area.

Also, in my hometown, if you can't make Uzbek pilaf, you are not marriage material.

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Yep, looks a lot like Afghan kwizeen:

Whole Lotta Mutton...

You won't find a lot of ocean-fresh fish, that's for sure: Uzbekistan is doubly landlocked, meaning that all countries surrounding it are also landlocked.

In the Tashkent newspaper Hurriyyat, there's a beloved comic-strip depicting a fanciful pair of sheep, one short, the other tall - it's called Мyттoн Джеф.

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The only Uzbek restaurant I have been to was Uzbek in Hollywood Calif many years ago. I recall loving the food and yet we never made it back before we moved far away from there (Chatsworth not DC, that was later!). While it was similar to other cuisines, it had its own twist that I really loved. But most of all it was a social hall for an exile community. There was the atmosphere of folks talking in a foreign language in the familiar way that suggests everyone is family or friends. We felt like we were guests in their house.

Since I have Uzbek in my background (the Gold's were chased from a number of interesting locations in their checkered history), I would love to know more about this cuisine. How about the name of the place in Philly?

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Tashkent

842 Red Lion Road #3-4, Philadelphia, PA 19115-1475

Cuisines: Russian

Tel: 215-464-0106

Try the lamgard soup....outstanding...stew soup w/ lamb, noodles, and vegetable

Lamb and chicken kebats are jumping with fresh herbs flavors

kebats are $2-3 a skewer....with 5 pieces each served w/ onions on the side

I ordered a hot entree that included lamb meat but it wasnt as good as piping hot kebats fresh off the charcoal grill

so I would recommend you order like 5 kebats and ask for rice on the side.....what a bargain!!!

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hkvankx, where you in NE Philly? In a strip mall (where most are) ?

There is a large population of Russians in the NE with a corresponding and growing number of Russian restaurants. I've seen a couple openings recently. In the NE, there is Tashkent, on Red Lion Rd. Click.

eta: sorry, I didn't see your post up there :blink:

Anyways, if you cruise the Bustleton/Krewstown/Red Lion area, you'll be sure to find some little gems.

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monavano....thx for tip!

I was in the Krewstown/Bustleton/Red Lion area for a hockey tournament and just stumpled across it

I live in northern virginia near Washington DC.

What other Russian places do you recommend in Philly?

Historically, has there always been a large russian population outside of philly? I was shock to find an Uzbek place in north philly!

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monavano....thx for tip!

I was in the Krewstown/Bustleton/Red Lion area for a hockey tournament and just stumpled across it

I live in northern virginia near Washington DC.

What other Russian places do you recommend in Philly?

Historically, has there always been a large russian population outside of philly? I was shock to find an Uzbek place in north philly!

Hmmm....from your question it seems as though maybe you believed you were outside of Philadelphia at Tashkan. You were in the "Far Northeast" section of Northeast Philadelphia, or sometimes called the "Bustleton" section and "Krewstown" section. All are within the city proper.

I frequent the Jewish Deli's and Diners in the Northeast, more than the Russian restaurants( I tend to chow at the Polish joints in the Port Richmond section of NE Philly), but can post a couple that I know of in the Philadelphia section of this board. I'll have to do some research to get the names right, because if they are written in English, it's still hard to remember them!

But I know where they are and can point you toward them.

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My quick scrounge of The Google yesterday revealed a couple of bustling Uzbek threads out there, in which Washington DC was repeatedly named as having a sizeable Uzbek community but zero restaurants (for which the most common names seem to be "Tashkent", "Samarkand", or simply "Uzbekistan"). NYC and Toronto appear to be where the dining action is.

(and dang, reading about it really makes me want to try plov)

(bonus trivia: Uzbekistan is the world's only "stan-locked" country)

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Historically, has there always been a large russian population outside of philly? I was shock to find an Uzbek place in north philly!

As has been pointed out, that area is within the city limits--Philly is a big city!

I was born and raised there, and I remember 40 or 50 years ago there was an active Polish community in that area. I'm not sure about Russian or Uzbeki communities at that time, but I'll ask my family.

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Here is a menu of Uzbeki dishes that I had catered at the Embassy of Uzbekistan a few years ago:

-Dim Sum

-Plov: Traditional Uzbeki rice dish with carrots, onions and various Central Asian spices

-Samsa: Traditional Uzbeki fried dough filled with either pumpkin or meat and onions

-Monti: Traditional Uzbeki steamed or fried dumplings filled with either pumpkin or with meat and onions

-Gamma: Traditional Uzbeki fried dumplings filled with meat and potatoes

Note - Dim Sum is really Asian cuisine, but Uzbekistan is geographically located between at least 3 major cultures: Asian, Middle Eastern/Persian and European. The food reflects a certain hardiness in comparison to Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine which may reflect the living conditions in the area? One thing I learned without a question - beef is always served well-done and meat is cooked all the way through - I've also noticed this in Middle Eastern culture, possibly it has to do with either the quality of meat (lack of refrigeration?) or some other preference? When I was in a Marrakesh bazaar, meat was served "fresh" in other words, before rigor mortis set in - vendors show their meat to shoppers as bloody and fresh - just the opposite of "aging" beef!

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