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Destination: Kyrgyz Republic

Where: Central Asia, landlocked between Azerbaijan, China, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Snapshot: Spent time as a former Soviet state. Predominantly Muslim. The second poorest country in Asia, although rich is gold and other mineral deposits. Horses and horseback riding still play an integral role in culture, cuisine and transport. Tourism, based around the country’s large lakes and wilderness treks.

Time for dinner! Kyrgyz cuisine is meat heavy–usually mutton or horsemeat. Noodles, dumplings, hot red peppers, prunes, and apricots are all heavily used. Beshbarmak (boiled and shredded meat with noodles) is the national dish, and is usually eaten with the hand. Shashlik is street food, marinated meats and sometimes fish, grilled over coals and served with raw onions. Shorpa is meat and vegetable soup. Steamed, meat filled dumplings are called Manty. Laghman is a popular noodle dish, served in a vinegary, spicy sauce. Flatbreads are common; indeed, bread is considered sacred.

Drink up! Fermented mare’s milk, Kymyz. Maksym, fermented fizzy grain, popular in summer. Sheep and camel milk is also widely consumed.

Kyrgyzstan has it’s problems, but it is a beautiful country for the outdoorsy type. Read more here.

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