Sponsored: To celebrate Expo 2020, What’s On explores the culinary delights of Uzbekistan – one of Expo 2020 Dubai’s leading pavilions…

Uzbekistan is a fascinating mashup of cultures and contrasts – a country where modern developments sit along ancient mosques and roads wind from frenetic bazaars to breath-taking landscapes. Threads of the ancient Silk Road still run through the historical cities of Uzbekistan, including Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. The people, ideas and goods that travelled the route have become part of Uzbekistan’s culture and cuisine.

Located at the heart of the Silk Road, Uzbekistan’s culinary tradition blends the east and west making it a perfect destination for those with a palette for exciting flavours and tastes where fragrant spices, aromatic green tea, sweets, thousands of delicious fruits and vegetables combine with heartfelt Uzbek hospitality.

Read on for nine Uzbek dishes worth trying at Voha Restaurant located at Uzbekistan Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai.

01. Plov

Arguably the country’s most popular dish. Each region cooks plov in its own unique way with over 60 recipes listed on record. Its ingredients typically feature lamb, rice, onion, carrot and spices, but can sometimes feature less traditional ingredients, depending on the festivities, including horse meat, pheasant or quail. Uzbek plov has been inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.

02. Kebab

A favourite, of course, in much of the Middle East, the faithful kebab is also a beloved dish in Uzbekistan. Standard variations include mutton, beef, chicken or liver.

03. Katlama

Katlama is fried Uzbek bread cooked with a variety of toppings. It is crispy, crunchy, buttery and full of flavour.

04. Samsa

You’ll find Samsa, also known as Uzbek samosas, everywhere from street stalls and fancy restaurants to family homes. These triangular pastries are wrapped around finely minced lamb soaked in fragrant spices and baked to golden perfection.

05. Dolma

These finger-shaped wraps of grape leaves are crammed with a medley of veggies and typically cooked in spring, when the grape leaves are young and soft and not hardened by the hot rays of the Central Asian sun.

06. Kazan Kabab

One of the more unique kebabs from Uzbek cuisine, pre-salted bone-on lamb and beef are cooked in the kazan (a cast-iron casserole dish), and served with crispy potatoes.

07. Uzbek manti

A delicacy in Uzbekistan, manti is made using delicately thin dough filled with meat and steamed in a special pot.

08. Sunflower halva

A key part to Uzbek cuisine is its sweets and halva is one of the country’s most popular desserts.  It’s essentially ground up sunflower seeds that are heated briefly, pressed down into a pan, and then chilled. The result is a dense, sweet, and nutty bar that is usually eaten on its own.

09. Shurpa

A popular starter in Uzbek cuisine, shurpa is a thick and comforting soup. A rich, fatty broth is combined with generous pieces of lamb and vegetables, and slowly cooked with fragrant spices and herbs.

Try these atVoha Restaurant

A huge draw to the Uzbekistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, Voha is an elegant yet traditional restaurant serving the best in Uzbekistan cuisine.

For more information, visit uzbekistanexpo2020.com/uzbekistan-pavilion

Images: Supplied