Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Almaty: Dining In A Traditional Kazakh Yurt

Traditional yurts can still be spotted on the outskirts of Almaty even though few Kazakhs live in yurts nowadays. While some are homes to the shepherds, some have been turned into rental accommodation and restaurants which tourists seeking an authentic living and dining experience may find an attraction. I visited one yurt restaurant at the edge of the mountain range and thoroughly enjoyed its traditional cuisines served in a very traditional setting. 
This yurt-restaurant is located beside a stream at the foothill of a mountain not too far from Kok Tobe. Yurts of differing sizes to cater for diners that come in varying numbers are used as dining rooms. 
These yurts are portable round tents that look very simple from the outside but you'll be surprised at how vibrant they are on the inside.
Besides the yurts there are other dining option in the form of raised open-air platforms separated by low walls for patrons that have come to dine at this eatery.
This is the interior of one of the yurts. It is beautifully decorated with felt carpets and multi designed tapestry on its curved walls. Each yurt is characterized by walls and carpets of different design.
The roof of the yurt is formed by long poles attached to the central roof wheel.
The wall decor in our yurt is exceptionally radiant, exuding a cheerful ambiance. We sat on felt carpets around a low table where a few appetizers and salads were already laid as we entered. Wooden bowls are placed on the table near a tub of fermented horse milk.
Kumys or fermented horse milk is well known among the Kazakhs as a very nutritious beverage. The kumys is placed in a wooden tub with a wooden ladle and are served in wooden bowls.  I drank one full bowl of this (my first time experience) and feared for my stomach as it was a little sour and has alcohol content in it. It turned out to be an unfounded fear as nothing untoward happened even after the kumys and a heavy meal. 
There were a few types of starters, salads and pilaf to go with the main dishes. These are filling enough even before the main dishes were brought out.
The besh barmak, a traditional dish among the nomadic people of Central Asia is a popular main dish in Kazakhstan. It is a noodle dish topped with generous portions of horse meat. The noodles resemble thin pieces of lasagna sheets (or our Malaysian version of flat pan mee) The dish is soupy, very rich (from the oil of the horse meat) and tasted unique to me. We were given a few big bowls of this and much went to waste as we couldn't finish eating them.
We had roasted lamb and finally roasted chicken wing by which time we were already full.
These were the leftovers. 
Just before leaving the place for the city,  I managed to capture a nice sunset photo of our dining place.


The Travelling Trini said...

Hi Lily! We are travelling to Almaty next month and I would like to experience eating in or visiting a yurt. Can you please tell me how did you find this place ?

Lily... said...

I'm sorry I really can't help you on this. Our day tour was arranged by a local Kazakh Company and I forgot to ask for the address of this place. I'm sure you can ask around when you are in Almaty.

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