The foods eaten by the people of Tajikistan

The cuisine of Tajikistan has been influenced by its diverse geography and history, shaped by various factors such as local agricultural practices, trade, and interactions with neighboring cultures. Over the last 500 years, the staples and cooking styles have remained relatively constant, though some modern influences are now evident.

Staple Foods

  • Bread: Known as "non," bread is a staple in every meal. It comes in different varieties, often baked in clay ovens.
  • Rice: Pilaf, also known as "Oshi Palav" or "Plov," is a famous rice dish often cooked with meat and vegetables.
  • Wheat and Barley: Used in various forms like porridge or gruel, and in some traditional dishes.


  • Lamb and Mutton: The most commonly consumed meat, often used in kebabs or stews.
  • Chicken and Beef: Less common but still consumed, particularly in modern times.
  • Fish: In regions near rivers and lakes, fish is also part of the diet.
  • Dairy: Products like yogurt ("suzma"), cheese, and "qurut" (dried yogurt balls) are also important.

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Melons and Watermelons: Consumed fresh in the summertime.
  • Potatoes, Carrots, and Onions: Commonly used vegetables in stews and other dishes.
  • Apricots, Plums, and Apples: Commonly grown and consumed fresh or dried.

Herbs and Spices

  • Cumin, Coriander, and Turmeric: Commonly used to flavor dishes.
  • Fresh Herbs: Such as dill, parsley, and cilantro are used for garnishing.

Traditional Dishes

  • Shashlik: Skewered and grilled cubes of meat, usually lamb.
  • Qurutob: A traditional dish made by mixing fried onions and meat with fat and qurut (dried yogurt), often served over pieces of bread.
  • Manti: Steamed dumplings usually filled with meat or vegetables.
  • Laghman: Hand-pulled noodles served with meat and vegetables, borrowed from Uyghur cuisine.

Sweets and Desserts

  • Halwa: A sweet dish made from various ingredients like flour, nuts, and sugar.
  • Dried Fruits: Such as apricots and raisins are commonly consumed.


  • Tea: Consumed throughout the day, green and black teas are popular.
  • Kumis: Fermented mare's or cow's milk, commonly consumed in rural areas.

Foreign Influences

  • Russian Influence: Dishes like borscht and the widespread use of potatoes have Russian origins.
  • Central Asian Influence: Many dishes are shared across the Central Asian states, like pilaf and manti.

Modern Trends

  • Global Foods: In urban areas, international cuisines like Chinese, Russian, and Western fast food are becoming available.

Overall, the cuisine of Tajikistan offers a rich tapestry of flavors and ingredients, shaped by the country's history, geography, and cultural exchanges over the last 500 years.

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