Cooking with the Kazakhs

While still in Uzbekistan, I had a yurt homestay with an extended family of Kazakhs. Ever since I was a child, dreaming of Central Asia and Mongolia, I have wanted to stay in a yurt. A wooden frame wrapped in skins and decorated with colorful fabrics. The sometimes elaborate carved or painted wooden doors. Simple on the outside and dark and mysterious within. All of … Read more

Uzbek Homestay in Paradise

I’ve just returned from a homestay in a small mountain village in Uzbekistan’s Nurata mountains. For a couple of days, I was welcomed into the life of a family in a small house perched amongst steep rocky hills. Sitting on the porch of the house, one can hear a symphony of birds with occasional accompaniment from barking dogs, lambs calling for their mothers and donkeys … Read more

White Mulberries

I spent many a contented hour of my childhood grazing on wild mulberries in the woods near my parents’ home. My friends and I would feast on the dark, ripe berries, rushing to get to them before the birds, and return home only when we were dizzy from their sweet flavor. Our mouths and hands would be stained a reddish-purple, and the scent of the … Read more

An Evening in Tashkent

If you ever find yourself hungry in Tashkent and want a wonderful sit-down dining experience, go to The Caravan. The food is classic Uzbek: Lagman, Norin, Beshbarmak, and Manti, and it is very good. But the dining experience at Caravan goes beyond the food, the restaurant is a work of art, and its beauty enhances the enjoyment of the food. The garden is draped with … Read more

Flavors of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is a place to dream about: a far-away land of palaces, emperors, mosques and some of the world’s most beautiful stark and stunning scenery. A sigh, a sip of tea, and no matter where you are, you imagine yourself perusing the exotic goods in crowded market, or on a caravan heading east towards the Fergana, with its dangers, mysteries and potential treasures. (For other … Read more

Uzbekistan: The Crossroads of Asia

Throughout its history, Uzbekistan has been one of the world’s great commercial and cultural crossroads. Across its length ran the Northern Silk Road, the lifeline that the caravans and traders travelled exchanging gems, spices, and other rare items from the orient to the West and back again. Evidence of episodic trade in semi-precious gems (jade and lapis lazuli) between China and Afghanistan along the Silk … Read more

Celebrating Central Asia

In addition to my day job, my duties as a wife and mother and holiday preparations, I’ve been busy writing the text for the second volume of Silk Road Gourmet. The volume covers what I call the “fusion” cuisines of Central Asia, the Himalayas and the Indo-Pacific. These are the countries that combine distinctly western Asian and Eastern Asian elements in unique ways to form … Read more