What's the food like in Turkmenistan?
Turkmenistan’s cuisine is typical of Central Asia, with meat being the main focus. As it’s a Muslim country, pork is a rare find and mutton is the most common meat. Popular dishes include a soup known as Shurpa, which is made from mutton broth with the addition of tomatoes and potatoes. Shashlyk, Turkmenistan’s version of the kebab, also features skewered pieces mutton or lamb grilled over an open fire.
A typical dinner in Turkmenistan tends to consist of Pilaf. This comes in many different varieties across Central Asia, yet the two main ingredients are always meat and rice. In Turkmenistan this is then flavoured with various spices, onions and thinly cut vegetables. Pilaf would normally also be served with bread such as Chorek – a flatbread made in a clay oven known as a tamdyr. Green tea is the beverage of choice in Turkmenistan and you’ll find this drink on offer everywhere.
With such meat-focused menus, vegetarians, vegans and those with other dietary requirements will struggle to find options and it may be best to order specially prepared food. However, you will find plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables for sale at local markets.
Safe eating while travelling in Turkmenistan
Although food and water-borne illnesses can occur in any destination, in Turkmenistan it’s advised to play it safe and stick to cooked food. Be sure to avoid anything that looks undercooked such as meats, fish and eggs.