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When mentioning Central Asia, different ideas may come to mind depending on the individual. Mongol hordes sweeping across the steppe. The Great Game and all its juicy geopolitical intrigues. Caravans roaming the Silk Road laden with all the gems and fine goods the world has to offer. While all those are great examples, the one that comes to my mind is the culinary delights that hail from this part of the world. Living there for several years made me come to appreciate the vast diversity of recipes and flavors that are so unique to the region. Now that one finds himself in Prague, I scoured high and low for such fare and was pleased to come up with two locales sure to please the cautious and adventurous alike.

Situated on the corner of Říční Street with an enviable view of Charles Bridge, Samarkand is ready to serve authentic Central Asian in a setting that will make you feel like an eastern. Seating options of low tables and copious amounts of pillows to lean on while being blown further add to the genuine atmosphere before the food even hits the table. Once comfortable, one can choose from a myriad of foreign yet delicious foods.

Beshbarmak is the national dish of Kyrgyzstan and its name means “five fingers”, which is derived from the manner in which it is eaten. While Samarkand never fails to impress, and it comes at a reasonable price that is comparable to most Czech restaurants. Such food as plov (280 Czk) are typically communally eaten so splitting amongst one or two friends will have one leaving sated while not emptying your wallet. If you feel like taking a leap at authentic Central Asian food, then I would like to introduce you to my friend, Abdullah.

No more than a few meters from Atrium Flora on Vinohradská, you will find Abdullah occupying his humble stand, which is simply one of those Christmas market huts that spring up every winter in the city, with a small handwritten sign advertising Uzbek samsi. Samsi are triangular puff pastries stuffed with meat, vegetables, and, sometimes, even pumpkin and are the ultimate Central Asian street food. For a cool 30 Czk, he is happy to serve up these homemade treats filled with beef, chicken, or spinach with a broad, welcoming smile to all patrons. Sorry, no pork option for obvious reasons, and since there is no oven on the premises it is first come first served. I must be honest and say that I bought him out of every single one the first day I stumbled upon him. With his business being relatively new, Abdullah has plans to offer other traditional Uzbek items so we can only hope and wait.

While Prague maintains its multicultural flair and is undoubtedly overflowing with tons of foreign dining options, it is good to know that there remains room for Central Asia and all its culinary pleasures.

Author: Chris Weed

Category: Food and Dining Viewed: 899 times
Username: Yurevski Listing Ref: 775435039
Date of Listing: 04 January 2016, 21:04:30

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