Turkmenistan Food and Drink
Turkmen food is similar to that of the rest of Central Asia. There are a number of good Western-standard restaurants in Ashgabat, although they rarely have an extensive menu. In general, hotel food shows strong Russian influence: borcht is cabbage soup, entrecôte is a well-done steak, cutlet are grilled meat balls, and strogan is the local equivalent of beef Stroganoff. Pirmeni, originating in Ukraine, are small boiled dumplings of meat and vegetables similar to ravioli, sometimes served in a vegetable soup.
• Plov (pronounced 'plof') is the staple food for everyday (but is also served at celebrations) and consists of chunks of mutton, shredded yellow turnip and rice fried in a large wok.
• Shashlyk (skewered chunks of mutton grilled over charcoal which come with raw sliced onions) and lipioshka (rounds of unleavened bread) are served in restaurants and are often sold in the street
• Manty are larger noodle dumplings filled with meat.
• Shorpa is a meat and vegetable soup.
• Ka'urma is mutton deep-fried in its own fat and churban churpa is mutton fat dissolved in green tea.
Green tea is very popular and can be obtained almost anywhere.
Beer, wine, vodka, brandy and sparkling wine (shampanski) are all widely available in restaurants.
Kefir, a thick drinking yoghurt, is often served with breakfast.