Beshbarmak

Beshbarmak is a Central Asian dish consisting of boiled and chopped meat and onions on a bed of egg noodles.

Lastest Updated January 5, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
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Fact: Beshbarmak is the national dish of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

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Basic Information

Beshbarmak: Basic Information

Pronunciation

/beʃbɑrˈmɑχ/ or
/beh-sh-bar-mahk/

Alternative Name(s)

Naryn, turama, dograma, gaýyş, kullama, tuuralgan et

Dish Type

Dry noodle dishes, boiled dishes

Course

Main Course

Mealtime

Dinner

Popular Variations

No
Origin and Region

Beshbarmak: Origin and Region

Origin

Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan

Continent’s Region

Central Asia

Country’s Region

Nationwide Origin

Associated Region

Unspecified
Beshbarmak Origin Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Beshbarmak: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Flour, lamb or horse meat, and chyk (onions cooked in meat broth)

Main Cooking Method

Boiling

Preparation Process

Boiling the meat and serving it with dough (typically egg noodles) and chyk
A Deep Dive

Beshbarmak: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

The national dish of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Taste

Savory

Texture

Tender meat and soft noodles

Aroma

Savory aroma from meat and onions

Color

Typically brownish

Serving Style

Served on communal platters and eaten with hands

Serving Temperature

Hot

Accompaniment

Salads, such as shalgam (radish salad)

Occasions

Festivals

Seasons

Year-round

Special Diets

Non diet-specific

Calories

430 calories, according to data of MyFitnessPal for one serving (350 grams) of beshbarmak with broth

Popularity

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Xinjiang (China), and parts of Russia

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Laghman
  2. Kesme
  3. Ahlan Fu

Popular Dining Area

Local households, restaurants, eateries

Beshbarmak is a famous dish in many Central Asian countries, especially in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Beshbarmak is the national dish of those two countries.

Beshbarmak Infographic

Beshbarmak is also well-known in Tajikistan, Xinjiang (China), and the republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan in Russia.

Beshbarmak features boiled meat, pasta-like egg noodles, and chyk (onions cooked in meat broth). The noodles are also cooked in the broth.

The name beshbarmak means “five fingers,” referring to the local practice of eating the boiled meat and noodle dish with one’s hands. Locals often serve beshbarmak on a dastarkhan (a tablecloth spread on the floor or a low table).

Read on to discover the intriguing facts about this Central Asian delicacy, such as its origin, main ingredients, and serving practices. You will also learn about the pros and cons of consuming beshbarmak, the answers to common questions about it, and similar dishes.

Key Points

  • Beshbarmak is a popular dish in Central Asia and the national dish of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
  • Meat (lamb or horse meat), pasta-like square noodles, and onions are the main ingredients of beshbarmak.
  • Associated with the region’s nomadic culture, beshbarmak is typically served in a communal setting.
  • The way of serving beshbarmak reflects the local social structure, with special treatment for old people.

Beshbarmak Images

What Is the Origin of Beshbarmak?

Beshbarmak originated in the nomadic tradition of Central Asia. Historically, local inhabitants were on the move all the time, so their cattle became a significant source of food.

Beshbarmak is also tailor-made for eating with hands, a popular way of serving foods in the region. Besides meat, beshbarmak features other ingredients popular in local cuisine, such as noodles and onions.

What Is Beshbarmak Made of?

Beshbarmak usually contains the following 4 types of ingredients:

Horse Meat

Meat

Lamb or horse meat

Square-shaped Egg Noodles

Noodles

Square-shaped egg noodles

Onions Cooked

Chyk

Onions cooked in meat broth

Kazy And Chuchuk

Extra Ingredients

Central Asian sausages: kazy and chuchuk
Meat: Beef
Vegetables: Potatoes, carrots, herbs, etc.

Beshbarmak served on festive occasions or prepared in modern ways usually features additional ingredients. However, many locals still prefer to serve beshbarmak the traditional way.

How to Serve Beshbarmak the Traditional Way?

The traditional manner of serving beshbarmak depends on the following 4 factors:

  • Composition: A portion of beshbarmak is made of multiple thin slices of boiled meat and onion rings on a bed of small, square noodle sheets, with the broth served separately.
  • Serving style: Beshbarmak is served on a wide platter or tray on a dastarkhan. The consumers share the meat and noodles from this communal plate and eat them by hand. The traditional setting reinforces the ritual element in enjoying beshbarmak, affirming the links with the nomadic traditions.
  • Distribution of meat: The choice cuts of the meat, such as those from the head, tailbone, and thigh bones, are reserved for old people and honored guests. Children enjoy the meat on the spine, while the rest usually goes to young adults.
  • Serving order: During a multi-meal course, the host normally offers beshbarmak between shorpo (soup). Since beshbarmak is rich and full of protein, the shorpo served afterward is often made with tangy yogurt or fermented milk to aid digestion.

Does beshbarmak sound like a fantastic dish to you? Before trying it, let’s learn about the pros and cons of eating beshbarmak to adjust your expectations better.

Beshbarmak3
Beshbarmak served on an ornately carved palette with many traditional Kazakh dishes for holiday.

Pros and Cons of Eating Beshbarmak

Here are some upsides and downsides of beshbarmak:

Pros

  • Nutritional Profile: Beshbarmak has a high protein and carb content, creating a filling and nutritious dish.
  • Cultural Immersion: Since beshbarmak is deeply rooted in the nomadic traditions of Central Asia, eating it provides a wonderful experience of local history and culture.
  • Communal Eating:Central Asian people usually serve beshbarmak in large gatherings, so sharing the dish with locals is a golden chance to socialize and make new friends.

Cons

  • Dietary Restrictions: People on a vegan or gluten-free diet may find it challenging to enjoy beshbarmak.
  • Acquired Taste: In many places, horse meat is used as the main ingredient for beshbarmak, so people unfamiliar with the meat may appreciate it less.
  • Cultural Sensitivities: Beshbarmak is always eaten with hands, so people who aren’t used to this way of serving food need to learn new skills before eating the Central Asian delicacy.

Overall, beshbarmak is a nutritious dish that offers a deep dive into Central Asian culture; refer to FAQs for more insights.

Beshbarmak FAQs

No, beshbarmak can’t contain pork because all the Central Asian countries follow Islam, which forbids the consumption of pork.

Beshbarmak is a significant dish in Kazakhstan because of its ties to the history, culture, and nomadic traditions of the country. As Kazakhstan’s national dish, beshbarmak stands for hospitality and cultural identity of the Central Asian nation.

Yes. While authentic beshbarmak isn’t vegetarian-friendly, some modern versions replace meat with mushrooms, tofu, or vegetables while retaining the pasta and broth elements of the dish.

Storing leftover beshbarmak is similar to storing other pasta and meat dishes. Keep the broth separate from the meat and noodles, then keep them in air-tight containers.

Next, refrigerate both containers and consume the leftovers within no more than 2-3 days. Reheat the broth and the solid ingredients together or on their own, depending on your preferences.

Adam Sam

Adam Sam

Senior Food and Drink Editor

Expertise

Food Writer & Recipe Developer, Recipe Tester, Bartender, Cooking-video Maker, Editor In Chief

Education

  • University of Gastronomic Sciences – Pollenzo (Italy) (MA Food Culture, Communication & Marketing)
  • Johnson & Wales University (US) (Baking and Pastry Arts)
  • Professional Bartender at HNAAu School (Vietnam, International Joint Training Program)

Adam Sam, an experienced food writer and recipe developer, is passionate about blending diverse culinary traditions, national dishes, and innovative beverages, showcasing his proficiency in both traditional and modern recipe testing.

As the Editor-in-Chief, he elevates culinary content from street food to fine dining, focusing on Western cuisine and types of drinks at azcuisines.com, and is professional in creating engaging cooking videos that simplify complex dishes and ingredients.

His passion for food is evident in his writing, where he uniquely merges various cultures, traditions, and contemporary trends, skillfully combining classic recipes with modern cooking methods.

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