Zhaya is a Kazakh dish made from horse meat cuts from the rump and hind legs.

Lastest Updated May 27, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
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Fact: Zhaya highlights the role of horse meat in Kazakhstan.

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Basic Information

Zhaya: Basic Information



Alternative Name(s)


Dish Type

Boiled dishes





Popular Variations

Origin and Region

Zhaya: Origin and Region



Continent’s Region

Central Asia

Country’s Region

Nationwide Origin

Associated Region

Kazakhstan Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Zhaya: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Horse meat (specifically from the hip and hind legs)

Main Cooking Method

Drying and boiling

Preparation Process

Cutting the meat, salting, drying, smoking, boiling.
A Deep Dive

Zhaya: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

Part of traditional Kazakh cuisine, reflecting the nomadic lifestyle.








Brown or red

Serving Style

In a plate or bowl

Serving Temperature

At room temperature




On any occasions



Special Diets






Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Beshbarmak
  2. Qazı
  3. Kuurdak

Popular Dining Area

Local households, restaurants, eateries

Zhaya is a traditional Kazakh dish of meat taken from the horse’s rump and hind legs. It consists of horse meat that is salted, dried, smoked, and boiled before serving.

Zhaya Overview

Zhaya is typically served as an appetizer with vegetables. Locals sometimes serve it alongside other horse meat-based delicacies, such as qazı (horse meat sausage) and zhal (smoked fat from the horse’s neck).

Stay tuned for more facts about zhaya, including its upsides, downsides, commonly asked questions, and similar dishes.

Key Points

  • Zhaya is a traditional Kazakh dish made from horse meat.
  • Locals make zhaya with the meat taken from the horse’s rump and hind legs.
  • To prepare zhaya, the horse meat is salted, dried, smoked, and boiled.

Zhaya Images

Pros and Cons of Eating Zhaya

Zhaya consumption has the following advantages and disadvantages.


  • Cultural Significance: Zhaya is deeply rooted in Kazakh culture and traditions, so eating this dish is a way to experience and appreciate Kazakh heritage and culinary practices.
  • Nutritional Value: Horse meat, which is the primary ingredient in zhaya, is high in protein and low in fat compared to some other types of red meat.
  • Unique Flavor: Zhaya offers the unique taste of horse meat that is different from common options like beef or chicken.


  • Cultural Concerns: In many cultures, eating horse meat is considered taboo or unethical, so zhaya might not be suitable for them.
  • Availability: Outside of Kazakhstan, it might be challenging to find authentic zhaya.
  • Acquired Taste: The flavor and texture of horse meat might not be appealing to everyone.

To further your understanding of zhaya, check out the FAQs for more information.

Zhaya FAQs

No, zhaya doesn’t require any spices during the cooking process, except for a considerable amount of salt for salting the meat.

Zhaya can be refrigerated for 2 – 3 days and frozen for 2 – 3 months.

Similar Dishes of Zhaya


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


Qazı is a dish that is like a sausage with horse meat as the filling encased by an intestine.


Kuurdak is a Central Asian and Mongolian meat dish.

Adam Sam

Adam Sam

Senior Food and Drink Editor


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


  • 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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