I visited Uzbekistan again this evening but first checked the internet for what people recommended. Â Following the wisdom of the vox populi is something I’d like to make a habit and I found its commentary interesting. Â Most reviewers loved the restaurant’s food but commented on its cold service, “authentic Russian food with authentic Russian service”, but one user panned it for not being appropriately authentic. Â With this in mind, I reviewed the menu again and ordered three things and then did my homeworkÂ regardingÂ their authenticity:
Chahohbili – This is a traditional Georgian chicken stew. Â Normally, it’s made with drum sticks and a special type of hot pepper, Uzbekistan’s version used the ubiquitous Philadelphia chicken wing and Italian-style hot peppers.
Tandoor Bread – Authentic bread of this kind will be made in a cylindrical oven that almost looks like a kiln. Â Tandoori food, a la Tandoori chicken, would be cooked in the same way. Â Uzbekistan used something close to a wood-fire pizza oven so horizontal instead of vertical.
Shish Kebab – A kebab is just about any meat cooked over a flame. Â You could accurately call a grilled hamburger a ground beef kabob. Â A shish kebab is generally skewered and is popular because it takes advantage of small, cheap cuts of meat. Â It requires little fuel to prepare making it a popular street food. Â Uzbekistan probably makes shashlik, which is a popular Russian variant as the meat has a distinct marinade taste to it.
So, why the above notes? Â Because I like the contrasting stories of the restaurant vs. the reviewer that panned it as inauthentic. Â Central Asian food always struck me as focusing on practicality and here the restaurant extends that tradition. Â In another city where wings weren’t as cheap, the Georgian stew might use another piece of chicken as the base. Â I wonder if the poster commenting on inauthenticity was saying “I want home” or Â “I’m being an authenticity monitor”. Â The first is a very human story to me.