What we love about New York City is that you can find food from anywhere in the world here, even delicacies from Central Asia. Luckily for us, New York has a swelling community of Central Asians who have begun to migrate here after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Iron Curtain, and have opened many Central Asian restaurants where you can catch up on all the food that you have been homesick for.
Dishes of the region include the juicy marinated grilled meat of shashlyk, the julienned Korean-style salad morkovcha, the tandoor-baked lepeshki, hand-pulled lagman noodles, and many other homemade delicacies. Prior to the establishment of borders between the republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in the 1920-1930s, this region was a much more fluid network of connections and routes, the outcome of which is that Central Asian cuisine consists of dishes that one will find in a range of countries.
For example, you can find that each region has their version of the rice dish of plov, and everyone claims that their plov is the best. In Osh, Kyrgyzstan, they make plov with red rice (grown on red clay soil) and yellow carrots. In Uzbekistan, every city has their own plov. Here’s a look at some of our favorite Central Asian restaurants where you’ll find some of the best mixing and melding of the regions cuisine.
5. KashKar Cafe
Our first and favorite thing to eat in a Central Asian restaurant is a dish called laghman. Although some regard laghman as an Uighur or Dunghan dish, these hand-stretched noodles served with the sauce made of vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic) meat and broth, are one of the staple dishes of any restaurant in Central Asia and New York. There are variations of laghman without broth (guiru laghman) or fried. All are absolutely delicious.
Our favorite place to get laghman is KashKar Cafe, a Brighton Beach homestyle BYOB restaurant. The restaurant gets its name from the city of Kashgar, a historic trading outpost west of the Pamir Mountains at the foot of the vast Taklamakan Desert. This Kashgar outpost finds itself in New York, where it places a heavy emphasis on grilling meats (particularly lamb), among serving other Uzebk favorites.
KashKar Cafe (1141 Brighton Beach Ave, between Brighton 14th St & Brighton 15th St, Brooklyn).