Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tashkent. Chorsu Bazaar.


From the Khast-Imam Complex, we made our way to Chorsu Bazaar.  Mavlon dropped us off and we walked a short distance to the main building.  It didn't look like the round building I had seen in the photos but somewhere I was sure that building would be here.


We walked past vendors selling everything from bootleg CDs and DVDs to bread to clothing.  It was all here.



We followed Maria up a set of steps to a building that was filled with vendors selling pretty everything to do with food....except for meat.

At the top of the steps was the section dedicated to the bakers making non, the iconic bread of Uzbekistan.  It was the first section we checked out.



Inside, there were a few bakers kneading dough, forming it into the round loaves and baking them in the wood fired, tandir ovens.  The smell of the bread, baking over burning wood, was absolutely intoxicating!

Side by side tandir ovens belonging to one of the bakers.


Baker shaping the dough; chekich for stamping the center pattern at the ready for use.

Loaves of non ready for the oven.  The pattern in the center is stamped using the chekich.

We decided to buy a medium sized non (about 8" in diameter) for 1,000 som.....about 40 US cents.

The round loaf of non we bought.  My grand plan was to eat it with the can of mystery duck meat I bought yesterday.

Situated alongside the non bakers was a samsa maker.  Several men were hard at work mixing the filling and making the savory pastries.

Mizing the meat filling for the samsa.

Rolling out squares of dough for the samsa.

Adjacent to the baking section was the bread selling section.  Here vendors were selling non, in all shapes and sizes, as well as samsa baked right next door.



From here, we walked through the bazaar.  We even sampled a bit of a sweet dish called sumalak which is made from newly sprouted wheat.  Apparently, it is something you can only get in spring.  I would describe it as a caramel-y applesauce that's a bit on the tart side.  Supposedly, it is very nutritious and is a popular dish among Uzbeks.  Click here for a detailed description and recipe for sumalak.


A sweets vendor.

Selling dried cheese.

Pre-cut yellow and orange carrots and chickpeas - key ingredients for plov. 

Fresh veggies.

The looked like oranges but according to Maria, they are actually lemons.  Or maybe a hybrid of lemon and orange?


There was a housewares section.  I was curious to see what they have.  Of course, there were things I would have bought for my kitchen just because they're useful and CHEAP!!  Unfortunately, I know I don't have room in my luggage :-(  Maria took us down the baskets aisle - just to see what Uzbeks use for putting together gift baskets for special occasions like birthdays and weddings.



We never went to the meat section but we did see one man selling meat from his cart.  Looks like either lamb or goat.

The main pavilion.

Take a 3 minute walk through the main pavilion.



Next, we headed to the circular domed pavilion that I recognized as Chorsu Bazaar.


Inside, the market was spread on two floors.  On the lower leve, vendors were positioned in concentric rings.

Lots of cheese, butter, yogurt, cream and milk for sale.

Uzbeks loved pickled veggies, especially ones

Lots and lots of pickkes.

Pickles, made by Uzbek Koreans, are particularly popular.

We spent a few minutes on the lower level before heading up to the second floor.

View of the bazaar from the upper floor.





The dried fruits and nut vendors held center stage on the second floor.



Packaged fruits and nuts imported from Turkey.

On our way out of the bazaar, walking towards our car, we passed the plov man. He was hard at work serving hungry customers.


Maria mentioned we would be going to the National Plov Center for lunch. That is supposedly THE place to go for plov in all of Tashkent. I was looking forward to that.


Watch the plov vendor dishing up a plate of plov from a gigantic pot. Notice all the orange colored lamb fat!



Smelling the plov reminded me I was getting hungry. Unfortunately, we have a couple more places to go before we can sit down for a meal.

Onward, we go!