If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time you probably know that we break one of the most widely recognized travel rules at almost every chance we get-eating street food. Now we’ve written about our adoration of street food before and certainly Danny’s constant attraction to meat on a stick, so its possible that you think street food is delicious everywhere and certainly meat on a stick should never be passed up. Well, this week’s foodie Friday is going to prove that untrue.
Shashlik is simply meat on a stick. Grilled over a coal fire, its found all over Central Asia. No, it’s not any sort of exotic meat, its mutton (sheep), ground up and sometimes mixed with some chopped up onion. It’s generally served with a generous helping of naan (white bread) and often with some vinegar and raw onions. Unfortunately, shashlik, perhaps like so many meats on a stick, is often made with the fattiest and poorest cuts of meat. More than once there were bits of bone in my shashlik, but perhaps the most off putting of all, for me at least, was the layer of greasy fat in your mouth afterwards. No wonder its served with vinegar and onions, nothing less would cut through the fat.
Before you get angry or grossed out, let me clarify- Shashlik isn’t disgusting, not by any means. It’s just fatty, really, really fatty, and frankly the ubiquitous fatty taste and texture left in your mouth was so off putting to me I could hardly stand to eat it after a few days. Danny of course was more willing to give the meat on a stick a chance, but eventually he too agreed that it wasn’t the most eerrrr ‘delicious’ of the meats on a stick. Perhaps the Central Asians should take some lessons from our meat loving friends.
IF YOU GO: In Central Asia you’ll have to try shashlik once, but don’t say we didn’t warn you. Kazakhstan did serve it up a bit better than Uzbekistan, however.