So Tajik food. Let's talk about it. Tajik food was described to me as "bland" and "oily" by several people before the trip. A warning that I didn't heed very seriously - after all, Arabs manage to make absolutely delicious food with what they have. Tajiks can do the same, right?
Let's take a look at the national dish of Tajikistan, (pictured above). Osh is… oily. And it isn't exactly flavorful. It's basically rice, carrots, and potatoes in oil and topped with mystery meat. Tajiks don't butcher animals (i.e. by body part, type of muscle, usage) the way we do in the U.S. They basically kind of hack away at a carcass until the meat is in smallish pieces. I mean, I'm all about using the whole animal. I just like to know what kind of animal, and what part of the animal I'm eating.
In any case, Tajik food seems to be designed to stretch meat by using rice, carrots, potatoes, lentils, and onions. Essentially you're getting a 2 ounce portion of mystery meat (where did this cartilage come from? Neckbone? Lamb? Beef? Shank? Rib? Wha?) and then lentil/rice/potato filler. I mean, we're certainly not going hungry. It just means that most Americans have their families send over Tabasco Sauce from the States. Below you'll find photos of typical Tajik dinners - note the presence of carrot, potato, meat.
P.S. Yes I know you're not reading this blog to hear me complain about Tajiki food - I'll update with more interesting content in the near future.