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Shymkent Nightlife, Kazakhstan

Shymkent, Kazakhstan offers something for all.  Shopping, food varieties, and alcohol are all available within the city.

For those who aren’t really big shoppers, handcrafted felt items will certainly hold some appeal.  They are easy to carry and cheap to mail.

As far as food is concerned, the staples are here:  Meat, rice, pasta, and potatoes.  Vegetarians take heed, as most of the food will be cooked in meat stock.  Some of the more recommended dishes are:  Manty (steamed dumplings with meat and onions), Laghman (a noodle soup), Plov (fried rice, carrots, meat, tomatoes), Shashlyk (roasted meat chunks served on a skewer with flatbread), and Beshbarmak (flat, wide noodles, served with boiled horseflesh on the top—traditional meal of Kazakhstanians).

Eating out is very cheap, except for Japanese and Chinese dishes.  Caviar is also very cheap (1 kilo for $300 US), but you are not allowed to take it out of the country or mail it.  Many of the restaurants do not offer English menus, so speaking Russian is a plus. 

Almost any type of drink is available in Shymkent, but some of the traditional beverages are:  Kvas (similar to root beer), Kumyran (fermented camel milk), and Kumiss (fermented mare milk).  You can find cheap alcoholic drinks at the astanovka, or corner shops.  These are open all day and night.  Simply knock on the door to wake the store keeper.  Kazakhstan is known worldwide for its cognac, but vodka is still cheaper in the stores than bottled water.  Some of the astanovka sell alcohol your stomach may not like.  It is better to purchase all your beverages in a supermarket, but you will pay a higher price.

One final note, as a courtesy, do not mention the 2006 “Borat” movie.  Kazakhstan does not consider this movie an accurate portrayal of their country and you will often offend some citizens by just mentioning the movie.

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