Saida Mukhametzyanova: Tatar Folk Singer

Саида Мухаметзянова (Saida Mukhametzyanova) is a young Russian musical phenomenon known for her renditions of classic Tatar folk songs. Born in the Upper Pyshma of the Sverdlovsk Region in Russian, Saida began her musical education at a folklore singing studio at the age of four, where her teachers noticed her musical talent and encouraged her […]

Horse Trekking in Kyrgyzstan – Student Observations

While Bishkek is a modern, dynamic and constantly evolving city, it still provides an opportunity to tap into the ancient nomadic traditions of the Kyrgyz people. One of those traditions, horseback traveling, is becoming increasingly popular with SRAS students – and surely for a good reason. Practicing Russian and Kyrgyz while learning about local culture […]

Manti, Pozi, Bauzi: More Than Just Another Dumpling

Манты (manti) are steamed dumplings consisting of ground meat and spices in an unleavened pastry shell. Манты are a popular dish across Central Asia, Pakistan, Northern China, Turkey, and Russia. They are considered native to Central Asia, but are also thought to have descended from a still-older Chinese dish. Почему они носят такое название? It […]

Cheburek: The Half-moon Pastry from Crimea

On streets throughout the post-Soviet space, you can generally find the чебурек (cheburek) — a juicy, fried, savory pastry — for sale. This tasty treat likely originated in Turkey or Crimea and its popularity slowly traveled north and eventually spread throughout what is today the former USSR. Почему они носят такое название? Чебурек was likely […]

Kyrgyz on Kyrgyzstan

What defines being Kyrgyz? Defining something as broad as a nationality or ethnicity is always complicated. I decided to get a view specifically from young Kyrgyz women and interviewed Bigemai, 27 and Aiza, 22 for their thoughts. Bigemai grew up in Bishkek, the oldest of four siblings. She works professionally as a hairdresser and volunteers […]

New Year’s Eve: Student Observations

The New Year is, without doubt, the most important holiday on the Russian calendar. It equates if not outstrips the importance of Christmas in America, if to compare the two holidays in the two cultures. New Year in Russia is a time to be together with family and friends, for gift giving, major consumer spending, […]

Plov: A Central Asian Rice Staple

Плов (Plov) is a hearty dish made from deep fried meat and vegetables, over which rice is cooked. Плов is considered a national dish in many countries of Central Asia and the Near and Middle East ‒ Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan. It is generally popular over most of the area that the Soviet Union […]

Oromo: Kyrgyz Food with Vegetarian Options

For those obsessed with all things pumpkin — pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice-cream, pumpkin-spice lattes — оромо is sure to please. Oромо is a rolled, layered, steamed pastry that comes with various fillings (pumpkin being common and our favorite). It evokes everything we love about pumpkin season back home in the States. This main dish is […]

Guide to Religion in Russia

The following resource is meant to quickly but thoroughly overview the subject of religion in Russia. It includes statistics on membership, information on major organizations and institutions, and links to sites offering histories. Mention of religion in other FSU countries is made as well. Your suggestions and comments are always welcome! Contact the Author Table […]

Thanksgiving Dinner in Bishkek

Thanksgiving might be the most difficult holiday to miss as an American abroad. As far as Christmas and New Year’s go there’s a good chance you may get to go home in December to experience familiar holiday cheer. Or it’s likely that your host-country can provide a less-familiar, albeit still pleasant, Christmas and New Year […]

Lagman: Central Asian Noodles & Broth

Лагман (lagman) is a dish that is very common in Central Asia, China, and much of Russia. While the basic recipe has perhaps hundreds of local variations, this simple and filling dish always consists of noodles floating in broth or soaked in a savory sauce with vegetables and often features meat, spices, and various savory […]

Chak-chak: A Glorious and Celebratory Fried Honey Cake

Чак-чак (chak-chak) is a dessert food made from deep-fried dough drenched in a hot honey syrup and formed into a certain shape, most commonly a mound or pyramid. It is popular all over the former Soviet Union. In Russia, чак-чак is especially associated with the Tatar and Bashkortostan republics, where it is considered a national […]

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