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Eating Uzbek Horse Meat In Moscow


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Loralee Ciccone



When it comes to exploring the vibrant culinary landscape of Moscow, one cannot overlook the unique and intriguing gastronomic experience of Uzbek horsemeat. Though controversial and often met with mixed opinions, the consumption of horsemeat has a long-standing history in the region and holds cultural significance for the Uzbek community.


The relationship between Russia and horses traces back centuries, with horses serving as faithful companions, reliable modes of transportation, and even sources of sustenance. As a result, the tradition of consuming horsemeat gradually evolved within the Russian dietary culture, particularly among the Uzbek population residing in Moscow.


Despite the controversies surrounding the consumption of horsemeat in certain parts of the world, it is important to understand the cultural context and historical significance associated with this practice in Moscow. Exploring Uzbek horsemeat dishes not only provides a deeper understanding of the local culture, but also offers a unique and unforgettable experience for adventurous food enthusiasts.


In this article, we will delve into the history of Uzbek horsemeat consumption, highlight the horsemeat markets in Moscow, introduce traditional Uzbek horsemeat dishes, address controversies and ethical concerns surrounding the practice, discuss the health benefits and nutritional value of horsemeat, and even provide a delicious recipe for Uzbek horsemeat pilaf.


So, join us on this gastronomic journey as we uncover the fascinating world of Uzbek horsemeat in Moscow, and get ready to tantalize your taste buds with the rich flavors and cultural heritage that this unique culinary tradition has to offer.


History of Uzbek Horsemeat Consumption

The consumption of horsemeat has deep historical roots in the Uzbek culture, dating back several centuries. Horses have played a significant role in the nomadic lifestyle of the Central Asian region, including Uzbekistan, where they were not only prized for their strength and endurance but also considered a valuable source of nutrition.


Traditional Uzbek cuisine is known for its rich and diverse flavors, with horsemeat being a prominent ingredient in many of their iconic dishes. Historically, horsemeat was consumed by nomadic tribes as a means of survival in harsh environments, where horses were readily available for consumption. Over time, as Uzbekistan evolved into a settled civilization, the tradition of consuming horsemeat continued to be passed down through generations.


In the 19th and 20th centuries, with the influx of Uzbek immigrants into Moscow, the culinary traditions of Uzbekistan made their way into the bustling city. As a result, Uzbek horsemeat dishes became increasingly popular among both the Uzbek diaspora and locals curious to explore new culinary experiences.


It is important to note that the consumption of horsemeat in Moscow extends beyond the Uzbek community. Moscow has long been known as a cultural melting pot, with people from different regions of Russia and various ethnic backgrounds residing in the city. This cultural diversity has contributed to the vibrant food scene, where horsemeat dishes have found their place among the wide array of culinary options available.


While some may view the consumption of horsemeat as controversial, it is essential to respect and appreciate the cultural heritage and culinary traditions of different communities. Understanding the historical context helps us grasp the significance and meaning attached to certain dietary practices, allowing for a more holistic and nuanced understanding of food culture in Moscow and beyond.


With this historical foundation in place, let us now explore the vibrant horsemeat markets in Moscow and discover the tantalizing flavors of traditional Uzbek horsemeat dishes.


Horsemeat Markets in Moscow

In Moscow, the availability of horsemeat is primarily centered around specialized markets that cater to the demand for this unique ingredient. These markets, often located in neighborhoods with a significant Uzbek population, offer a wide variety of cuts and preparations of horsemeat.


One such famous market is Tashkent Bazaar, located in the heart of Moscow. This bustling market has become a hub for Uzbek horsemeat vendors, attracting locals and tourists alike. Here, you can find a wide range of cuts, from tenderloin and ribeye to ground horsemeat for various recipes.


The market is a vibrant and colorful sight, with vendors displaying their offerings in neatly arranged stalls. The aroma of spices fills the air, enticing passersby to explore the diverse culinary options available. Along with horsemeat, you can find an assortment of other Central Asian ingredients, such as spices, herbs, and unique produce.


Another popular horsemeat market in Moscow is Orzu Bazaar. This market not only offers a vast selection of horsemeat, but also provides a unique cultural experience reminiscent of the bustling bazaars found in Uzbekistan. The vibrant atmosphere, filled with haggling vendors and animated conversations, adds to the charm of this culinary destination.


Aside from specialized markets, there are also butcher shops and supermarkets in Moscow that offer horsemeat as part of their meat selection. These establishments often cater to a wider customer base, and you can find horsemeat packaged and ready for purchase to cook at home.


It is worth noting that the availability of horsemeat can vary throughout the city, and these markets and shops are concentrated in specific neighborhoods. However, with the growing interest in diverse food cultures, you may also find horsemeat dishes served in select Uzbek restaurants and even in non-Uzbek establishments that embrace the culinary traditions of different cultures in Moscow.


Exploring these horsemeat markets not only allows you to source high-quality cuts for your culinary adventures, but also offers an immersive cultural experience as you interact with vendors and learn about the history and traditions associated with Uzbek horsemeat.


Now that we have explored the horsemeat markets in Moscow, let us delve into the intriguing world of traditional Uzbek horsemeat dishes and discover the flavors that make them so beloved by locals and visitors alike.


Traditional Uzbek Horsemeat Dishes

Traditional Uzbek cuisine boasts a wide array of horsemeat dishes that showcase the rich flavors and unique cooking techniques of the region. These dishes have become an integral part of the culinary heritage of both Uzbekistan and Moscow, offering a taste of authenticity to those willing to explore this gastronomic tradition.


One of the most well-known Uzbek horsemeat dishes is Tashkent kebab. Made from marinated and grilled horsemeat, Tashkent kebab is known for its tender and succulent texture. The marinade, typically consisting of a blend of aromatic spices, garlic, and onion, infuses the meat with delightful flavors, making it a favorite among meat lovers.


Another popular dish is Kumis, a traditional fermented horse milk beverage. While not directly a horsemeat dish, it is often consumed alongside horsemeat dishes in Uzbek cuisine. Kumis has a slightly tart and fizzy taste, and its unique flavor profile complements the rich flavors of horsemeat dishes, providing a refreshing and culturally significant pairing.


Uzbek horsemeat pilaf, known as “Osh,” is a cherished dish enjoyed by Uzbek communities in Moscow. This aromatic rice dish is made with tender horsemeat, fragrant spices, vegetables, and sometimes dried fruits or nuts. The flavors meld together as the ingredients cook slowly over low heat, resulting in a hearty and satisfying meal.


Ishkandar kebab is another popular horsemeat dish that originated in Uzbekistan and can be found in Moscow. It is made from thin strips of horsemeat sautéed with onions, tomatoes, and spices. Served on a bed of warm bread, it combines the savory flavors of meat and vegetables with the slight tanginess of tomatoes.


Shashlik, a type of skewered meat, is also a common dish in Uzbek cuisine. While it can be made with various types of meat, including lamb and chicken, horsemeat shashlik is a distinct and favored variation. The succulent horsemeat is marinated and then grilled to perfection, resulting in tender and flavorful kebabs.


These traditional Uzbek horsemeat dishes not only highlight the culinary expertise of Uzbek chefs but also showcase the cultural significance and deep-rooted traditions associated with horsemeat consumption in Moscow. Exploring these dishes provides a unique culinary experience that allows you to delve into the rich flavors and cultural heritage of Uzbek cuisine.


Now that we have tantalized your taste buds, it is important to address the controversies and ethical concerns surrounding the consumption of horsemeat in Moscow.


Controversies and Ethical Concerns

Horsemeat consumption has long been a topic of controversy and ethical debate around the world, and Moscow is no exception. While it is important to respect diverse cultural traditions and culinary practices, it is equally essential to consider the ethical concerns raised by those who oppose the consumption of horsemeat.


One of the main arguments against horsemeat consumption is the emotional connection that many people have with horses. Horses are often regarded as companion animals, loyal partners in sports and recreational activities, and symbols of freedom and grace. For individuals who view horses purely as companions and not as food sources, the idea of consuming horsemeat can be emotionally distressing.


Furthermore, concerns about the welfare of horses in the horsemeat industry also contribute to the ethical debate. The conditions in which horses are raised, transported, and slaughtered are important factors to consider. Practices that do not prioritize animal welfare can lead to suffering and inhumane treatment, which raises ethical concerns for animal rights activists and organizations.


In response to these concerns, it is crucial for consumers to make informed choices about the sources of horsemeat they purchase. By supporting reputable suppliers who prioritize the humane treatment of animals throughout the entire process, individuals can ensure that they are making ethical and responsible decisions about their food consumption.


It is also important for governments and regulatory bodies to enforce stringent standards and regulations in the horsemeat industry to ensure the welfare of the animals involved. Careful monitoring, inspections, and transparent labeling can help consumers make informed choices and ensure that the horsemeat they consume comes from ethical sources.


While controversies and ethical concerns surrounding horsemeat consumption exist, it is important to approach these discussions with an open mind and a willingness to understand different perspectives. Respecting cultural diversity and culinary traditions is crucial, but it is equally important to evaluate the ethical implications of our food choices.


Now that we have addressed the controversies and ethical concerns, let us explore the health benefits and nutritional value of horsemeat, shedding light on its potential as a nutritious protein source.


Health Benefits and Nutritional Value of Horsemeat

Horsemeat is a rich source of essential nutrients and offers several potential health benefits. While it is important to emphasize that individual dietary needs may vary, incorporating horsemeat into a balanced diet can contribute to a well-rounded nutritional profile.


Horsemeat is notably high in protein, which plays a crucial role in numerous bodily functions, including muscle growth and repair, immune function, and hormone production. Protein is also essential for maintaining healthy hair, skin, and nails.


In addition to protein, horsemeat contains essential vitamins and minerals. It is particularly rich in B vitamins, such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B12. These vitamins play vital roles in energy production, brain function, and the formation of red blood cells.


Horsemeat also provides important minerals like iron, zinc, and selenium. Iron is essential for transporting oxygen in the body and preventing iron deficiency anemia, while zinc and selenium contribute to immune function and support the body’s antioxidant defenses.


Furthermore, horsemeat is generally low in fat compared to other types of red meat. It contains a favorable balance of saturated and unsaturated fats, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These healthy fats have been associated with reduced inflammation, improved heart health, and cognitive function.


It is important to note that the nutritional composition of horsemeat can vary depending on the specific cut and preparation method. Lean cuts of horsemeat, such as tenderloin and sirloin, tend to have lower fat content. However, processed horse products, such as sausages and cured meats, may contain higher levels of sodium and fat due to their processing methods.


As with any protein source, moderation is key. It is recommended to incorporate a variety of protein sources into your diet, including lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes, and plant-based alternatives.


Before making any significant dietary changes, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to ensure it aligns with your individual health needs and goals.


Now that we have explored the health benefits and nutritional value of horsemeat, let us satisfy our culinary curiosity by diving into a classic recipe for Uzbek horsemeat pilaf.


Recipe: Uzbek Horsemeat Pilaf

Uzbek horsemeat pilaf, or “Osh,” is a flavorful and aromatic rice dish that showcases the rich culinary heritage of Uzbekistan. This traditional recipe combines tender horsemeat, fragrant spices, vegetables, and long-grain rice, resulting in a hearty and satisfying meal. Here is a simple recipe to recreate this delicious Uzbek specialty:


  • 500g horsemeat, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 carrots, grated
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups water or beef broth
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Fresh herbs for garnish (such as cilantro or parsley)


  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the horsemeat and cook until browned on all sides. Remove the horsemeat from the pot and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, add the chopped onions and grated carrots. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the carrots are tender.
  3. Add the minced garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, and black pepper to the pot. Stir well to combine the spices with the vegetables.
  4. Add the horsemeat back to the pot and mix it with the vegetable-spice mixture. Cook together for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  5. Rinse the long-grain rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain well and add the rice to the pot, stirring gently to combine with the horsemeat and vegetables.
  6. Pour in the water or beef broth, ensuring that the liquid covers the rice and horsemeat mixture. Bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the pilaf simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed.
  8. Once the pilaf is cooked, fluff the rice gently with a fork. Garnish with fresh herbs, such as cilantro or parsley, and serve hot.

Enjoy the delightful flavors of Uzbek horsemeat pilaf as a main course, accompanied by traditional Uzbek accompaniments like yogurt, pickles, and fresh salad. This hearty dish offers a unique and memorable culinary experience that will transport you to the vibrant streets of Uzbekistan.


Now that we’ve explored the recipe for Uzbek horsemeat pilaf, it’s time to conclude our journey through the intriguing world of Uzbek horsemeat in Moscow.



Exploring the world of Uzbek horsemeat in Moscow is a fascinating culinary adventure that offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the Uzbek community. Despite the controversies and ethical concerns surrounding horsemeat consumption, it is important to approach the topic with an open mind and respect for diverse cultural traditions.


The history of Uzbek horsemeat consumption in Moscow highlights the deep-rooted connection between horses and culinary traditions in the region. With specialized horsemeat markets like Tashkent Bazaar and Orzu Bazaar, as well as butcher shops and supermarkets, the availability of horsemeat in Moscow caters to a diverse and curious food-loving community.


The traditional Uzbek horsemeat dishes, such as Tashkent kebab, Uzbek horsemeat pilaf, Ishkandar kebab, and shashlik, offer a delectable fusion of flavors and aromas that showcase the culinary expertise of Uzbek chefs. These dishes allow both locals and visitors to experience the unique and authentic tastes of Uzbek cuisine.


While controversies and ethical concerns exist regarding horsemeat consumption, it is crucial to evaluate the ethical implications and make informed choices about sourcing from reputable suppliers to ensure the welfare of animals involved in the horsemeat industry.


From a nutritional perspective, horsemeat offers a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. As with any protein source, moderation and balance are key, and individuals should consider their unique dietary needs when incorporating horsemeat into their meals.


As we conclude our gastronomic journey through the world of Uzbek horsemeat in Moscow, we hope that this exploration has provided valuable insights into the cultural significance, flavors, and traditions associated with this unique culinary tradition. Whether you choose to indulge in Uzbek horsemeat dishes or prefer to explore other aspects of the vibrant Moscow food scene, embracing and celebrating culinary diversity enhances our understanding and appreciation of different cultures and customs.


So, take a step out of your culinary comfort zone, embrace new flavors, and savor the experience of Uzbek horsemeat in Moscow.