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Meeting Uzbekistan in Samarkand
Written by Jaerin Yim | Published. 2017.09.26 18:40 | Count : 762
Just like one of those food streets, the street is vibrating with energy and joy of the people. Restaurants and stores are clustered, and signs of different colors are put up here and there. The only difference is that is harder to find Korean signs, or hear Korean. Instead, a variety of other languages, such as Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, and English, fill its space. This is not Itaewon, but the Multicultural Food Street of Ansan, a city embracing more than thousands of foreign families. 
(The outside of the restaurant)
Just around the corner of the entrance to the Food Street is a small restaurant with outside terrace and red chairs. The sign, which must have been once bright yellow but now faded to show the time it has been keeping its place, reads “KA ФE Samarkand Restaurant.” Named after a city of Uzbekistan, Samarkand is a second branch of a family-run business that sells Uzbekistan and Russian cuisine. This branch, which opened in 2006, is run by the father and the son, while the main branch located in Dongdaemun, is run by the daughter. 

The menu written in Russian, English, and Korean also reflects the ethnicity of the people visiting this restaurant. Though most of the people dining in the hall were Russians or Central Asians who came to eat Halal foods, Hursheda, the owner of the restaurant, said that twenty percent of the customers are Koreans who came to experience the culture and taste of Central Asia. 
“I wanted to let the people of Korea experience the taste of Uzbekistan,” answered Hursheda, with fluent Korean when he was asked why he had decided to start the business. “And that is why I tried to keep everything in my shop reflect authentic Uzbekistani culture and atmosphere.” 
[ Left photo is the inside of the restaurant and right photo is the decorated wall ]
The interior of his shop perfectly reflects his philosophy. A cheerful, exotic Uzbekistani music flows out of the speakers, and a small TV hanging in a corner flashes Uzbekistani programs and advertisements. The walls, which are made of pinkish-white bricks, are decorated with blue plates of flowery patterns and delicate drawings of Uzbekistani architecture. Uzbekistani traditional costumes embroidered with gold and silver threads and accessories with blue and green points are hanging on the walls near the counter, and Matryoshka, traditional Russian dolls in identical shape with different sizes, show off their vibrant colors on the shelves behind the counter. 
[Uzbekistani cuisines: Somsa, Monti, Shashlyk from left to right]
The food served also stimulated the palate with spices often used in Central Asia. Somsa was a bread with spiced lamb in it, Monti was a kind of dumpling, also with lamb filling, and Shashlyk was skewered lamb. Since Shashlyk is cooked at the moment it is ordered, it took some time before was served, but it was definitely worth waiting for as the meat was freshly cooked and hot. Other foods like Somsa and Monti were similar to dumplings from China, except they used more spice and a different type of meat as their fillings.

With its exotic atmosphere and a variety of cuisine from different countries, the Multicultural Food Street of Ansan would allow anyone to feel they are on a short vacation out of the country. And since it is not easy to encounter Uzbekistan culture in Korea, Samarkand would be the place to visit for those who want to experience Central Asia on their plates.


Jaerin Yim
Grade 12
Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies

Jaerin Yim  student_reporter@dherald.com

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