The title that formed the basis of this post is in fact a comment made by the correspondent Tengrinews.kz, having traveled to various parts of our country. The regions of Kazakhstan may differ in terms of weather, landscape, traditions and pronunciation, but they have one thing in common – fast food. The power of fast food is amazing: even an adult who suffers, for example, from such an unpleasant ailment as pancreatitis, will sometimes not refuse french fries and a sip of baking soda. But this text is not about the dangers of fast food, but about how Kazakhstan’s taste habits are changing.
Moyinkum village (Furmanovka), Zhambyl region. Spring comes here earlier than in the north. These places, like any south, are distinguished by hospitality and simplicity. People go to, say, one in Taraz, and if they have free space in the car, they will take you as a fellow traveler without any problems.
They also like to tell stories. “My mother was taught mathematics and physics by Solzhenitsyn,” says a local in the village of Birlik (in Soviet times, the village was called Kokterek; writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn worked as a local school teacher after his release from the camp).
In the village of Moiynkum itself, there is also something to boast about: at the museum, listing the wonderful compatriots, they will surely tell you about the champion in sheep shearing.
But after every enthusiastic conversation, sooner or later the appetite wakes up. Here, in the village, you will undoubtedly find huge sweets with tea, and wonderful donuts with broth, but there is other food here. “I can offer you sushi,” says a happy old lady, inviting them to dine in their small cafe for three tables.
And if in a remote village you can find a custom Japanese dish, then the city of Taraz is literally scattered with facilities where rolls of all colors and tastes are wrapped up until late at night.
They will offer you sushi not only in the Moiynkum desert, but also in the Turgai steppe.
The town of Arkalyk, according to locals, is gradually emerging from the recession it went through in the 1990s. And while there are still ghosts of ruined neighborhoods here, life in the city goes on. A new generation has grown up, now sitting in local cafes. Exactly the same cafes with fast food sit their peers all over Kazakhstan.
Burger, doner, pizza and sushi – in fact, it has already become commonplace, it is the same as the 90’s sausage in dough, belyash or the same cheburek with a huge amount of onions.
In recent years, noodles, ramen of all kinds and many more have joined cheeseburgers and buns, the existence of which the author of this article may not even know. In the capital of Kazakhstan, for example, it is no longer a problem to find Japanese onigiri rice triangles.
And when it comes to coffee, there has been a kind of revolution: it seems that until recently, young people met over a cup of beer, and now, maybe even the same people (maybe not so young anymore) prefer to discuss the new from a glass of Americano with warm milk.
And all these changes were made relatively quickly. No one is already lost when he asks: do you want latte or cappuccino? And no one will make a mistake in the word espresso.
Of course, there is another world: the world of buffets with the same coffee and coffee in three, the world of barbecue, the world of lagman and pilaf and the richest world of canteens – from Soviet-style facilities to the public catering review with good design and beautiful desserts.
Taking on this issue, I guessed that our people’s taste preferences have changed significantly in recent decades, but to understand how this happened and what to do with it all (and if something needs to be done about it) I turned to professionals, to those who study culinary arts and teach future chefs.
My first interlocutor is the teacher Saule Maulykhanovna Kozhaberginova, she knows everything about delicious and healthy food. She received her education back in Soviet Semipalatinsk and, incidentally, remembers well the famous Semsky donuts with liver, which we talked about in detail in one of our reports.
“We students were all crazy about these donuts, then they cost five kopecks. Even now, their taste is still palpable,” recalls the teacher of the college of catering and service in the capital.
Saule Maulykhanovna teaches lessons, telling students the theoretical part.
At that very moment, I had the first amateur question: is there a need to teach future chefs today classic dishes, such as conventional borscht and meatballs?
But they immediately explained to me that today the college teaches not only classic dishes of the CIS countries, but also studies in great detail the cuisine of the peoples of the world. In general, notes Saule Maulykhanovna, the classics are not as simple as they seem.
“Everything comes from the classics. If one does not know the technology of cooking classic dishes, then one will not know how to cook modern dishes from different cuisines of the world,” says the teacher.
As for fast food, my interlocutor admits that although she has tried all this, she is not a fan of such foods, preferring the same proven proper diet.
“More flavors are added to fast food, more salt to attract the customer. There are many aromatic spices, dyes, the most common food additive is sodium glutamate, which improves the taste of food. And as a result, people in a sense become “People addicted to such food are addicted to it,” says Saule Kozhabergenova.
Answering the question why fast food has taken such a dense place in Kazakh society, he believes that the fact is that today people simply do not have time to eat properly, because everyone works very hard.
But training as a chef is not limited to the classrooms: after listening to the theory, students go to another part of the city – here is the so-called fitness center, where everything is close to the conditions of a restaurant. The head of this center is Anastasia Krasovskaya.
She is now an experienced teacher and once, as a student, did her internship at the first five-star capital hotel “Intercontinental” (currently not working).
Anastasia has her own interesting theory about when the process of changing the taste preferences of Kazakhstan began.
“When Astana became the capital, many people from different countries came to us, respectively, each with their own taste needs. I saw for myself how this exchange of cultures took place. Over time, we started to have places where they cook sushi, “Burgers, other dishes. And then, as often happens, all this spread to other parts of our country,” he believes.
Today, thanks to experience and the latest equipment, Kazakh chefs can, in principle, cook anything. They know how to give well-known products an unexpected texture, they can surprise both locals and foreigners by reviewing the forgotten dishes of Kazakhstan. Our chefs travel abroad, learn from the best and bring all these skills home.
So, for example, Yulia Felde, who did an internship in South Korea and is now a master, does it.
“Our young people now prefer Korean cuisine, now, one might say, they are crazy about Korea, they really like Korean music, Korean TV shows, books, they are completely immersed in Korean culture and traditions,” he says. Julia. , she is a fan of Korean food.
“Food in Korea is right, no additives, no GMOs, everything is natural, only soy sauce and red pepper are spices. dish “- says the gentleman.
But the Koreans also have an idea for the national cuisine of Kazakhstan.
“Our tastes are known there. We once met the Korean delegation with beshbarmak, and when they saw so much meat, they said, ‘We can cook food from this meat for three months.’ It’s expensive for them.
He believes that the main driving force of the food revolution in Kazakhstan is the youth.
“You were right that there may not be roads in the village, but there is fast food. You may not be fashionable, but you always want to eat. And because we keep up with the times, fast food is very developed in Chora.
However, I believe that proper nutrition will always reach the highest level. Sushi, buns, hamburgers are all quick and tasty, but eventually even young people realize that this is a heavy meal, that it has a bad effect on the stomach and gradually move away from it and go on a proper diet. “Therefore, it seems to me that fast food will not disappear, but it will be less,” Julia believes.
In the meantime, the affordable fast food does not subside, but passing proudly in all the cities and villages of the Great Steppe.
Looking around the sleeping areas of the capital of Kazakhstan, you can find a huge number of establishments (let’s call them fast food), which are often found simply in the basement, often preparing popular analogues of the popular American chicken bread and other similar dishes.
The thought can enter: since all this is so popular, then anyone can open such a place for fast food, even without special culinary training. However, the college teachers assured me that eventually even the most capable self-taught chefs come to them for advanced training: first, without a proper diploma it is difficult to raise funds to scale their production, and secondly, without Knowing the basics it is impossible to fully understand the best way to cook modern food, because properly frying a burger is also an art.